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Dick Gregory's Role as Michael Jackson's Adviser

ED GORDON, host:

From NPR News, this is NEWS & NOTES. I'm Ed Gordon.

He's known first for his years as a comedian and activist for civil rights, but he's also known as a health guru, giving advice to many for better living, including celebrities, most recently, Michael Jackson, who he assisted during the singer's trial. In fact, before the proceedings began, the comedian proclaimed Jackson innocent of child molestation charges. Gregory fasted 40 days to focus on what he called the truth in the case. Over the years, Gregory has also been well known for his eagerness to spot a conspiracy, whether the subject is identity theft, the war in Iraq or the death of Princess Diana. Our conversation won't disappoint those looking for conspiracy theories. We started by talking about the war in Iraq.

Mr. DICK GREGORY: You take a Christian praying society like America, that the Bible talks about no killing, and yet we can justify that, when certain people ask us to, and it seems just strange that the lies that we told to get in there, and that seems not to bother the American people, because what we seem to do--as long as you have power, you will tolerate it. But let some welfare mothers or some hillbilly white women got us involved in something, they'd be dead now. And so when you stop and think about all the people that seems to be able to control it and decide, you know, what's going to happen, they have no loved ones over there.

My belief is, you know, certain things have to be explained that's never been explained. Now what do you do? You go in, you disrupt something, and you can't just run out. But it looked like we would be able to bring the decent people together around the world with a Nelson Mandela type, and women, and say, `Look, how can we undo what we've done and call for a truce and ask governments all over the world to--let's set it up like a Marshall Plan, to see to it that the killing can stop?'

And the other thing that bothers me, Ed, if there is a problem in Washington, DC, with car bombs, they'd just rope off the street. Now if you got all these car bombs that's killing folks in Baghdad, you just say, `OK, as of such-and-such a day, no more cars unless they're official cars, will be permitted in Baghdad, and we going to furnish free transportation.' That seems simple, and I don't know why we not doing that, which leads me to believe there's more behind what we doing over there than they telling us.

GORDON: We know it's a different time and age, and things revolve and change with the season, but for someone who was so vocal in perhaps the most volatile time in this country's recent history, the 1960s, when you see the silence of Americans today, not questioning so much in the world, the administration in general, are you at all disappointed in what you're seeing?

Mr. GREGORY: People are frightened. I never thought I'd see the day that I would see white folks as frightened, or more so, than black folks was during the civil rights movement when we was in Mississippi. When I go through the airport and see white women walking through the airport barefooted, like athlete's feet don't exist, there's something wrong. And fear for a nation have the same effect on a nation as fear of a human being. It tears up the immune system, it destroys the inner structure. Listen, when you frighten people and scare people, they lose all reasoning, and that's where we are today.

When they announce that 40 million credit card information have been compromised, and then they tell us the FBI--this happened two months ago--the FBI said, `Hey, wait a minute. Hold it. Don't tell nobody that. We inve'--how you going to investigate if somebody got my credit card? And matter of fact, one of my credit cards was on that list. Now here's what I'm saying: I've always believed that every other month we hear about compromisation of bank records, I think that's the CIA and the FBI. Now let me tell you why I'm saying this. I don't believe no insignificant pip-squeak is going to be able to pull this off month after month and we can't find out what's going on.

The other thing is, suppose I didn't know my credit card had been compromised, and suppose they buy some tickets--and I'm talking about the CIA and the FBI--for some terrorists, and all at once the world hears `Dick Gregory was arrested for buying tickets for terrorists on his credit card.' Well, people like you and people who know me that--know that's not true, but most of the people in the world, they don't know that. The FBI and the CIA is probably the two most evil entities that ever existed in the history of the planet, and they do stuff in this country that would make Hitler blush.

GORDON: Dick, I've known you for a long time. What do you say to critics who say you always have a conspiracy theory?

Mr. GREGORY: Well, first is I don't have to be validated by The New York Times or The Washington Post, and I tell them simply, go back and look at my books. I sit with Kathy Hughes on August the 19th, the year that Princess Di was killed on August the 30th, and we did an hour-and-a-half show where I say, `Kathy, if Princess Di owe any of you-all any money, or your friends, you better get it quick, because she'll probably be dead by the end of the month.' So all they got to do is just check out my stuff. I'm not sitting here lying on America or doing this. Me and Mark Lane did a book called "Code Name Zorro" that calls the Kennedy, King assassination investigation--Americans will find out one day that we've been lied to about September the 11th. I mean, do it seem funny that the first anniversary of September the 11th, the New York lottery number was 911? I mean, these thugs don't even have no shame.

I'm the one, when Michael Jackson first got indicted, I went on a 40-day fast and said, `If Michael did it, my mama did it.' So for all those folks that believe he did it, they should have joined me in prayer. And what did you see? Not the verdict. You saw the truth come out long before the verdict, one state witness after another, after another. And it's nothing but they after his money. As we talk now, Michael Jackson owns 63 percent of all country-western music, which is to the tune of $800 million.

Now I was there at Neverland. There's hundreds of people that work there. There's animals there that--the zoo there's bigger than the zoo in Washington, DC. I looked at the animals; ain't none of them skinny, ain't none of them look like they--and nobody's complaining about their check bouncing. All of this here is a deal that all at once we say, `Can a black person on this planet have this kind of power? Let's take him out.' And they missed, because they don't know how spiritual he is.

Listen, if I rob banks, I'm not going to get on TV or this show and say, `I don't see nothing wrong with robbing banks.' So if he was having anything to do with them little boys, he wouldn't say he think it's OK to sleep. You ain't heard none of them priests--none of them pedophile priests ain't never said, `I think it's OK to molest little boys. I think it's OK to bring them in my office and play with them.' So why would Michael be that much stupid? He has a childlike mentality, and the Bible says, `Until you become as a child you will never enter this kingdom.' Well, he will have no trouble entering that kingdom.

GORDON: Dick, you've been part and parcel of helping keep Michael Jackson healthy throughout this. You were out being a support mechanism for Michael and the family during the trial. Do you believe Michael Jackson has to face reality in terms of growing up now, and whether or not as this point he understands, despite his beliefs, if those are to be believed, he now has to change what he used to do?

Mr. GREGORY: Now what--let me back up for a minute. Michael has a brilliant mind, but he has a childlike mentality. And I know children--because I'm a father, 10 children--sleep with teddy bears, sleep with dolls, sleep with a security blanket. I know children that you can tell them, `Stay away from this stove,' but until they reach up and pull that pot of hot water on them and scald them--you don't have to tell them that no more.

No, I think what have happened have reached past all of his nice behavior attitudes and have--I mean, if Jesus Christ came back today, as nice as he is, it'd be hard to get Jesus to show up at another last supper, because the first one didn't come out too good. And so people wake up from experiences. When you go back to that first trial, people don't know what happened, and my grandmother'd look at that and believe he did it--where Johnnie Cochran settled that case out of court. And here's the reason why. Now Johnnie might not know what I'm fixing to say now--I mean, the late Johnnie--that Michael Jackson was injected with hormones when he was seven years old to keep his voice high. That did things to tear up the body. You look at athletes that use hormones. You look at women that use birth control pills; some of them have a strong attraction for another woman because birth control pills have female hormones in it. Most of them don't know this, and that's what this whole game is.

And so, consequently, it affected him where the skin color started changing at a certain age. Michael knew that with all of his talent nobody's going to come see someone with spots. And so he goes to the right chemists and the right scientists, and they create some injections that bleaches him white. Now when that first case come up, which was a fraud--when you sit around and take ordinary people and say, `Well, he wouldn't have settled out of court'--and let me tell you what that settlement was. It wasn't no $30 million. It was X amount of million dollars goes in the bank for escrow, and all that dad is able to get out of that is the interest off of that. He got a rude awakening.

But let me tell you two things that came out of that trial. All over the world, they talk about the black family in America. We saw the black family. We saw the black family sitting there every day as a family unit. Let me tell you something else. That jury watched Michael every day, and as the world talk about how weird he is--well, Pee Wee Herman weird; he don't have to go to jail for it--they got to see a Michael Jackson every day and heard people lying on him, people--they didn't know they were lying. Michael did, and Michael never had negative attitudes. He never flinched. He never looked evil. He never--and I'm sure that had a profound effect on the jury.

And so I would say that Michael's biggest problem now is he got to go into a hospital and get thoroughly examined. Most of the stuff that I thought was wrong with him I didn't deal with because he had the trial. And so when you stop and think about, you know, the family--I would go home with them. And when you first walked in that house after they'd leave trial, you didn't see them, because only the family members was permitted to go upstairs to the roof and they had prayer vigil and they prayed. If you was in that house from another planet, you would not know that Michael was on trial, because sometime there was 30 people there. I see Michael's children running through the house. It's obvious they didn't know what was going on. They was reacting just like normal children.

But Michael knew there was 12 folks that didn't look like him that would determine if he was going to jail or if he was going to be free. And what that will do to the human body is just awesome. So now that it's over, now he got to work to start getting his sleep, and I'm not talking about sleep where a doctor injects you with some kind of sleeping device, a pill or a shot. He's going to have to get into physical fitness. He's going to have to get into drinking water. And once that happen I think he'll--he can get back to normal. But it's going to take almost a year or two years.

GORDON: Activist and health expert Dick Gregory served as an adviser to Michael Jackson during his recent trial.

This is NPR News. Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.