Michael Jackson Verdict: Joyous Reaction Outside LA Court Feels Distant For Some UK Fans

08/11/2011 12:02 GMT | Updated 08/01/2012 10:12 GMT

The intensely joyous reaction from some Michael Jackson fans in Los Angeles after Dr Conrad Murray was found guilty of the star's involuntary manslaughter has left some feeling uneasy.

The celebration on the streets of LA clearly reflects the passion many felt about the star, and may also reflect the validation felt by those who said Jackson would never take his own life.

In the UK, however, the decision has elicited perhaps more complex emotions from the King of Pop's passionate fan base.

Matt Blank, who is the head of the Michael Jackson World Network, the UK's largest Jackson fanclub, is one of those.

"Because of the negligent way in which Conrad Murray acted it's not only friends and fans that are without their idol but three children who are without their father," Blank told The Huffington Post UK.

"It's a tragic thing. You hear all these people celebrating and I can't really muster that up inside of me."

Blank added that while Murray shared some of the blame for Jackson's death, there were others surrounding the star who could have stepped in but didn't.

Huffington Post UK spoke to Blank to get his full reaction to the verdict:


HuffPost: Were you surprised that Doctor Conrad Murray was found guilty of the involuntary manslaughter of Michael Jackson?

Matt Blank: No I wasn't surprised, it was something that we all expected, and hoped for as well. Throughout the whole case it was quite clear that he was going to be found guilty. The defence had a very weak argument in theory - and that's all it was, a theory - while the prosecution brought forward strong evidence and I don't think there was any time that you thought the jury were going to be on the fence. It was always quite clearly a guilty verdict.

What does this verdict mean for Michael Jackson fans? How did you react?

When I heard it I was initially really happy, a big smile came on my face and I felt justice had been done. But then very quickly I felt very sad, because of the tragedy of it all. Because now we know, proven in a court of law, that this was a human error and something that could have been avoided. Because of the negligent way in which Conrad Murray acted it's not only friends and fans that are without their idol, but three children who are without their father. It's a tragic thing. You hear all these people celebrating and I can't really muster that up inside of me.

Do you think that the reaction of some fans cheering outside the courtroom does them a discredit?

Michael Jackson appealed to so many people that the demographic is huge and therefore there will be people like me who want to take this personally and just think about it, and there will be people that want to celebrate it. And I can understand both points of view.

A lot of people wronged Michael jackson in life, some of it has been proven in court and some of it hasn't. He's been victimised a lot, and Conrad Murray was obviously the pinnacle of that. When he goes down, as it were, I can understand why some people want to cheer.

Do you think Michael Jackson does bear some responsibility for his own death?

I don't think that he's necessarily to blame, and I'm not saying that because I'm a biased fan. I think this isn't an Amy Winehouse, Pete Doherty or Whitney Houston taking cocaine, this is prescription medication on which a doctor misadvised him totally. So on that note I can't fully blame Conrad Murray.

He was the unfortunate one that this happened to. But there have been a string of doctors down the line that said this is the way to deal with your insomnia or physical pain, and have thrown copious amounts of prescription medication towards him to the point where this is all he understood.

And as the the trial demonstrated, Michael Jackson was a troubled man who relied on a lot of people to tell him the truth.

He was incredibly trusting. He really shouldn't have been because so many people were just there for the money. That's been proven time and again. When you're being paid astronomical amounts of money as Conrad Murray was there's a sense in which if you say 'no', you're going to be fired. Because Michael wanted to surround himself with 'yes' people. He needed people to say 'sorry, I'm not going to do that'. Sadly they were the ones who weren't working for him at the end - for that very reason.

How long will it be before this trial and his other scandals recede into the background and Michael Jackson is remembered again for his music?

I don't think it will be that long. With every future generation that comes in they're only going to know the music.