Kenny Ortega as a witness

by Stop Yo Pressah

January 9, 2011

Before I start, I would like to link you all to THIS blog. Please read that and try to understand where I am coming from. I truly hope that you all can... at least to a point. The purpose of this blog is not slander and is nothing other than exactly what it is. Please do not take this as anything other than it is. This would be a GREAT opportunity for people to have an intelligent conversation. I am leaving comments open on this one.

This blog will be broken down into sub categories, but there is one main topic and that is Kenny. (Known from now on as KO.). There is much confusion amongst fans and the Michael community in general about this man, his character and whether or not he is telling the truth. This blog will attempt to answer those questions. You do not need to rely on me - I will be answering these questions with KO's own words.

Last Monday in court, KO took the stand as a witness for the prosecution in the involuntary manslaughter case against Dr. Conrad Murray for the death of Michael Jackson. KO answered a number of questions under oath. He explained that he felt "anxiety" because there was a week where Michael had essentially "disappeared" from rehearsals. He mentioned one specific day (June 19th 2009) where Michael appeared so unwell that it was "scary". He also mentioned a meeting held on June 20th that took place at Michael's house and included KO, Dr. Murray, FD, RP and Michael... and perhaps other people as well.

That may all be true... selective truth, IMO, but it may all be true. The problem, however, comes when we compare what KO is saying now to what KO has said in the past. Furthermore, there are SOME things that KO said in court that I believe are, if not outright lies, SERIOUS dancing around and avoiding the truth.

Let's look at this on topic at a time.

On Michael's health

Had Jackson been unreliable, tired, in pain? Did he seem pepped up to the eyeballs on this cocktail of prescription drugs? “I’d been to his home, I’d seen him playing with his children, and seen no evidence ever of anything like that.”

True, that statement could be referring to KO saying that he had seen no evidence of Michael "pepped up to the eyeballs on this cocktail of prescription drug" and not the question of "Had Jackson been unreliable, tired, in pain?". Because of the way this was formed, we cannot be sure. However, it is, at the very least, something to question.

“I think he was eating as much as he thought he needed to. I wished he would have eaten more. I was always making sure there was plenty of food around

To me, that implies that KO did have some concern with the amount that Michael was (or was not) eating. Keep this in mind...

So wasn’t this battered, rake-thin man too frail to mount a comeback? Ortega is having none of it. “No! Look at photographs of Fred Astaire at the height of his career. They’re the spitting image.”

So... you weren't concerned about how thin he was? But you were concerned that he wasn't eating enough? Or you were just... sort of concerned? I'm confused. Are you?

BTW, here are some pictures of Michael during TII rehearsals and of Fred Astaire... you can decide for yourself if they're the spitting image or not..

KO has maintained that Michael was healthy throughout TII, right? So, what about this, taken directly from his testimony, on January 3 2011?

'It quickly became clear that the meeting was about me. That the Dr. was upset that I had sent Michael home and didn’t allow him to rehearse the night before. And BECAUSE I HAD VOICED MY CONCERNS ABOUT MICHAEL'S HEALTH that evening. Dr. Murry told me that this was not my responsibility and to not act like a doctor or a psychologist and to leave Michael’s health to him.'

So... there were concerns? It doesn't sound like Michael was just not feeling well on that one day. If there was a meeting the FOLLOWING day and KO "voiced his concerns about Michael's health", that does NOT sound, to me, as though it was a one time thing and that KO had no other concerns. Does it sound that way to you?

In court, KO was asked:

. Do you remember having a conversation with Karen Fay[e] [about Michael's health]?"

After requesting a glass of water, KO replied that he did not recall having a conversation with her.

Since Michael died, Karen Faye has remained consistent in everything that she has said regarding Michael's health and the circumstances that were surrounding him. Without going into too much detail, it is unquestionable that Karen expressed her concern about Michael's health while KO and his AEG buddies were still going around talking about how lovely everything was, signing autographs at parties and promoting their exciting new movie. It is true that this is a case of his word against hers, but.... based on all that... based on the fact that Karen expressed her concern to all of us since June or July 2009 and remained consistent in her words (and of course, going back to my old point that she would have NOTHING to gain from lying let alone the fact that so much of what she said was later proven true) and considering the fact that, once again, Kenny was running around full of "L-O-V-E" and "TOY" and what not...and would have PLENTY of reasons to lie... WHO do you think is telling the truth? Honestly.... what makes the most sense to YOU?

KO was then asked:

do you remember telling Karen Faye not to placate Michael

His reply was that he doesn't even know what the word "placate" means.

(For the record, here is the definition of placate. Someone feel free to pass it on to KO.

to appease or pacify, esp. by concessions or conciliatory gestures: )

The testimony went on as follows:

EC: Did you advise Karen Fay[e] in any respect in regard to how to treat Michael after this meeting?

KO: No.

EC: Did you discuss with Karen Fay[e] any thing regarding how she should treat Michael?

KO: I don't recall having any discussion with her.

Once again... who do you think is telling the truth?

He also claimed he does not remember if he spoke to Michael regarding the increased number of shows. Really? He doesn't REMEMBER? Okay, KO... okay.

By, the way, there is also THIS from KO's testimony at court:

6/25/2009: At some point he learned that something happened. He received a telephone call while he was rehearsing. Earlier, he had spoken to Randy Phillips and was on his way to rehearsal. I asked him to, “Please let Michael know how excited I am and how much I look forward to rehearsals.”

(Randy Phillips said?) I thought you were calling for a different reason,

Take that as what you will.

On This Is It, as a movie.

“At the time I was uncomfortable with the notion. My immediate instinct was: too close, too quick, too emotional,” Ortega tells me when we meet on the Sony Pictures lot in Culver City, Los Angeles.

“But then I discovered that there was gonna be a movie anyway,” the 59-year-old continues. “And a friend of mine called me and said, ‘I’m reading online that they’re talking to other directors.’ I thought, ‘Now wait a minute – this is really sacred material here. And we were there and I’ve been there on all of these ventures in this last twentysomething years with Michael.’”

Ortega couldn’t bear the prospect of an outsider – “somebody who didn’t really know what the experience was about” – having their hands on what would become Michael Jackson’s last will and testament. He talked to other members of Jackson’s inner circle. “I thought, if everyone will agree that this is a legacy piece, about those four months and about showing the fans what it was that we were trying to do, then I should try do this. Because, you know, who else?”

Okay. So, what he's saying here is that originally he did not want to do the movie - at least not right away - until he heard that they were going to do one anyway and were talking to other people. Correct? Alright. But, you see, then we have this:

This is from KO's twitter:

The TII Team is deeply grieving the loss of our dear Michael. Our hearts go out to Michaels Children, Family and Fans around the world. LOVE 2:04 AM Jun 27th, 2009 via web

As we close our eyes on this sad day, DREAM, BELIEVE, THIS IS NOT IT. In time, we will celebrate and honor his vision with you all. 5:17 PM Jan 4th via web

You are not alone in the desire to see Michael celebrated with a Tribute that honors his final work TII We are working to make that real. 2:30 PM Jun 27th, 2009 via web

On June 27th. JUNE 27TH! Michael died on June 25th! And on JUNE 27TH, Kenny was talking about how they were working to make that real. And yet, didn't he say in that interview that at first he thought it was too soon? Too emotional? That he changed hid mind in time? So... what? When he says "in time", did he mean less than 48 hours? Or was he maybe less against it that he's trying to say? Of course there is always the possibility that he meant something else other than TII as a movie. Maybe they were going to, um, come up with some kind of OTHER tribute to honor his final work TII?

This, of course, is not about Michael's health, but it IS about Michael's death. It also speaks of his character.

Also, did anyone notice how KO kept tweeting about LOVE and TOY .... right up until around the time the DVD had been released? Just askin'

Note, also that by July 2nd, a week after Michael died, "official" rehearsal footage had already been released:

*: Official Michael Jackson rehearsal footage from "This Is It" has been released - Todd 4:39 PM Jul 2nd, 2009 via Twitter Tools

On Michael's mental state and how he felt about TII

Why did he want to undertake such a gruelling commitment? Tackling his huge debts – reportedly $400 million (£245 million) – was, admits Ortega, “partly” a factor. Jackson’s attitude was apparently, “This is a great job, and I’m gonna be able to get myself back at a good place and provide my family with some security.” But Ortega emphatically denies the suggestion that his 50-night stand in London was forced on Jackson by his creditors and handlers.

“There are those out there who say, ‘Michael didn’t want to do This Is It. He wasn’t capable.’ Michael didn’t just wanna do it – his attitude was, we have to do it.”
After almost two decades of multiple litigation, gibes about his appearance, jokes about chimpanzees and exactly who donated the sperm to conceive his children, Jackson had a lot to prove. “I also think it was giving him back something that had been sucked out of him. His dignity as an artist. His meaningfulness as an artist. He wanted this. This was bringing him happiness. This was something to look forward to.”

Okay. So, he wanted to do the shows and he was capable of doing the shows. Yes? Alright. But, then there's this (in the same interview!)

Could Ortega see that the lack of sleep was wearing Jackson down? “Sometimes, yeah. Yeah. And we’d have to be careful. Absolutely. **I was concerned about his physical strength and whether or not he was doing all the things he needed to do to be the strong person that he needed to be to fulfil what he wanted to fulfil.**”

Oh. Okay.

Had it been clear to Ortega all along that Jackson was actually capable of fulfilling his contractual obligations and playing all 50 shows? “No, it wasn’t clear to me,” the director confesses. “Not all through the rehearsals did I have absolute confidence. But that’s me,” Ortega chuckles. “I’m the director, and nervous. But towards the end – that’s why it was so sad, that’s why it was so difficult, that’s why it was painful. Because at the very end, we did see it.”

Alright. Well.

First of all, are you trying to imply that you were concerned but that's just because you were the director and so you were OVERLY concerned? As in, you were just being silly or something? Or are you, once again, saying that you were NOT sure that Michael was capable?

Or does it not matter because you changed your mind "at the very end". What does the very end mean? Does June 19th count as the very end or is that too far back Are you referring to the 23rd and 24th? Those were the supposed days that most people seem to agree that Michael was, for some reason, doing better...

To me, it sounds like KO wasn't keeping his story fully straight in this one article, let alone for months to come.

On Dr. Murray.

Ask if Dr Conrad Murray was a regular presence on the set, and Ortega replies that he only met him “a couple of times. "I had a couple of conversations with him. He was Michael’s personal choice doctor, and was his daily physician as I understand it. And was doing everything in his…” Ortega falters, as if he’s mindful of the ongoing legal situation. “He was helping Michael stay nourished and healthy and, you know, looking after him.”

Michael's personal choice doctor? Not AEGs?

Oh, okay. Well, I suppose technically speaking, that doesn't mean he lied. You know. A couple of conversations... one of them could have, in theory, been a meeting where the doctor yelled at him for sending Michael home and told him he wasn't a doctor and should mind his business.

Once again, we hear KO discuss the meeting in his testimony from January 2011:

'It quickly became clear that the meeting was about me. That the Dr. was upset that I had sent Michael home and didn’t allow him to rehearse the night before. And BECAUSE I HAD VOICED MY CONCERNS ABOUT MICHAEL'S HEALTH that evening. Dr. Murry told me that this was not my responsibility and to not act like a doctor or a psychologist and to leave Michael’s health to him.'

So, you DID have concerns about Michael's health.

Of course, that kind of thing doesn't sound like he was helping Michael stay healthy or looking after him. So, you know, there's THAT to think about. Why say that if it's not true? I mean, can they both be true? Could Murray really have been looking after Michael and keeping him healthy while also getting angry at KO for supposedly sending Michael home when he wasn't well? Doesn't sound so right to me...

The wrongful death suit

KO has recently filed legal documents requesting that he be removed from the wrongful death suit that Katherine Jackson has filed. His reasons for asking to be removed from the suit are:

"Kenneth Ortega is not alleged to be involved in the medical treatment or administration of drugs that allegedly caused Michael Jackson's death."

Well, that's all well and good, however nobody is accusing him of having been involved in the medical treatment of administration of drugs that allegedly caused Michael Jackson's death.

The wrongful death suit does not allege that KO had ANYTHING to do with that at all. What the wrongful death suit alleges is that, among other people, KO was NEGLECTFUL. That he saw the bad condition that Michael was in and that he, not only ignored the condition, but continued to push Michael. (More than one source has said that members of the AEG "team" told Michael that if he did not, essentially, shape up, that they would "pull the plug" on the whole show... that Michael was threatened...that basically, Michael was NOT in control here.)

KO's arguments for why he should not be included in the wrongful death suit, truly makes me wonder if he has READ the wrongful death suit.

Further, KO's lawyers also say:

Kenny never had a contract with Dr. Conrad Murray or with Michael Jackson, nor has he had any official affiliation with AEG.

He didn't have a contract with Murray. He didn't have a contract with Michael. And he had no "official" affiliation with AEG? I don't know what official means in this particular example, but... who exactly was KO working for then? What was he doing there if he had no affiliation with Michael OR with AEG?

Who killed Michael?

Had Jackson been (over)dosed with drugs to ensure that he performed? Did the pressures and expectations from tour promoter AEG and its insurers drive him too hard? Fatally hard?

Ortega refutes the allegation. “Never believe any of that. It’s not true. He set his own expectations. Nobody had to set expectations for Michael Jackson – he was Michael Jackson.”

Which leaves the $400 million question: who killed Michael Jackson? Kenny Ortega pauses for a long time before answering.

“An accident,” he says quietly. “I don’t think that everybody contributed to his life in the most positive way. But I don’t think that you can hold those people responsible. Michael was a 50-year-old man. A father. A professional. A businessman. Accomplished things for himself and others. And,” he concludes with one statement that few, whether Jackson supporter or detractor, would dispute, “he conquered the world of music and performance.”

An accident? Does that jive with what he said in court? You decide.

Please remember that there is going to be so much more. Assuming this goes to trial, KO will likely be back. We MUST keep track of his testimony. We must keep track of EVERYONES testimony. This is too important to let lies go by because we want Murray to be found guilty. Of course we want him to be found guilty - but that does not mean we can excuse people lying. It does not mean that we can pretend that there is not more to this than they would have us believe.

This is NOT me accusing him of anything. But... can we trust him?

The truth of the matter is, there is likely much more information than this out there. So much seems to be missing from the internet, so many interviews that I read a long time ago... I will keep looking. I advise you to do the same. KO is not the only one lying. If we want to have even a chance at the truth being out there... we cannot let things go by just because they appear convinient. We just can't do that.

Please note:
I did not WANT to dislike KO nor do I want to slander him in any way. I am merely pointing out what HE said. This blog hurt me to write. I am sure it will upset some people to read it too. For that I apologize. I just want the truth out there... and while there is not much that I can do to get it out there... I do have to try to do what it is that I can.


Choreographer Kenny Ortega: Michael Jackson too weak to perform days before death [Updated]

Kenny Ortega on Michael Jackson's final days

Dr. Conrad Murray Prelim: Day 1, Part II

Back to Justice for Michael Jackson