photo: Mike Sullivan / WireImageThe Jackson brothers play L.A.'s Greek Theatre this weekend as part of their "Unity" reunion tour. But don't expect to see niece Paris Jackson showing up for the gig, unless Michael's daughter is there to picket.
The name of the Jacksons' tour seems ironic — to say the least — in light of the enormous family feud that's coming to light, with 14-year-old Paris and her 82-year-old grandmother Katherine forming an intergenerational alliance on one side, pitted against her uncles and aunt Janet on the other. The most serious issue is a dispute over Michael Jackson's will, although Paris's acting aspirations and a stroke that Katherine may or may not have suffered are also causing rancor among the kin.
Paris even took to her Twitter account to personally address Randy Jackson, essentially calling him a liar as she repeated his Twitter handle and charged: "Hello, dear family member. I don't appreciate you telling everyone things that aren't true, thank you very much." She's since deleted that tweet, but left up the followup that reads: "At this point I don't care what people call me or if they think I'm a bad person. If it means sticking up for my grandmother, I will do it."
Paris was asserting that Katherine had not had a stroke. "I am going to clarify right now that what has been said about my grandmother is a rumor and nothing has happened. She is completely fine," she wrote. "I'd like to know who made up the rumor. I will defend my beloved family member with all I have, even if it means from other family members."
But Jermaine Jackson has taken to his Twitter account to set the record straight on his mother's health. "As Paris tonight clarified, she earlier rushed to end Twitter talk that Mother is ill TODAY, but Paris didn't expose any 'lie' as TMZ claimed," he tweeted, attacking the gossip website. "The truth is that Mother DID suffer a mini-stroke some months ago. She is fine now, but the timeline doesn't alter the fact it happened."
Mini-strokes aside, why is it Paris and Katherine against the world... or at least the rest of the Jackson family world?
The alliances have settled around Michael's will, which did not include any of his brothers and sisters. Now five of Michael's siblings — Janet, Randy, Jermaine, Tito, and Rebbie — are contesting the will. They all signed a furious letter to the executors of of the estate, which happened to assert that the ill will over the situation had caused Katherine to have her alleged mini-stroke.
Addressing longtime Michael cohorts John Branca and John McClain, the Jackson brothers and sisters called the will "fake, flawed and fraudulent" and further wrote: ""This has to stop now: No more! Your heartless pursuit of wealth, fame and power is at the expense of our family, whose deepest desire is to give the world a gift of hope, love and unity through our music."
The lengthy letter from Janet, Randy, Jermaine, Tito, and Rebbie also "insist(s) that you resign effective immediately," saying the executors have failed at their duties — "but what you have not failed at is taking advantage of a grieving mother, father and a grieving family." It cites "inconsistencies" that include Michael's location the day he is supposed to have signed the will, citing supposed evidence that he was not in Los Angeles on July 7, 2002, the date of his signature. "Our brother told us, in no uncertain terms and without hesitation in the months prior to his death, that he despised both of you and that he did not want either of you to have anything to do with his life or estate for that matter." After bringing up Katherine's mini-stroke, her children content that "for some strange reason" her advisors "are telling her to disregard what she knows as fact" and "let them negotiate 'deals' with Branca and McClain on her behalf... She has been deceived" and "is being hit from all sides."
Randy Jackson took to his Twitter account in recent days to authenticate the letter as real — and Janet retweeted Randy's avowals, making it clear that at least there's no disunity between the brothers and sister right now.
So how does Paris, barely a teenager, fit into all this?
She's already been in disagreement with family members over her acting plans, according to reports. Us Weekly magazine quoted a confidential source as saying Janet was "furious" over Paris's plans to act, believing her brother would have disapproved of any such move into the limelight at such an early age.
Paris recently told Ellen DeGeneres in a televised interview, "I love acting… When I was really little, my Dad was in the movie Moonwalker, and I knew he could sing really well, but I didn't know he could act. I saw that and I said, 'Wow, I want to be just like him.'" In December, it was announced that Paris had signed on for a role in the upcoming film Lundon's Bridge And The Three Keys.
But earlier this year Janet made her feelings public and clear. "We've spoken about the fact that you're only a child once," Janet said in Prevention magazine. "I think there's a time for everything, and now is not the time [to enter the entertainment world]. I told her I thought she should enjoy being a kid, possibly go to college — or not — but wait till she turns 18. She's a very tough, smart girl. But it's a cutthroat industry. I wouldn't want my child to do it."
At 14, though, Paris is clearly wanting to be the mistress of her own destiny. Among her tweets in the last 48 hours:
"fighting fire with fire only gets you burned… well i say maybe we need a little spark in our lives #ComeAtMeBro"
"keep calm and carry on? no thanks i'd rather raise hell and change the world!"
"if we are fearful , we are easy to control.. knowledge is power .. don't show them any fear."
Of course, Paris isn't all about the fire and brimstone and burgeoning womanhood. In the midst of all this, she also tweeted: "ice age 4 was so amazing.. seriously."