The 89-year-old patriarch of the Jackson family has died at the age of 89 – but not all Michael’s fans will be mourning him
Joe Jackson has died today at the age of 89, months after being diagnosed with terminal colon cancer.
But while the patriarch of the 10-strong family will be remembered for his success in bringing first the Jackson 5 and then Michael and Janet Jackson to the global stage, his track record of abuse and unconventional parenting cannot be forgotten.
Michael Jackson shocked the world in 1993 when he revealed in a tell-all interview with Oprah Winfrey that his father would brutalise him and his siblings to make them work harder and longer.
Joe would sit in a chair with his belt in his hand to watch the Jackson 5 rehearse – and if they got anything wrong, he would beat them, leaving them covered in welts and in pain.
If you didn’t do it the right way, he would tear you up, really get you,” Michael claimed back then.
“I love my father, but I don’t know him.
“I don’t know if I was his golden child or whatever it was. Some may call it a strict disciplinarian or whatever, but he was very strict. He was very hard. Just a look would scare… but I do forgive him.”
Joe was also accused of forcing his children to rehearse their singing and dancing “incessantly” and of calling them names as part of his authoritarian hold over them.
In 2010, Joe admitted to Oprah that he had hit Michael and his siblings with a strap – but said it had kept them on the straight and narrow
“I don’t [regret the beatings],” he said at the time.
“It kept them out of jail and kept them right. I don’t think [Michael] was afraid of me. What he was afraid of, he may do something wrong and I’d chastise him but not beat him. I never beat him like the media tried to say.”
His estranged wife Kathleen Jackson said Joe’s disciplining methods were usual for the time.
“You might as well admit it, that’s the way black people raised their children,” she said.
“‘He used a strap. Yes, he did use a strap.”
Michael also said in 1993 that he’d had an unhappy childhood and was banned from having friends because Joe wanted him to succeed.
It would make me sad that I would have to go to work instead [of playing with friends],” said Michael.
“People wonder why I always have children around. It’s because I find the thing that I never had through them.”
In January this year – shortly after he was diagnosed with his life-ending condition – Joe reportedly reached out to his children to beg their forgiveness.
“He is truly sorry for the misery he inflicted on some of his kids when they were young,” said a family source, according to the Express .
“He was trying to drive them to success as their manager.
“He now bitterly regrets the physical methods he sometimes used to enforce discipline and turn them into the highly polished and professional stars they became.”
The insider went on: “I know Joe has been speaking to all eight children he had with his wife Katherine who are still alive. He has asked them to forgive him and has told them he has been racked by guilt for years.
“There have been a lot of tearful and soul-searching conversations in recent weeks and, in general, all the siblings will never forget but are prepared to forgive.
“They love their dad – despite all the heartache and pain he caused.”
This was echoed by a tweet from Tito’s son Taj Jackson, who blasted reports of Joe’s heavy-handed parenting just minutes after the news of his death broke.
“Disgusted by some of the comments I’m reading about my grandpa Joe by those who didn’t even know him,” he told his followers.
Please don’t just regurgitate what you were spoon fed by the press. Joe was loved by our ENTIRE family and our hearts are in pain. Let us grieve without the nastiness.#ripthehawk.”
And a statement from John Branca and John McClain, co-executors of Michael Jackson’s estate, paid tribute to the octogenarian.
“We are deeply saddened by Mr. Jackson’s passing and extend our heartfelt condolences to Mrs. Katherine Jackson and the family,” the statement delivered to The Blast read.
“Joe was a strong man who acknowledged his own imperfections and heroically delivered his sons and daughters from the steel mills of Gary, Indiana to worldwide pop superstardom.
“Mr. Jackson’s contributions to the history of music are enormous. They were acknowledged by the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 2002 in a proclamation naming him as Best Entertainment Manager of All Time; he was inducted into Rhythm & Blues Hall of Fame in 2014 and his son Michael acknowledged him with a Joe Jackson Day at Neverland.”
The added that the estate “had developed a warm relationship with Joe in recent years and will miss him tremendously”.