‘My take’: MJ’s choreographer Vince Paterson speaks out 5

Dance · Music
Vince Paterson, Michael Jackson, ‘Smooth Criminal’

Ed. note: We are pleased to invite the hugely accomplished and talented choreographer Vince Paterson for this guest column written in response to the two-part documentary, “Leaving Netherland” now on HBO.

I am repulsed by the number of people ready to nail Michael Jackson to the cross — without the possibility of defense from the grave. Now celebrities are jumping on the condemnation bandwagon based on the words of two men: one who has committed perjury, not as a child but as a 22-year old man, if what he has decided to say now is the truth.

I spent close to 17 years with MJ, through many projects and much intimate time on and off sets. I constantly saw Michael adored one day and condemned the next day for various reasons: sleeping in a hyperbolic chamber, having a monkey as a best friend, having plastic surgery, creating a music video with a message as in Black or Whitead nauseum. I watched him duck and cover from the blasphemous lies spread about him daily. I sat beside him as he sobbed in his trailer, confused as to why people would be so vicious when his only motivation was to create for his fans…to give the world something it had never seen.

I never saw a hint of anything evil or even an inkling of this kind of perversion directed toward any child…or anyone to be perfectly honest. In fact, with the exception of a few celebrities with whom I have collaborated, Michael Jackson was the kindest, most polite, caring, generous person I ever met in the entertainment industry. Ever.

I find it especially horrifying to raise all of this now that Michael Jackson is gone and cannot defend himself. If one of the accusers was motivated to tell all because of his own relationship with his son, why the need to do so publicly? Would it not have been better for the accuser to have dealt with this in an intimate family environment? His son will now be dealing with this for a very long time.

And from a father who loves his son, what about the pain this is bringing to Michael Jackson’s children?

What sort of “justice” are these two men seeking? If any of these stories have validity—I don’t believe they do—why the unmitigated desire “to get the truth out there.” Would these men have done the same if the situations that they claim to be true were committed by an unknown, behind-the-scenes ‘someone’ who worked in entertainment production?

Pointing an accusing finger at a dead person is an easy act, and an especially easy method to obtain a mass of followers when that finger is pointed at a celebrity as controversial as Michael Jackson.


I can’t help but feel these accusers are seeking more than “justice.”

Is it for FAME? Fame is a bizarre creature. It is seductive. It is dangerous. They are receiving that surely.

Is it for SUCCESS? With Oprah and Ellen on the bandwagon, both will probably have more job offers than ever before.

Whether true or false, for me there is no valid reason other than self-aggrandizement to bring these sordid stories to a universal audience. And I cannot help but wonder … why is there a statute of limitations on perjury?  

Sorry…but for me it’s #MJINNOCENT

Vincent Paterson has worked on films, Broadway, concert tours, opera, music videos, TV shows and commercials. He was Michael Jackson’s choreographer for iconic numbers including “Smooth Criminal,” “Black or White“, “The Way You Make Me Feel“, “Dirty Diana”, “Speed Demon” and live performances for the Super Bowl Halftime Show, and the Grammys.

5 thoughts on “‘My take’: MJ’s choreographer Vince Paterson speaks out

  1. Debbie Dale Jul 28,2021 1:57 am

    Shirley Alves
    I have no need to comment after reading yours as it is EXACTLY what I would have said too.
    If anyone really wants to know the truth, just show due diligence and do your research. It’s all out there….if you really want to find it!

  2. Phil Oct 2,2020 9:59 pm

    So disapointed by Mr Paterson’s reaction : “Whether true or false, for me there is no valid reason other than self-aggrandizement to bring these sordid stories to a universal audience.”

    Wake up, Mr Paterson, it’s time for the victims to be heard. Enough of silence. Enough of shame. Enough of dying from ignorance and taboo. If these 2 young men can use a public figure like MJ to bring a light on child abuse and help other victims all over the world, then this is the best reason there can be.

    The movie was painful to watch but necessary.

  3. SHIRLEY ALVES May 19,2019 6:23 pm

    @Jo Flander: That’s a big “IF” though. And therein lies the problem.
    While in a normal circumstance what you say may be true, when it comes to these 2 accusers, and their victim, Michael Jackson, all is not what it seems. They did not just “keep their mouth shut” all these years; they in fact swore under oath that Michael was innocent. They told the world whenever they got the chance that he was wonderful and loving and would never do anything sexual to a child. They said so as children AND as adults, time and time again. They also constantly sought to BE NEAR HIM. Wade especially did everything he could to profit from his relationship with Michael, doing tributes even after Michael died. An abuse victim does NOT seek out their abuser for 30 years!

    Wade’s whole career and livelihood was based on MJ, and it was only when he was turned DOWN from profiting one more time, that he suddenly came forth like a vengeful child. If all he wanted was to “tell his truth”, why file a lawsuit for $1.5 Billion dollars? He could have told the story of how “grooming” is done and explained the non-trench coat abuser, without attempting to seek fortune and fame. He could have ruined MJ without looking like a greedy bastard… but nope. He NEEDED the cash. And so did Jimmy, when he saw Wade on TV… a WEEK after his own family was sued for almost a million dollars for problems with the family sanitation business! How convenient that he suddenly “remembered” that he’d been “abused”…!

    He and Jimmy have since been shown to be liars, being caught in several tall tales, changing their narrative to suit their immediate purpose, and continue their lawsuit quest, but how many lies is it going to take for people to start questioning these guys’ motives?

    When you are too nice, AND you are wealthy, you become a target for the foulest of men…


  4. debra levine Mar 13,2019 9:17 am

    Thank you for your comment.

  5. Jo Fiander Mar 13,2019 3:52 am

    Having worked with a number of children and adults abused in childhood, if these men are telling the truth they have a right to tell their story to who ever they want, in what ever way they want, for what ever reasons. It is their life story. Any bleed over from having kept their mouth shut, any desire for money gain/compensation for suffering, etc should be acceptable. Whether they are speaking up for them self or a desire to shed light that most abusers are not middle aged men in grey raincoats is equally fine. Abusers are not just abusers… they can be kind, respectable members of society. If spouses don’t know their partners are abusers, surely work colleagues could also miss any signs. We also have to acknowledge that some abusers leave no obvious signs and also people who realise that they may have missed ‘signs’ will be keen to convince them self that there weren’t any.

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