Smokey Robinson blasts 'atrocious' media coverage of Michael Jackson and his family

Just over a month after Michael Jackson’s tragic death, Motown great Smokey Robinson continues to mourn the man who was like a younger brother to him. During a phone chat with the Music Mix today, the legendary singer-songwriter shared his thoughts on recovering from the shock of losing Michael — and why the news media has made that process harder for him.

“I’m getting better, and I’m sure that we’re all getting better,” says Robinson. “But it’s hard to let it rest, because the news media’s not letting it rest. Every day you turn on the TV and you hear something about it: ‘Now they’re thinking about arresting the doctor.’ And I think it’s a shame what they’ve done about [Jackson’s] kids, talking about the DNA, who’s the real sperm donor, and blah, blah, blah. Those are kids, man. And Michael was their dad. No matter what comes up about the DNA, Michael was their father. So for them to do that, to run those kids through the mill like that, is atrocious as far as I’m concerned. It’s a ridiculous thing. They’re not thinking about [the fact] that these are kids that they’re doing this to, and what impact it’s going to have on their lives. They just want people to listen to whatever thing they’re doing. It’s a shame. So I haven’t had a chance to totally recover, because all this stuff is still going on.”

Stay tuned next week for a full Q&A with Smokey Robinson about his upcoming album Time Flies When You’re Having Fun, the 50th anniversary of the Motown label, and more. In the meantime, what do you think of his point about the media circus surrounding Jackson’s children?

More about Michael Jackson:
Michael Jackson: Hear an unreleased track
Pepsi responds to Michael Jackson accident footage
Michael Jackson talks Bad, price of fame in unreleased 1987 interview
Michael Jackson: The truth about his “final” photo shoot
Michael Jackson tribute: Who should perform?

Photo credit: Nick Spanos

Comments (122 total) Add your comment
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  • Ben

    “No matter what comes up about the DNA, Michael was their father. So for them to do that, to run those kids through the mill like that, is atrocious as far as I’m concerned. It’s a ridiculous thing.”

    I agree, the media treated their father as a monster in a cage, now they are moving onto his kids.

    • Gail Driskell

      I think that Smokey robinson made an very good point on his comments towards the media because they are going to far on it.

      • Duncan

        I stopped watching anyone on CNN due to their non-stop, over the top coverage of Michael’s death.Larry King has lost his mind over this!

      • MindyM


        You said it! CNN has gone crazy with their coverage of the whole Michael Jackson death. Yes, Larry King has totally gone nuts over the whole thing. Shame on them! They have stooped to the level of the tabloids. Nothing is too personal, too intimate, too private for them to talk about incessantly. It is revolting.

    • Cheryl

      I agree with Ben 100%. Leave the children alone. Michael is the only father they know and the most important thing…they LOVED him and still do.

  • sam

    It is always sad to find out bad things about people we care about. But if Mr. Robinson remembers little Michael, he did not know the adult that he became, having very little recent contact with MJ. In fact, everybody at that memorial spoke about old memories. Although the children should be left alone, it is best for the truth to come out, finally, about drug abuse, etc. and for those responsible to be dealt with under the law. Would he prefer to lose more friends to drugs provided improperly by doctors?

    • Sally in Chicago

      I totally totally agree with Sam. Just like the public that mourned Michael, they mourned the 30 year old Michael, because the 50 yo had not performed live in the U.S., had not released a record in about 15 years.

      • ripley

        his last album came out in 2001 pretty sure that wasnt 15yrs ago.

      • Marcela

        I’m sorry but he released a record called Invincible in 2001. That was his last one. He was working on two albums though but who knows what’s gonna happen with those. He was working on a studio album and another project he had going on was a classical music album. I loved Michael and I still love him now. I think some of his friends mourned the 30 year old Michael because they haven’t been in touch. But most of us mourn Michael. Child Michael, 30 year Michael or 50 year old. In my eyes, he retained the same. With the same smile and same charm.

      • lovemichaelforever

        Again Sally, you show your ignorance-you obviously weren’t a fan so why do you keep popping up on these boards?

      • $haun

        Do you have to be a Michael Jackson fan to comment on this board? If so, I have broken that rule twice now.

      • smilie12

        You don’t have to be a MJ fan to post on this board, but to receive respect, you at least need to have some TRUE evidence on what you speak. If you aren’t sure of the facts, then you either show respect for someone or you play the role of a troll.

      • courtney

        I disagree. I think that the public mourned the true Michael Jackson. No matter what happened in his private, and yes I say private life, he was a human being. We all make mistakes and have skeletons in our closets. All of us do. It is terrible to think his kids have to hear this about their about father. Think about it, if it was your father’s dirty laundry, would you want it aired nationally so that millions of people could see?

  • Tim Locke

    In regards to what the legendary Mr. Robinson said in relation to the news media’s coverage of the death of Michael Jackson all I can say is, “I second that emotion.” The news media should be called on the carpet for this new low in celebrity coverage. Will it take another 911 type incident until we wake up again and realize that the fleeting lives of celebrities will never fill whatever prurient need we have to know them.

  • sweetie52

    Regarding Mr. Robinson’s comments on the news media’s coverage of Michael Jackson’s death, I’m inclined to agree with what he said. Mr. Robinson, the Jackson family and others who knew Michael Jackson, need time to mourn him and to be able to do it in private, without the news media bothering them! Shame on the news media, they ought to know better, they wouldn’t like it, if someone did the same thing to them and their family at a time of mourning, would they?

    • Sally in Chicago

      But his father keeps giving interviews. How do you shut the father down?

      • Diane

        NOBODY can shut Joe Jackson down, unfortunately. He’s a cruel man with an ego the size of Montana.

  • nickster121

    Ok we are all sad that he is dead but let his children remember Micheal for who he was to his kid and that is he was dad.
    PLain And simple dont do to them what you did to their father

  • Liz

    I agree with Mr. Robinson. We the public/media sure not care if Michael Jackson was the children’s bio father or not he provided and treated them as their are/were his bio children so leave it alone.

    The children have to deal with the lost of the only parent they knew and now a new life style including different people, rules and etc.

    I still can not beleive that Michael is gone and now is a good time for everyone to just focus on remembering Michael Jackson for the good his has done because that it what outweighs any bad press (in my opinion).

  • Liz

    I am sorry I meant to say, I still can not beleive that Michael is gone and now is a good time for everyone to just focus on remembering Michael Jackson for the good his has done because that it what outweighs any bad press that some people believe his has done without actual any proof only by what was believed to be true(in my opinion).

  • $haun

    Isn’t this the same kind of enabling that caused so much of Jackson’s problems in the first place? The media is still reporting on things like DNA and the possiblity of looking into the doctor because it’s news. Jackson surrounded himself with bobos and yes-men who weren’t looking out for his well-being. Michael Jackson put his kids in this unfavorable predicament, not the media, and the sooner enablers like Smokey Robinson cop to that, the better off the kids will be.

    • smilie12

      You are just making insults against Michael based on your National Enquirer magazine readings. Lets see you try to handle all the things Michael dealt with in his life. You probably wouldn’t have lived half as long and would have been broke twice as quick. Don’t judge someone’s decisions when your encyclopedia is the paparazzi. You have no knowledge at all about what condition MJ left his kids.

      • dusen

        Exactly smilie12. NOBODY has “no knowlege at all about what condition MJ left his kids” So, why are you so sure he’s completely innocent and blameless in all this?

    • smilie12

      First off, I try to treat others the way I would like to be treated. What if people were spreading rumors about you?????? Second off, all of us are guilty to a degree on our situations. Nobody can say that they are perfect. He shouldn’t be held to any higher standard than others. The evidence on MJ’s children (including Omer Bhatti) shows well behaved children. Show me one single piece of evidence that those children were ill treated. You and Shaun can’t because there is none. So any evil remark is a troll remark.

      • $haun

        Isn’t the dangling of the one child over the railing of a hotel room a very concrete example of the child being ill treated? And by the way, I’m not a troll, just fyi, I believe what I said.

  • nannydue

    Leave Michael’s kids alone. It’s no ones business who is the “biological father” or “biological mother” is. Michael was their father, legally, morally, and in every way. The mothers are out of the picture by their own desires. Leave the kids with the memories of the only parent they had.

    • Stacy Foils

      I agree with nannydue: this is no one’s business…..people have surrogate moms, IVF, sperm donors and adopt children—Michael was the FATHER of these children–the only one they have ever known.

      • C

        I agree with this completely, and furthermore, who are we to assume he isn’t the biological father of this children? Because a tabloid reports that they aren’t? It is just too ridiculous for words.

  • d

    I think that Smokey’s is spot on! These are children and whether they hear this stuff now, (I sure hope not) or later, this is a heartbreaker in all ways. Let it go now! God made His decision and now there are some good people who have to give those kids a chance to heal and to be kids! Pray for them and love them. That is ALL

  • rufustfirefly

    I do feel sorry for those kids. But Michael Jackson didn’t not have those children brought into the world to be a parent. They were brought into the world so he’d have children that he could be a child with, and at the same time in order to appear more normal. The sad truth is, those children should never have existed.

    • moxie

      what a cruel and inhumane thing to say. a simple search on youtube for footage of michael w/ his kids would show you that he was a great parent, as well as testimony from his family/friends. these kind, well-behaved and truly loved children should not exist? what an unbelievably stupid thing to say.

      • $haun

        So you see some staged scenes on you tube and some positive things said by the numerous “yes” men and women that were close to Jacko and that’s enough for you to know he was a “great parent”? I think your standards are low and hope you don’t have children of your own.

      • moxie

        to $haun:
        first of all it’s Mr. Jackson to you retard, not Jacko. Secondly who the hell are you to be commenting on who should have kids? u don’t know who the eff i am. thirdly, his brothers and sisters and friends are “yes men”? really, so you know better about the kind of father MJ was than the people who have actually met him and now him? really? how is this possible? Your statement is so unbelievably stupid, cynical and narrowminded that i hope you never have children. if you do have kids, i suspect you are a terrible parent.

      • moxie

        *know him.

      • smilie12

        Stupid people like Shaun is why Michael has so much controversy. Shaun knows nothing about Michael’s life. Fact is that those children were raised in a way equal to any good parent. There is plenty of video footage showing they are well behaved. Omer Bhatti who was with Michael a huge amount as a child has come to MJ’s defense saying how good he was numerous times as well as many other people who have known Michael for years (some his whole life). Shaun reads his news at the checkout line in grocery stores where the National Enquirer and other garbage magazines are sold. Shaun is only on this board to try to stir up garbage but he is only showing his low IQ.

      • $haun

        Moxie and smilie, do you really not see the incredible irony in what you’re saying? Do I KNOW what kind of father Jackson was? Absolutely not. But I BELIEVE he was not the Ward Cleaver he is being portrayed as. You 2 BELIEVE he was. I think you’re wrong. And “proof” from his family and hangers-on and other celebrities doesn’t sway me. Sorry, just doesn’t. So you guys have your BELIEF based on what you have seen and I have my BELIEF based on what I have seen, but I’m the retard? I mean, I’ll go with you if you want to say we’re ALL retards, I could get behind that. But you guys don’t know any more than I do, and if you can’t see that, then I would have to say you fall into the same yes-men category as all the people around him, and it helped to kill him.

      • moxie

        THERE HAS NOT BEEN ONE PERSON WHO KNOWS MJ *PERSONALLY* THAT HAS SAID HE’S A TERRIBLE FATHER! how hard is it to understand this?! did you not see his daughter at the memorial? you can hate on MJ all you want but just admit that you’ve been biased towards MJ b/c of all the tabloids you read. you’re not being objective, you’re just assuming the worst about MJ and his kids.

    • Sally in Chicago

      I understand what Rufust is writing. However, I think he had kids because he through he couldn’t and wanted someone better than what he was.
      We need to qualify what we write — not his “biological” children. They might as well be adopted.

      • smilie12

        Michael wanted those children for the same reason any one would want children. And who cares whether they are adopted or actually MJ’s children. When you love someone and they love you, DNA is meaningless. A bond is created by love not DNA. That is why MJ rejected his father. He had a DNA connection but no love. We all come from the same tree so DNA only matters when arguing over legal matters.

    • moxie

      THERE HAS NOT BEEN ONE PERSON WHO KNOWS MJ *PERSONALLY* THAT HAS SAID HE’S A TERRIBLE FATHER! how hard is it to understand this?! did you not see his daughter at the memorial? you can hate on MJ all you want but just admit that you’ve been biased towards MJ b/c of all the tabloids you read. you’re not being objective, you’re just assuming the worst about MJ and his kids.

      • $haun

        And you’re assuming the best about MJ and his kids, so…what’s the difference?

      • moxie

        I’m not assuming anything about MJ. Yes, it’s true that those of us who have not met MJ, do not know everything about him. Yet we can gain some insight about MJ from people who know him personally. People who know him personally — his friends (people like Rabbi Schmuley and Deepak Chopra), who are not yes-men, btw, have all stated that he was a wonderful father. If you watched interviews of them on CNN it’s pretty clear that they advised MJ against his use of prescription drugs and did not agree w/ everything he did, but they said he was a wonderful father. His family members state he was a wonderful dad (again, they’re not yes-people as they tried to stage an intervention) as have Steve Harvey and Geraldo Rivera who have both met MJ and his kids. People who’ve met him have claimed he’s a great dad, so how are reports of him being an incompetent father credible, when these reports are made in tabloids by people who’ve never met MJ??

    • HowMeanOfYou

      rufustfirefly how could you come out with such a comment. “those children should never have existed.” every child has a right to exsist. It shouldn’t matter who the parent is. They are here and need love and compassion in what they are dealing with. They lost the only parent they have every known. How heartless of you to make such a comment. I pray those kids get a chance to remember their father in a positive manner without fools making these comments even after MJ is gone. That man was hounded everyday by people who had no clue. Now he is gone and the fools now want to hound him still and to drag his poor kids through the mud too now. Shameful is what it is. I say let the poor man have some peace now since he never got to know it when he was here. Let his children hold the loving memories they have of their father. The press needs to remember they are only children,who have lost a parent. Its not like they lost a favorite shoe or something.

  • rufustfirefly

    Where is there information about Jackson not being able to have kids? Those children were brought into the world for the same reason he “married” Lisa Marie Presley.

    • Sally in Chicago

      Michael never had sex with Lisa or Debbie Rowe. The reason he married Lisa was to get the Elvis catalog. The reason he divorced her was because she wouldn’t have his children. (read his autobios) And we all know he never sperminated those children.

      • Iris

        He actually was intimate with Lisa Marie and their marriage was not a sham, and Lisa Marie maintains that to this day (and has no reason to lie, almost fifteen years since they were married). He didn’t marry her for the Elvis catalog since he doesn’t HAVE the Elvis catalog.

        Believe it or not, he might have married her because there was something there- I don’t see Lisa Marie being the type of person to marry someone for no reason at all. She’s nobody’s fool.

        If Lisa Marie said and continues to say their marriage is real, then who the heck are we all to say otherwise?

      • smilie12

        Sorry Iris, but Sally in Chicago read National Enquirer and knows the truth. It doesn’t matter what Lisa Marie says, the paparazzi know more than her :P I saw her interview recently where she talked about life with MJ. Her only regret is that she walked away when he was getting so much bad advice from hired consultants (who obviously saw $$$$$) She says they had a normal life like any married couple. Sorry but Sally is reading the wrong magazine.

  • rufustfirefly

    Personally, I’d like to see those children disappear. That is, be adopted by people that know one knows, and no one could ever find out about. Keep them away from the Jacksons, from the greedy bitch that basically sold them to Michael Jackson. Maybe then they would have a chance to grow up normally. But I imagine it’s too late.

  • sam

    Of course the children should be left alone. But it is ow coming out how many different drugs MJ may have been taking and also that he might have used his son’s name to get drugs. If that is true, his parenting is in serious question. Although I am sure that he loved the children, a good father does not remain addicted to drugs, use them with the children in the house and use a child’s name to get the drugs. Mr. Robinson and others need to wake up and recognize what apparently was going on in MJ’s later years.

  • Nerwen Aldarion

    The media needs to get a life and move on. I actually feel bad for Farah Fawcett, everyone forgot about her death and long struggle with cancer because Micheal the pedophile Jackson became a media sensation over his death. Why don’t they report on something newsworthy for once.

    • A. Darton

      They are reporting on someone newsworthy, the greatest entertainer ever, Michael Jackson.I was always raised to testify to that I know, that I don’t know maybe I should keep my mouth close.Did you ever see Michael molest anyone A. Nerwen? If I thought someone had molested my child, I wouldn’t accept one dime, I would want justice, not money. Plus I would fight for any child who could be hurt in the future, I wouldn’t take the money and run, unless money was what I wanted all along.Leave MJ the heck alone.

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