Former Friend & Classmate of Michael Jackson’s 2003 Accuser Speaks Out and Shares the Truth about what REALLY Happened
Interview Transcript by Pat Peterson
Many thanks to Pat Peterson for taking time out of her busy schedule to volunteer to transcribe this interview so that it could be read as well. Thank you Pat!
DK: Deborah Kunesh, ROTD website creator
MS: Marcy Saylor, former friend and classmate of MJ's 2003 accuser
DK: One of the things I wanted to ask you was, what was the school you went to with Gavin?
MS: It was John Burrows Middle School and it’s in Los Angeles technically, but. it’s right next to Hancock Park. I believe it would be Hollywood or Los Angeles but it was John Burrows Middle School.
DK:Okay. Okay. How long did you go to school there? You met Gavin in 7th grade at John Burrows Middle School. Did you know him well, or was it just more like he was a classmate? MS:Actually, it’s funny. I knew him because I always and continued to be afterwards very into the dramatic arts and theater…things like that. He was a new student that came in not in the beginning of the year. Him and his brother. He specifically was in a science class of mine and his brother was in the drama theater class. That’s how I knew both of them individually.
I became friends with Gavin, very loosely, but because we were in 7th grade it was like we could have been best friends and we talked a lot about, you know, personal stuff like right away and he let me know that he had cancer. I almost…it’s been so long but I know that the scar was on his side. He showed it to me. I’d quite honestly forgot where he had it but I know he was a Make-a-Wish kid with the foundation and that his last wish, pretty much before his surgery that was life threatening, was to meet Michael Jackson. He told me that previous to all the stuff that had happened after we were friends. And then he was around and he was nice and all of that stuff and then left for a really long time. He didn’t attend school…he just kind of went missing and then he came back and when he came back he had like new clothes and very expensive whatever it was, shoes, electronics, things that he was showing around to everybody.
The other thing was, is when he first came into the school, because he came in late and in 7th grade because it’s so immature nobody wanted to talk to him, like, you know what I mean, it wasn’t happening.
My mother specifically has always told me that no one is above anyone. Everyone deserves respect and kindness and so I did that and that’s the only reason I knew him that way. I was one of the only people that would talk to him like a normal person and wasn’t like, “eew, who are you? You’re weird, like, you’re new.”
And so when he came back he used the things that he had and also dropped Michael’s name and that got him popularity.
DK: Oh, okay. Sure.
MS: Within that popularity him and I did stop talking because I felt like he was exploiting whatever he had done, like the thing was no one knew what was going on. He just came back to school with “stuff” and was saying that he had met Michael Jackson and this, that and the other and blah, blah, blah, blah, blah and that was what was happening… and then the interview came out on VH1 with him and Michael. DK:The Bashir documentary? MS:Yes, and there was a huge backlash at my school over it. All of the cool kids that, you know were in 7th grade and judgmental and saw like, first of all, let’s just say, two men holding hands. That was one of the things in the documentary and that was one of the things that was said as a comment to Gavin when he was at school. And was just that…he got made fun of pretty much for it.
There was also immediately a lot of press came to our school. And there was a lot of drama right outside the gates of our school all the time because Gavin was attending school there. And that he left the school. There was so much backlash against that interview and how dramatic it was.
And you know I personally think it was just Michael Jackson showing how much he did love children. Like their parents were involved and it wasn’t like he was stealing children. He was filming the entire family, not just the kids. Like he was interviewing with the children but their mother and father were right off set or off to the camera and so he was touching families, not just children, with his love and appreciation and things like that….
MS: Then there was the, you know, molestation, whatever, thing, that Gavin and his mother tried to pull, and it later came about because our school was involved, that it was pretty much a direct order from his mother to say what he said about Michael in order to get money from him in a big way. You know what I mean? Michael Jackson will give the kids shoes and will give the kids very expensive electronics and will give them things like that, but they’re not going to (get) whatever amount of money they were going to get from the lawsuit, like that, out of Michael Jackson in any way, shape or form. DK:How did you find out? You said with the school being involved this is how you found out the order came from his mom. MS:Yeah, it was…. there were friends that knew him and like tried to stay in contact with him and then kids and their parents were talking about it. Kids were talking about it. The public was talking about it. There were like paparazzi and crazy interviewers outside, like, the kids sadly were, they were so involved in that because of him attending the school. DK:The kids in the school were involved? MS:Yeah, it was all the information that Gavin had said previous to all of that, trying to gain popularity. There were so many details unleashed in that, and it just came out later on, when he left the school it died down. That’s pretty much what happened.
DK: I’m sorry, go ahead
MS: No, that’s fine
DK:Are there certain, particular details that you remember that you can share about it? Certain things that came out that were kind of (what) led everyone to believe, that yeah, he did lie about this? MS:Well, I, the funny thing is, is I tried to talk to him about what he was doing before he left, because I felt, because the thing is, he got really, really depressed and I had talked to him about all of the things that everyone was saying about him because he and I had stopped talking, and he was left in the dust by the people he had tried to gain respect from. So I went back and talked to him, and when I did I said “why exploit somebody for pretty much personal gain” you know what I mean? That’s what he was doing in school. He was using Michael Jackson as a way, as another, to personally gain off of him. Not only in the things that he had, but with the people and the respect that he was earning just because of his name.
And when I said that, he said, pretty much, long story short, he said, “I’ve always been told to do that. I’ve always been told to do that.” I said, “What do you mean, you’ve always been told to do that?” “What does that mean?” And he just started crying. Like there wasn’t much said after that and then I knew...
I’ve always been personally close to teachers. I’ve always been the kind of kid that doesn’t like go out for recess, but will do my homework so I don’t have to do it at home. In my teachers’ classes. So I had also heard adult conversations at John Burrows. Personal conversations that I probably shouldn’t have been aware of, between teachers, about the information about the kids’ mom because of when she ripped him out of the school. She kind of let out information to the main office about what she was doing and why she was ripping him out and all that stuff. And the main office had, well, someone from the main office was talking to my teacher about how cold hearted and I guess, smug this woman was about it. Like, she didn’t seem concerned for her child except for just doing the action of getting him away from the situation. And long story short, the adults were coming to the conclusion that she was the ring leader in all of this.
And I believe that she was going through some sort of divorce but not getting anything from it during the time of all that happening. Which is probably why she needed money.
DK:Okay, true and a lot of it corresponds to her past as far as the J.C. Penny settlement and all those things that happened, as well, that she kind of…. and other celebrities that she approached, so it all fits in for sort of, her past, how she operated. Now, of the things that you heard from the adults; are you able to share any of that or is it? MS:It’s not necessarily that I couldn’t share it. It’s just so long ago that I just remember the minor details. I’m 21 now and I was 13 then, so it was a long time ago. A lifetime ago. But yeah, the minor details that I can remember have been enough for me in my lifetime to always in these small ways tell the story when someone at a party or someone making a joke, talks about Michael Jackson touching kids…Every single time all I have to say is “you know, I know somebody that said they did, that said that that happened, and then admitted that it didn’t happen.” Gavin said to me that, that didn’t happen. DK:Oh, he admitted it to you? MS:Yeah. That did not happen; I mean that’s the thing, that’s why he was crying and told me he had always been told pretty much to do the wrong thing. Pretty much like, do what you can to win or to earn or to gain, you know what I mean? DK: So it wasn’t like Michael Jackson was just it, it was his whole life how he had kind of been taught. MS:We were having an overall discussion about his life because he was going through it at school. He was going through it so we weren’t just talking about the Michael situation, we were talking about him, because he was really upset, and it just came down to what was happening with Michael. You know, “why would you do that?” “I’ve always been told to do that”. Well, it makes sense. DK:Yeah, that makes a lot of sense. Was this 2003, when all of these…because the allegations came out shortly after all of the things, like with the DCFS ….(and) all that? MS: Yeah, I was 13 in 2003, so yeah that makes perfect sense for sure. DK:So when he first came to school, at that point when he was a new kid and you befriended him, he was still…was he in remission from cancer or was he still….? MS:He had, like I don’t know too much about cancer. I’ve had him as a friend and he was well. I wouldn’t have known he had cancer, at all. And I did have another friend die of cancer, but other than her, who just had it and could not get rid of it was too bad and it was brain cancer, but with him, he showed me scars when I first met him, like to try to impress me. Like he’s a very, very cute kid, a very cute kid. Very smiley, very bubbly, very fit for being so young, and like I had…I personally no problem being his friend. I thought he was cute, you know? And so when I first met him one of the first things he did was lift up his shirt to me and show me. All he said…he didn’t tell me about having cancer when I first met him. He just lifted up his shirt and said, “Oh, yeah, I have this cool scar, like it’s from surgery, gnarly, huh?” Like trying to be cool and show me the scar. So that’s when I first met him. He had already like gone through it. DK:At that point then he didn’t know Michael? MS:You know, to be completely honest I don’t know. I feel like because of, well, going on, that maybe after the interview he opened up about it because there had to have been you know what I mean, some sort of communication between them after the foundation because he was a Make-a-Wish kid. So that’s how that happened. I know that, that’s how that happened and there had to have been something there but he wasn’t…it was almost like, you know, around the time that the interview would have happened and all of that would have happened where he was in his home and all that stuff, was when he was coming in and out of school and coming and going for long periods of time. Like he would just disappear, and then come back to school with stuff and then disappear. DK:Oh, so that would happen on and off…he would be gone from school for a while and come back, leave again, and come back? MS: Yeah, but when he first came to that school he didn’t seem like he was like talking celebrities or doing anything like that, from what I gathered anyway. But he also was starting off with somewhere completely new, and he did have a very, like I said, a bubbly personality, but some people found it like too much. Some people were like, “he’s annoying,” like “the new kid is annoying” or whatever, and that kind of thing. So that could have been the reason why he didn’t talk about it (Michael Jackson, celebrities). But then he used it like all of a sudden to gain like public respect within the middle school. DK:Okay, and then he…I’m trying to remember what you had just told me…so when he came back to the school and then he started talking about Michael, and showing off all of his new things, was that right after the Bashir Documentary? Or did that happen first and then the Bashir Documentary? MS:That happened first and then the documentary hit VH1 right in the thick of him doing that. DK:Okay, Okay. And that’s when everybody sort of distanced themselves from him? MS: Some people were like…”eeew…gross”. You also have to keep in mind that they were like, we were in 7th grade at the time and there were 8th graders that were about to go into high school. There were some big kids that were not necessarily immature, but immature in their ignorance for certain things, and would lash out at about what was on the television with him because there was a lot of like, “you’re gay” or “you’re a fag” or you’re this or you’re that,” within the school. DK:Okay, yeah, so that would obviously traumatize him at the same time MS:Exactly…and during his little show off phase, him and I didn’t speak very much. I just kind of witnessed it from afar, because I didn’t want to be involved. But then that’s why he opened up to me when I came up to him after people called him those horrible things. DK:Okay, okay, and then from the time when he came as a new kid in the 7th grade and then from that time until the first time he sort of just disappeared and nobody knew what happened, can you remember like how long he was in the classroom? How long he had been in your class before all of a sudden he disappeared, because he came in new and all of a sudden was gone? At some point… I know, it was a long time ago. MS:Yeah, I know. You know, honestly, you know it’s really funny because I remember Gavin specifically as a person, but his time at John Burrows in general was such a flash. Like he came in and I specifically remember details being in a class with him and stuff about his beginning. I’m not sure if he even took one test. It seemed like with how quickly everything happened and then he was just gone and there was no way to get like, it was like he fell off the planet. And I stopped talking to him after he was ripped out of the school. So this all happened within the same semester of the school year. It wasn’t necessarily the entire year. DK:So it was very quick? MS:It was very quick. DK:And no one really knows why he was ripped out of the school the first time or any of the other times? It just happened and then he would come back? MS:Yeah, I have no idea why he came to John Burrows. I have no idea what happened previous to John Burrows, but my only connection to him leaving John Burrows is the paparazzi-like fiasco that was outside of John Burrows waiting for him to get out of school at some point (during the time) when the documentary came out. DK:So prior to that, when he was sort of putting it out there that “hey, I’m hanging out with Michael Jackson, look what I got” and all that, how did……were the kids then responding? Were they excited that he knew Michael Jackson? Did it work for him as far as the popularity? MS:Yes. Yeah. He and I would have lunch together all the time because I was one of the only people that, not necessarily the only person that was willing to talk to him. There were friends of mine that liked him. He wasn’t a complete and utter outcast; it’s not like the movies where there is that kid that everybody hates. It’s not like that, but you know, I mean he started off, not with a bang. You know what I mean? And he used that completely (telling others that he knew Michael Jackson and showing off the stuff that he had been given) and he stopped having lunch with me and meeting me after things, and things we were involved in and doing as friends, he stopped doing to go out into a whole other part of the field and tell other people about this and like hang out with them. That’s exactly why we lost slight touch in that way. We still had class together and things like that but I kind of just, was a little put off by him. He asked if I was okay, because he now was talking to people in our class that earlier had not liked him. DK:So a lot of it had to do with him sort of exploiting how he knew Michael and …… MS:Exactly
Again, he personally told me that IT DIDN’T HAPPEN. But from what he did and again the happiness and… obviously from how he was acting at school (talking about how) he was hanging out (with Michael), getting things, having fun, and that’s exactly what he was portraying and that’s exactly what he was using to gain popularity..... it just all boiled down to, “WHAT?” The two don’t connect.
DK:Okay. So then the documentary came out. Obviously then he became very unpopular again quickly and was being made fun of and then did your classmates also begin to get a feel that, you know, he’s lying about…once the allegations came out against Michael. Was there pretty much a knowing in the school that going by his past behavior that he was lying? MS:Exactly. That’s kind of what we all gathered. Again, he personally told me that IT DIDN’T HAPPEN. But from what he did and again the happiness and… obviously from how he was acting at school he was hanging out (with Michael), getting things, having fun, and that’s exactly what he was portraying and that’s exactly what he was using to gain popularity. That’s exactly what was happening, that’s what we all thought would happen previous to the allegations. But then (the) allegations came out and everyone at my school, it was just THE topic of discussion for a while with him not present. Just “What a liar, and what a this and what a that.” Whatever the kids had to say you know it just all boiled down to, “WHAT?” The two don’t connect. DK:Because you had been in school with him and you had seen how he behaved….and did any of the press or paparazzi or anything, try to talk to you students or anybody in school after these allegations came out? Or were they pretty much prevented from that? MS:They were kind of prevented from that pretty much. The school I attended did have like yard enforcement that would come out and dictate traffic for the kids being picked up. So they did help with that and he was ripped out of school almost immediately after that, so that was a very quick little thing that the media tried to do and then didn’t really get too far. I personally did not talk to any sort of reporter or anything. DK:I was curious if they would start to come after kids that had gone to school with him to try… MS:They did. They did try, but it was kind of unsuccessful. DK:Yeah. Okay. Which is kind of a good thing because at that age they shouldn’t be talking to the kids anyways, you know, even though you guys had, obviously good information that shown a light on Gavin’s character and what had really happened. You guys were still pretty young at that age. So I imagine then obviously it was shocking then once you heard the allegations and then you can’t…then…you know the truth but then you can’t do anything about it. MS:Yeah. Well I immediately just had, you know, I don’t know, I just had a sick feeling in my stomach in terms of the… just knowing from the other side. It was knowing something from… you know it’s something… to me it’s equivalent of today’s court system. There’s certain evidence that’s thrown out specifically because it proves certain things. There’s certain jurors that can’t, you know, they can’t know anything because if they did, they could, you know, prove the truth. Like there are certain things that people know on the other side and they could only watch and see what unfolds, like in court. And that’s exactly how I felt. Personally I’m in love with Michael. I personally have a tattoo dedicated to Michael Jackson. My favorite song of Michael Jackson’s is, “Give In To Me”. It’s not necessarily a hit of his you know, it’s not “Black or White” or “Remember The Time” or anything like that, but I love that song, and I have it tattooed on my foot. So I loved Michael Jackson before any of this happened. I did think it was cool that he (Gavin) had met Michael and stuff like that. I was like, “dang that’s awesome, you know him” but I have such a love of Michael Jackson as a person, not as an object and not as a thing. So I think looking at a celebrity as not human and as an object can easily spring forward into using them and getting anything you can out of them because you no longer see them as a human and that’s what people started doing with Michael. DK:Right. You’re exactly right. MS:And so I immediately, I just had horrible thoughts about a child, pretty much. Someone my age being able to do something so horrible. Like I feel like he knew, he had to have known. Like, the tears showed that he knew. You know what I mean? Like there also was, to me, there was obvious guilt. But there should have been. Even though you know, kids are kids. But I think anybody can say that they can tell right from wrong at 13 in terms of how you treat a person. So there really is no excuse in my eyes. And I used to treat him with respect when he came to our school and yet he couldn’t do the same for someone who was doing so much more for him. DK:That’s a very good point and that’s one of the things I always….and maybe with your background too, with your Mom and all of that, you have a little bit of a different perspective. With me, one of the things I’ve done is entertainment writing, so I interviewed different celebrities and that, and I think that when you’re around it a little bit more you do understand they’re just people. You see it differently than, you know, like you said, when people start seeing celebrities as objects they start to ummm…. they don’t think of them as human anymore. They make them out to be whatever they want or they feel they can take advantage or use them for selfish reasons. So that’s true. MS:Exactly…with my parents, you know, with my dad owning recording studios, and my mom being co-owner of that and a songwriter, as a child, as a little, little kid, I would see celebrities who I did not know. I was like 5, I did not know who I was talking to. I didn’t care. I would go up to people in the studio when I was visiting with my mom. When my dad was working my mom wanted to see him and she’d have me and I’d run a little amuck in the studio. I’d go up to celebrities all the time and just say like, “Hi I’m Skip Saylor’s daughter. What’s your name?” Stuff like that, and they’d be like, “your daughter’s too cute.” So that was happening a lot for me as a kid and then yes I definitely very early on you know at 10 years old understood the difference between you know, yeah, there’s a celebrity, but that doesn’t make them not human. That doesn’t make them not a person. They’re just as human as the rest of us. And as much of a “duh statement” that seems like…. So many people forget that. DK:No, you’re absolutely right and it helps, like you said, you have first-hand experience with that and that makes a difference. Because I think people do tend to idolize them or put them in some type of different category, and with the site that’s another aspect that’s become very strong to me. I had wanted to interview Michael for like 20 years, but I did not get into entertainment writing except for the last couple years and I was actually starting to make a mental list of my contacts when I heard that the “02” shows were announced, because I thought maybe this is my opportunity to tell his story the right way. And then obviously a few weeks later we heard that he’d passed. So yeah.... sorry, I didn’t mean to get off course here, but I understand where you’re coming from and everything you’ve sharing is really important. One other quick question was; Did you ever attend any of the trial? MS:You know, I did not. Most of the faculty, meaning the parents and the PTA and all of the little communities around our school kind of stayed away from everything that had happened because it was such a flash at our school. You know, with him coming in, and not being like a regular student for a few years, and just the nature of it. Everyone at John Burrows kind of stayed away from it…. the trial…. and I was really young and thinking about other things, but I was just personally, so disgusted by it almost, that I kind of wanted to forget about it. And so I put what I kept with me to be able to tell at least a small version of what had happened. I tried my best to forget about Gavin and like his brother Star and like all the good times I kind of had because it was over and that’s where it needed to stay. You know that chapter needed to stay closed, for me anyway, because I did ultimately feel like I had gone out of my way for someone who didn’t deserve it. It was the same thing that happened to Michael on the most minimal scale ever. You know it was like he had done to me, kind of just leeched off of my friendship…. did he care, you know, whatever…. on such a grand, huger…huger not being a word…on such a grand big scale, doing that exact same thing to Michael in terms of just stepping all over him as a human for his kindness and not caring about the consequences that hurt other people. It did hurt me to lose a friend. That’s what I felt had happened. DK:Sure, then to see what he ultimately did, you had to feel pretty deceived. MS:I did, I did, and because I had said like “I love Michael”. You know, when he first came back, I was one of the first people that he showed his stuff to, at first. So I was like, “I love Michael, that’s awesome. Blah blah blah blah blah.” I have just been in love with Michael Jackson and music in general, because of my parents, since I was a young un. So just hearing that from a friend. So here’s the thing. I didn’t want to like tell Gavin to let me meet Michael. I just wanted to hear about how he is as a person. Is he cool, is he quiet, is he like, is he random or is he like more laid back? Does he just come up with grand adventures or is he more like what do you guys want to do? Like what’s going on…. I want to hear that, you know. But ultimately that wasn’t enough for Gavin just like telling his friends at school, it had to go so much more than that, he had to gain so much more than that for some reason. People are selfish and they’ll take and take and take and one day they’ll realize they took so much that there’s nothing else to even have, in terms of meaningful things, like relationships and people they burn bridges with and things like that to get there. DK:Yes, that’s very true. You have a lot of wisdom for a 21-year-old! MS:Well, I mean I witnessed things like that at 13!
DK: True. Yep.
MS: I witnessed the entire demolition of a beautiful celebrity, in my eyes someone whose talent was so great, so much everything I wanted to be, because I sang all throughout high school and I first sang when I was 7 years old. My first solo performance was at 7, and so I’ve always loved singing, and he’s a great inspiration to me, you know what I mean? To so many people in the world. It’s not like I’m having an original thought by saying that Michael Jackson is amazing, but I just, there’s so many mixed feelings about that whole situation. Things like that happening at 13 and witnessing something like that I had to grow up and realize that no matter how young or old somebody is, people use people. People are not always good. You have to be trusting, treat everyone equally, but protect yourself as well because anything can happen. The more you gain as a person and the more you accumulate and the more you work for, the more you have to offer other people that don’t want to work for it and take it from you.
DK:That’s it exactly. Yeah. I’m grateful for all that you’ve shared here because I think it’s going to be really important (for people to) find out as much as I can and try to understand him and try to understand everything that happened to him, and even now I think this is important because with the trial coming up of Dr. Murray you’re going to have a lot of garbage that comes out, where they’re already trying to do that. They’re trying to say different things about how he died or this and that, and they’re going to bring up, at least what I believe what they’ll do, they’ll dig up a lot of past things to try to create in the publics’ mind a certain character to try to make Michael responsible. Put him on trial again. So this is important for people to know what really happened so I’m grateful. Thank you for sharing this with me. Was there anything else that I didn’t ask you that you wanted to add to what you’ve already shared? MS:No, I definitely think we’ve covered all the bases. I also think that it’s really important for someone like me to share what I’m sharing, because it is the truth. Like that’s the point. The point is to get the truth out there. The thing is the reason why you say and why we all know that is what’s going to happen…they’re going to put Michael in a bad light, is simply because he’s dead. No one cares. The legal system’s not going to care. He’s passed, he is gone. If they put the responsibility on Michael, it’s over and they can move on with life. That’s how people are as well. Again, cold hearted sometimes.
There’s the truth and then there’s convenience, and most people go toward convenience or luxury and all of that great stuff. But sometimes the truth is worth upholding when it’s that serious. Like destroying… it doesn’t matter if it’s Michael Jackson or Obama or not a celebrity. Demolishing someone’s entire life, who they were, what they were in their life, to such a negative level as a child molester, is wrong, unless it is true. Wrong. That is wrong. That is so wrong. That’s another thing…saying someone’s a racist when they’re not. Saying anything like that. Sullying someone’s name, especially someone that did so much for pop culture and people around the world. That’s ridiculous. So beyond ridiculous. There’s no reason for it. That’s why they need to know the truth.
DK:You’re absolutely right. His whole life was affected by that. Unfortunately, there’s still a whole percentage of the public that still believe that he did this, because they don’t know the facts. MS:I have friends that I’ve convinced. (DK: You knew Gavin first-hand, yeah). There have been plenty of times when I’ve been at a party and somebody says a Michael joke and I speak up, and I’m like “no”. I don’t get mad, because honestly, it’s not something I need to get angry about, but it’s something, if I hear that, then it’s letting someone lie. I don’t need to let someone to lie to a bunch of my other friends on something that I know the truth about. There’s no reason. DK:Good for you, because it’s important to stand up for that because then it stops it. It stops it right there so well, like I said, this was…I really appreciate this and know that the fans are really going to appreciate it because it’s another story coming out that’s saying, no he didn’t do this. You were there and you knew Gavin, you knew what the situation was, so to me it’s another important piece of the puzzle that needs to fit into the truth. Hopefully the more and more people get exposed to this, people will realize how much they were lied to and they believed a lot of false claims simply because they listened to whatever was on the T.V. or, the radio or newspaper, and just believed it, blindly, without any facts to back it up. MS:Exactly DK:Well, thank you so much Marcy. I appreciate this. MS:No problem, happy to do it! DK:Thank you!!