Michael Jackson’s Bodyguards
By Harlan (Hucky) Austin
Three of Michael Jackson’s Bodyguards hiding behind a shroud of decency, claiming that their intentions are noble, Michael Jackson’s bodyguards are the latest to tell-all on their celebrity principals. In an interview with Good Morning America, three of Michael Jackson’s bodyguards spoke openly about his children, family routines, his parenting, and they even spoke about his sexuality in a veiled attempt to bring honor to the pop star’s tarnished reputation.
Showing little regard for the Jackson family’s reasonable expectation of privacy, Michael Jackson’s bodyguards eagerly offered an inside glimpse into the private life of one of the world’s most public figures and the children he trusted them to protect.
The public veneer of any celebrity is an image they struggle to maintain while the camera rolls, but when they step into the closed quarters of their vehicles or their private residences it is, or at least should be, their opportunity to be themselves, whoever that “self” might be.
Bodyguards are part of a public figure’s inner circle. Bodyguards are by the nature of their profession brought into this inner circle by either contractual or an implicit understanding that what goes on behind the scenes is a sacred trust that is not to be broken.
Breaking this sacred trust complicates the job for all bodyguards because it compromises the very security they are expected to provide and causes clients everywhere to question how secure their secret lives really are from the prying eyes of the public. It causes them to question how safe it is to be themselves in the presence of the ones they pay to protect not only their lives but their public image.
Regardless of how noble the intentions may be, this is a line that ought never be crossed.
Recently Frank Gallagher, one of the true professionals in our industry wrote an article entitled, “Have we lost perspective.” Frank’s thought-provoking article is sure to create lively discussion within the EP industry and make people think long and hard about the ancillary duties they perform on a regular basis for clients.
The funny thing about climbing to the top of any industry, be it entertainment, business, or public service, is that it creates an inevitable isolation from the normalcy that most people live in. In fact, being a bodyguard to these individuals is far from normal.
This disconnect from the rest of the world can often create a sense of loneliness and isolation which can cause the protectee to draw closer to the bodyguard and create a familiarity that begins to expand boundaries in some unpredictable ways. In addition to the protectee becoming comfortable being themselves in the presence of the bodyguard they will often count on the bodyguard to do things that are at best, odd.
The premise behind Gallagher’s article is that bodyguards must erect a wall or draw a line in the sand which clearly defines what is and what is not the bodyguard’s responsibility. Gallagher further argues that those who continue to take on menial tasks like cooking breakfast and running errands expand the job description of the bodyguard and create unreasonable expectations for clients everywhere.
While it is difficult to argue with Gallagher’s logic and his vast experience in the field there are a few things to consider before staging a coup-de-gras with your client and defending your masculine honor.
First, Gallagher’s point should be well taken; your primary responsibility is to the safety of your protectee. Anything that compromises that main priority should be considered outside the scope of your duties. In other words, if you find yourself scrambling eggs for the kids while the chef accompanies your protectee outside the family compound, something is probably wrong and needs to be adjusted.
The fact is that your ancillary duties should never usurp your primary duties. However, remember that this is a tough job market and no matter where you look and no matter what industry you consider, everyone is being asked to do more with less.
Look at it like this, a police officer’s primary responsibility is law enforcement, but does that negate their need to occasionally perform duties that are more akin to a social worker or a civil engineer? An average security officer’s job often entails vestiges of customer service that were unheard of 10 years ago.
Even health care professionals are being asked to go beyond the traditional roles of practicing medicine and to understand holistic wellness which involves lifestyle, fitness, and prevention. The point is that whereas you cannot abandon your responsibility to protect your client, there is always a young, forward thinking individual who will do the things you might find beneath your dignity eagerly, professionally, and still protect the client’s well being.
Elain but just because they were his BG it doesn´t mean they would just put truthful stories…some of them can be little lies just for protect him…
First of all I am not a BG but what these 3 men did is absolutly disgusting.. I read above someone would like to know their background.. Well I would love to know their background as well.. I am currently writing a blog about these men and other MJ bodyguards as well.. I cannot understand why these men are doing what they are doing and to me it seems it’s all about money.. Sad but true..
Lighten up. There is no personal info or breaches of privacy in this book. The fans of Michael Jackson appreciate the fact that these men wish to share postive stories about the King Of Pop instead of the tabloid trashy lies that are currently out there. Michael Jackson was one of the greatest humanitarians ever and also the greatest entertainer. The fans would like to see stories that are not punctuated by lies and speculation for a change.
The 3 bodyguards were not employed by MJ at the time of his death. The book is not some cheap tell all. They have already said they will not disclose personal info, just anecdotes that fans will enjoy. Currently, they are having trouble getting the book published because it doesn’t contain any controversial material. Major publishers will only publish the gossip and lies that are associated with Michael.
I’m in agreement with all of the posted viewpoints and will add one more. Since when does EP not know how to perform CPR? Are there any more questions about professionalism?
There will always be those who get into this field for the wrong reasons and based on the wrong expectations. Maybe the best way to differentiate professionals from these clowns is to pursue excellence in our own careers. Good cops always deal with the perception that most cops are crooked, especially when a headline-making bonehead incedent is reported. However, the good cops win over critics by acting professionally. It’s PR and we are all responsible for our image.
There is no business relationship that involves a higher degree of trust and confidence than that of a professional bodyguard and the client, alive or deceased.
Professional bodyguards honorably and faithfully keep the things that their clients do or say in strict confidence; this includes negative and positive observations and comments made by their clients. Professional bodyguards should play by the rules and the game calls for honor, loyalty and respect.
These bodyguards are violating the unwritten code of professional conduct and making the professionals in the business all look bad and give us a bad rep!
Omertà (the code of silence) applies to your clients living or dead, whatever happen to loyalty and solidarity in our business? Keep Safe and God Speed. Doc Rogers
It is a sad day when those who choose to serve as protectors dishonour the code. I agree, we took an unwritten oath not to reveil what clients do, protecting their privacy for all time. Meaning we take it to the grave… Peace, and be safe.
I have sat here and read most of everyone’s comment and I concur.
everyone here is right,i was with my client when we got the news,men you need to see the look on his face.i hope this won,t effect my job.
Loyalty, discipline and humility are the three biggest attributes I look for in an agent. From my point of view MJ’s former bodyguards compromised those first two points big time. What I saw was a vale attempt to pretend to protect his honor, as they attempted to position their upcoming book. Where is the loyalty and discipline, if you are protecting the confidentiality from the working relationship there is no content for the book.
Tammy, I’m not sure what your background is with regard to executive protection. But from your comments, it appears to me that your understanding of the EP industry at best is limited. There are several principles that govern our industry; client confidentiality is very high on the list. I am not even going to get into a discussion about what their true intentions were, simply because it’s irrelevant. But what I will say is, dead or alive, all true professionals in this industry have an obligation to never ever share information about their client. No matter what the circumstances are!
This behaviour makes it harded for those of us who strive to unhold the ethicial and moral bases of trust – one of the corner stones of our craft.
I am upset and sadden by what these three individual have done! If anything good can come out their actions is that we can confirm and reaffirm for ourselves and if you have in your team rookie bodyguards, you can use and show them this as an example of what not to do.
unbelievable, well I guess they must like unemployment
IT looks like you have only posted “ONE” side of all your comments! Come on world…have aleast a SMALL amount of compassion for gosd sakes! There’s NO government security application being deployed hear!!!
This “IS” about men who protect and had a personal relation with Michael. Sometimes protecting isn’t just a license on the attourneys oppinionatted wall. Protect physically nmay also include things we don’t see – threats, slander,emotional & verbal abuse!! It’s GREAT that SOME HUMANS still have the COURAGE to step up to protect someones homor that has been EXPLOITED by those who don’t know!! Maybe we should take a “REAL” look at the honor our imcompassionate world, governments, and news media portrait and exploit untruthfully and harmsully! I hope none of you “NEED” someone close to you to TELL THE TRUTH in your honor! Good luck if you do!!!
COCO, I think the title for these guys is, BUDDYGUARDS
LOYALTY, HONOR, INTEGRITY AND COURAGE TO DEFEND EVERYTHING THAT THEY WERE HIRED TO PROTECT IS NOT PART OF THIER CHARACTER! IF IT WAS, WE WOULD NOT HEARD ONE WORD FROM THEM!
Hmm. This makes them look like some silly gossiping biddies. *rolls eyes upward*
As of now, I’m uniformed security for a semiconductor firm. Coming in, I already knew to keep it zipped before I got there because I practice that in my daily life. If ever I get the chance to do EP, I’ll be sure I’m well studied in this aspect.
Loose lips sink ships, right?
WOW….These dudes dont realize,thier client is dead because they failed to their jobs…your job is to PROTECT YOUR CLIENT….PERIOD.They should have been their when the DR was there watching over MICHAEL,instead of trying to find a publicist for their book deal…These were 3 glorified babysitters that called themselves BODYGUARDS….un-believable!!!!!!
IN THIS BUSINESS HAS A E/P IT IS VERY IMPORTANT TO KEEP YOUR MOUTH SHOUT WE ARE IN A POSTION OF TRUST. LETS KEEP IT THAT WAY .
I beleieve when you have a Very High Position like these three men had…you just don’t step across the line and expect everything to be good..Look in this case.
Good input from the top Pros,
Sgt. Bill Clason
High Risk Detail team
Awhile back I wrote an article called Celebrity Bodyguards need discretion. The main point of the article was, protection specialists need to have discretion. Discretion being the skill of keeping secrets, and not disclosing information to people who should not know. As I stated at the beginning of my article, with regard to these three individuals. They are hiding behind a shroud of decency, claiming that their intentions are noble. Rick, you are correct, the book title is (Dead Clients don’t pay By Leroy Thompson). Derick you are spot on, This line work requires some very specific character traits, honor being a key one. My guess is, like many other celebrity protectors that have shared information about their clients, these three individuals will have a tough time finding work in Hollywood again.
Don, I agree. And there in lies the difference between what the public sees as an untrained “Bodyguards” and a Personal Protection Specialist or other professionally trained close protection and executive protection professionals. And now we again have to row upstream against the tide against a heavy current thanks to these three knuckleheads..
You know what, ive seen the interview, and they come accross more like window dressing that MJ used for the “impression of being protrected”, rather then trained proffessionals. I’d love to know their backgrounds. Probably friends of a friend of a friend who refered them to MJ for work. Probably never worked professionally before. I could be wrong, but hey, thats how it looks.
I didn’t see the interview so I guess I am naive to their “intent”…what they wanted to achieve. When I heard that they’d be on a morning talk show, my thought was…
A long, long time ago, Leroy Thompson wrote a book called “Dead Clients Don’t Pay” (forgive me Mr. Thompson if I got the title wrong). My take-away from that book was that we have an obligation to protect those who pay us. Sometimes we don’t agree with their lifestyle, or even like their personalities…but we take the job and we are expected to be professionals. They count on us to keep them alive. And, in the end, we are judged by our results. In the Jackson case, the client died. I’m afraid that I’d fail to see any value in whining about my failures on prime-time TV. You can blame the doctor…his father…his “posse”…or each other, but it doesn’t change the fact that MJ’s security had a job to do, and the client is dead. Litigators will be passing this one around for the next ten years…but if I was his security guy, I wouldn’t want that on my resume. And, I sure wouldn’t want it on TV.
This line of work requires some very specific character traits, honor being one, and a bodyguards ability to safeguard a clients privacy is of the utmost importance. It seems these 3 gentlemen have proven they do not belong in this profession.
Jeffree Fauntleroy Sr.
Jeffree Fauntleroy Sr. They have put a black eye on the industry…
Miguel A Silva
You never open your mouth, EVER…then you wonder why its so hard to achieve the level of Trust with your VIP.
These folks should be black-listed by the community
I am professionally embarrassed.
Mr. Austin you hit the nail right on the head. Great article.
Whether or not one signs an NDA, there are certain expectations and standards within the industry… These three apparently have chosen to disregard thos standards. Hopefully, such actions will end their careers.
Unfortunately, these gentlemen will found future employment very challenging. They have chosen there 5 minutes of fame over the creed in protection of confidentiality.
Idiots is all I can say Huck.