Jermaine Jackson Offers ‘Olive Branch’ in Family Feud
By Alan Duke, CNN
LOS ANGELES (CNN) — Jermaine Jackson retracted his signature on a letter made public last month criticizing executors of Michael Jackson’s estate and his mother’s advisers Monday.
His expression of regret came as a letter from sister Janet Jackson’s lawyer surfaced that suggested the pop star’s professional reputation has suffered “significant harm” from media reports about the controversy.
“After much soul-searching, it is clearly time for us to live by Michael’s words about love not war,” Jermaine Jackson said in a statement given to CNN. “In this spirit, I offer this statement by way of extending an olive branch.”
It was the letter, originally signed by Jackson siblings Jermaine, Tito, Randy, Janet and Rebbie, that triggered a series of dramatic and public events over the last two weeks that created a deep divide in the famous music family.
They demanded that executors John Branca and John McClain resign, accusing them of emotional and financial abuse of Katherine Jackson
“Your actions are affecting her health, and on top of that, we’ve just found out she recently had a mini-stroke,” it said. “Please understand, she’s not equipped to handle the stress load you are putting on her.”
Her lawyer later said Katherine Jackson, 82, had not suffered a stroke and was in good health.
The letter also called the will, which left Michael Jackson’s wealth to his mother and three children, giving nothing to his siblings, “fake, flawed and fraudulent.”
Jermaine Jackson said he has decided the letter should never have been made public, but that his concerns about the estate and will should be expressed through “a private dialogue, not public conflict.”
“Accordingly, I rescind my signature from the letter which was sent to the estate, and which should never have gone public,” he said.
Tito Jackson retracted his signature last week amid the controversy over his mother’s whereabouts and the lack of a phone call to Michael Jackson’s children.
Katherine Jackson had custody of Prince, Paris and Blanket Jackson since her son’s June 25, 2009, death, but a judge suspended it last week when her lawyers told the court she had been missing and out of communication for 10 days.
Jermaine Jackson said his motivation in taking part in a plan with Janet, Randy and Rebbie Jackson to isolate their mother at an Arizona spa was “rooted in the welfare of our mother in the environment where she lives.”
“No one on the outside has a clue about the stresses and pressures she has been under long before recent events and I, like everyone in the family, adore the ground she walks on,” he said.
“Rest was the sole reason she went to Arizona,” he said. “Prince even carried her bags down the stairs and urged her to rest up, because we all come from the same caring place.”
Prince and his sister, however, became vocal through their Twitter accounts about their grandmother’s absence and lack of calls. They thought she was flying to a Jackson brothers concert in New Mexico and would return soon, her lawyer said.
“There was never a malicious attempt to ‘block’ the kids from talking with her,” Jermaine Jackson said. “We simply worried that a call home would first entail, or lead to, conversations with individuals we are in dispute with and that would, therefore, increase pressure on Mother — and pressure was what a doctor said she didn’t need.”
His statement also addressed the dramatic confrontation on Monday, July 23, at Katherine Jackson’s home in Calabasas, California, which sheriff’s deputies say ended in a “scuffle.”
“We went to the house in Calabasas to talk directly with the kids and merely discuss arrangements for them to meet with their grandmother,” Jermaine Jackson said. “We were denied that access by security — and it was clear that mutual suspicions had allowed events to spiral out of control.”
Security camera video did not show security guards interfering with Jermaine, Randy and Janet as they entered the Calabasas property.
The video shows Prince and Paris initially greeting the visitors, but it quickly became a confrontation, according to witnesses.
“Where is my grandmother? Where is my grandmother?” Prince repeatedly asked Randy Jackson, according to a witness.
As Prince retreated into the house, entering through the security office door, Randy Jackson followed with his cell phone raised, apparently recording video.
The video then shows Janet Jackson apparently trying to take a cell phone away from Paris Jackson in the driveway. She scolded her niece for using her phone to write about family issues on Twitter, according to the three sources.
Paris Jackson posted a Twitter message about the time the incident ended: “gotta love fam.” She also tweeted: “8 days and counting . something is really off , this isn’t like her at all .. i wanna talk directly to my grandmother!!<|3”
Janet Jackson later challenged a TMZ account of the incident through a lawyer. The celebrity news website retracted its report.
The lawyer’s letter, obtained by CNN on Wednesday, said the TMZ report was “highly damaging to Ms. Jackson’s reputation and ha(s) caused her significant harm.”
Jermaine, Randy, Janet and Rebbie have been banned from visited their mother’s home for now, according to an e-mail written by estate lawyer Howard Wietzman.
That restriction prompted his “olive branch,” Jermaine Jackson said.
“Yesterday, I had a phone call with my son Jaafar that broke my heart,” he said. “He asked: ‘Is it true that we cannot visit grandmother’s house as a family anymore?’ Enough has become enough.”
He suggested the family engage in a private “collective dialogue” to find peace.
“Mistakes have been made and irrational things have been said on both sides in a highly charged emotional environment,” he said. “It is time for us all to draw a line in the sand and move towards peace, cooperation, love and healing. I truly hope that we can find it in our hearts to do so. Because above and beyond anything else, what matters … is family.”
CNN’s Kareen Wynter and HLN’s Richelle Carey contributed to this report.