The Price of Fame and Infamy

Dec 1, 2003  •  Post A Comment

TV newsmagazines couldn’t dream up a better story for November sweeps than the one handed them by Santa Barbara, Calif., authorities who arrested singer Michael Jackson last month on child molestation charges. There was the King of Pop, a 12-year-old alleged victim and his dysfunctional family, unsubstantiated allegations of a fit in midair by the eccentric star while on a private jet, the release of a freakish mug shot (inset) and an FBI investigation into the secret videotaping of Mr. Jackson on the private plane that returned him to Santa Barbara, where authorities were waiting to cuff him. TV newsmags made the dream tabloid story pay in ratings, while some individuals were counting cold cash. It turns out fame gone wrong can be lucrative. Consider the following reported or alleged price tags:
* The price demanded by XtraJet for video of Mr. Jackson inside the plane’s cabin: $500,000.
* Asking price to interview the plane’s pilot and head flight attendant: $50,000.
* Asking price to interview the owner of XtraJet: $25,000.
* Money paid to the owner of video of a secret chamber at Mr. Jackson’s Neverland Ranch: $100,000.
* Beating the rap: Priceless.