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To Kill a Mockingbird and its relevance to Michael Jackson

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This book celebrates its 50th Anniversary in 2010. It has sold over 30 million copies and it is a book once read never forgotten.      

  • Gregory Peck played Atticus Finch. Atticus Finch was the father to  Scout and Jem Finch. The story is told through Scout’s perspective, thus from a  8 year old child’s perspective.


  •  Atticus Finch defends a black man falsely accused and charged with the rape of a white girl. “Harper Lee explores with exuberant humour the irrationality of adult attitudes to race and class in the Deep South of 1930’s.” [Source : To Kill a Mockingbird 2010 edition] Tom Mesereau defended Michael Jackson a black man from false allegations made by a 13 year old boy in 2005.


  • Atticus Finch had a small criminal law practice within the court house, in Maycombe County. Tom Mesereau had a small but successful law practice at the time he took on Michael Jackson’s 2005 case.


  • Maycombe County was a lazy old town, were Atticus was known to everyone in the town. Tom Mesereau had previously dealt with a number of celebrity cases.


  • Atticus was paid by many in kind for legal work that he did. He said that he was poor. Tom Mesereau has done a lot of pro bono work.


  • Gregory Peck was Michael Jackson’s neighbour, they became close friends. Gregory Peck appeared in Michael Jackson’s Home Movies.


Chapter 1      

Scout discusses how even in the face of the facts people were unwilling “to discard their initial suspicions.” Michael Jackson stated in his interview with Oprah that he believed that the more lies are repeated the greater the likelihood that people will believe the lies.      

Chapter 5    

Atticus Finch speaks to the children about the value of a man’s [Mr Radley’s] right to privacy. He says to his son Jem “I’m going to tell you something and tell you one time: stop tormenting that man. That goes for the other two of you.”    

Michael Jackson repeatedly stated that he needed his privacy. He objected to the media lies.    

Chapter 9    

Atticus speaks to Scout about the reasons he decided to defend Tom Robinson. He says “The main one is, if I didn’t I couldn’t hold up my head in town, I couldn’t even tell you or Jem not to do something again”    

“Because I could never ask you to mind me again. Scout, simply by the nature of the work, every lawyer gets at least one case in his lifetime that affects him personally. This one’s mine, I guess. You might hear some ugly talk about it at school, but do one thing for me if you will: you just hold your head high and keep those fists down, No matter what anybody says to you, don’t you let ‘em get you got. Try fighting with your head for a change….”    

 Scout asked her father if he was going to win. He says no, she then asks him why, Atticus responds as follows:    

 “Simply because we were licked a hundred years before we started is no reason for us not to try to win,”    

 Tom Mesereau was told by his peers not to take the Michael Jackson case. He was told it would ruin his career. He considered the evidence and realised within a short period that there was no case against Michael Jackson.    

Atticus warned his children about the comments that were likely to be made. Tom Mesereau also said that he suffered from a lot of comments including comments about the person he was dating.   

Atticus informs his brother that the evidence boils down to one person’s word against another. He continued that in his view the jury could not be expected to Tom Robinson’s word against that of his accuser [Ewell’s].   

Atticus and his brother discuss the matter further and the effect it will have on his children. He says: “You know what’s going to happen as well as I do, Jack, and I hope and pray I can get Jem and Scout through it without bitterness, and most of all, without catching Maycomb’s usual disease. Why reasonable people go stark raving mad when anything involving a negro comes up, is something I don’t pretend to understand…I just hope that Jem and Scout come to me for their answers instead of listening to the town. I hope they trust me enough…”   

Michael Jackson asked the public to let him have his day in court and to listen to him instead of the tabloid newspapers.   

The problem was that there was an imbalance in reporting, which included the lead up to the 2005 case. In fact there had been a negative/rumour reporting campaign about Michael Jackson for some years. The view seemed to be that there was no smoke without fire.  There were some particular reporters that said they would eat crow if Michael Jackson got off.   

Tom Mesereau made it clear that there was no fire and no smoke. It was all a tissue of lies.   

As Michael said on Oprah decades previously the more a lie is repeated the more it is believed.   

Chapter 10  

Atticus told the children that it was a sin to kill a mockingbird. Scout asked their neighbour Miss Maudie for further information. She said:  

“Your father’s right…” “Mockingbirds don’t do one thing but make music for us to enjoy. They don’t’ eat up people’s garden’s don’t nest in corncribs, they don’t do any thing but sing their hearts out for us. That’s why it’s a sin kill a mockingbird.”  

The analogy here is that Michael Jackson was innocent. He did nothing but live his life, was a talented global entertainer and humanitarian. He had said on many occasions that he would never harm a child.  For all the enquiries made including the global search for other potential accusers, site searches, oral testimony from the accusers family, and some of Michael’s previously sacked and disgruntled staff etc; the prosecution evidence was totally discredited.  

Many fans praised the prosecutors for the thoroughness of their enquiries, because in the end they found nothing, which resulted in the total vindication of Michael Jackson.  

Michael Jackson was acquitted of all 14 counts against him on 13th June 2005. It is thus inexplicable that such a case could have been brought before a Grand Jury. Tom Mesereau talked about there being a vendetta against Michael Jackson.  

Chapter 11  

Scout questioned the need to keep their composure, especially when no one else did in her school. Atticus said: “Scout….when the summer comes you’ll have to keep your head about far worse things… its not fair for you and Jem, I know that, but sometimes we have to make the best of things, and the way we conduct ourselves when the clips are down – well, all I can say is, when you and Jem are grown, maybe you’ll look back on this with some compassion and some feeling that I didn’t let you down. This case, Tom Robinson’s case, is something that goes to the essence of a man’s conscience – Scout, I couldn’t go to church and worship God if I didn’t try to help that man.”  

Scout questioned whether her father was right.  

Atticus said: “They’re certainly entitled to think that and they’re entitled to full respect for their opinions… but before I can live with other folks I’ve got to live with myself. The one thing that doesn’t abide by majority rule is a person’s conscience.”  

Michael Jackson and his family conducted themselves with dignity throughout the proceedings; it is truly amazing how they held their composure faced with such false accusations, coupled with the intense media coverage. 

Scout informs her father that Mrs Dubose’s called him a derogatory term. Scout then questioned the terms applicability. Atticus responded, “I certainly am. I do my best to love everybody…I’m hard put, sometimes – baby, it’s never an insult to be called what somebody thinks is a bad name. It just shows you how poor that person is, it doesn’t hurt you. 

Whilst it is commendable to keep your dignity in the face of adversity, the pressure he was under including the persistent repetition of debunked allegations pre and post 2005, must have had a toll on him. Words and actions designed to hurt you – do hurt. Apart from the false allegations, Michael complained for decades that the tabloids shortened his name; he said that he was not a Jacko but a Jackson. He advised the general public not to read the tabloids; he said that they were trash.

Atticus spoke to Scout, “I wanted you to see what real courage is, instead of getting the idea that courage is a man with a gun in his hand. It’s when you know you’re licked before you begin but you begin anyway and you see it through no matter what. You rarely win, but sometimes you do.”

Michael Jackson, an innocent man had courage to face his accusers, the prosecution, the negative press, the shameful ex-employees [who had been dismissed], axe grinders, his haters, and the public. He did this on a daily basis in the full view of the world and he never faulted. I think that shows incredible inner strength and courage.

He had the support of his loving and caring family, his friends and associates who weren’t frightened of the truth. Truly commendable.




Watch online:       

Read Part 2 The Trial

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