I can hold these two thoughts in my head at the same time. Thought #1: I could never and would never be able to raise a child with a man whose culture was so wildly different than my own. I could never even be with a guy who felt strongly about his religion (whatever his religion was), and those concerns would be multiplied tenfold if I tried to raise a child with him. I know that about myself, and lo and behold, I never had a baby with a devout Muslim or Christian. I knew that about myself very early on, because that sh-t gets messy in a hurry. So I judge Janet Jackson for being 50 years old and NOT understanding that if anything went wrong between herself and Wissam Al Mana, that sh-t would get incredibly messy.
Thought #2: It’s also possible that Wissam Al Mana is a totally regular dude who just happens to be Muslim, and that Janet Jackson and her people are using his religion to score “points” in the media and paint Wissam as a terrible person who bashed her over the head with Islam. I don’t know, honestly. What I do know is that when Janet called the cops on Wissam when he was spending time with their son Eissa, everything sort of exploded with competing narratives about what was and is really going on. Police sources told TMZ that Janet “expressed she was worried Wissam was using drugs around her child.” Sources tell People Magazine that the call was part of a larger fight about how to raise Eissa. Other sources – Wissam sources – say Janet is being an a–hole and she’s just trying to get full custody. Some highlights from this lengthy People Magazine story:
Wissam & Janet have never agreed on how to raise their son: “Since their divorce, they are trying to raise their son together. Their cultural differences, that also ended their marriage, are tricky to work around though,” the Jackson family source explains. “They have very different ideas about how to raise Eissa. Janet has expressed frustration about this in the past. During their marriage, Janet worked hard on adapting to Wissam’s culture, but she found it challenging. She often found herself disappointed with Wissam. Now when they share custody, it’s very difficult for Janet that Wissam has a completely different parenting approach than she does.” The family source tells PEOPLE Jackson “couldn’t be a better mom. She is very attached to Eissa and feels worried about him when he isn’t with her. Eissa is her life.”
The drug story: Janet called the cops because she was concerned after their nanny grew “terrified” by Al Mana’s behavior and “locked herself in a bathroom, so she could contact Janet.” TMZ reported Jackson told police she was worried Al Mana may have been using drugs around their son. “The concern was that his erratic behavior was tied to that,” the second source told PEOPLE. However, the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s office told The Blast there “was zero suspicion of drugs being used,” and that the office was puzzled as to “why Jackson made the allegation.”
The nanny might have overreacted? The Blast later reported that the nanny was upset Al Mana refused to provide her with the hotel room’s WiFi password; a second source tells PEOPLE the nanny was “unable to do her job and stay in communication during an instance when it was very necessary.” A source close to the situation responds, “If this is about communication, why’d the cops get told a false story about drugs? WiFi is not needed to stay in communication. It’s shameful that the police were called. It’s 2018. Do we really need to be using public resources and first responders to deal with someone having a tantrum over WiFi?”
A source close to Wissam says Janet is always messing with his custodial time with Eissa. “Janet and her camp want Wissam to have zero part in his son’s life and would like nothing more than to relegate him to the role of sperm donor. They have been consistently making it difficult for him to see Eissa and therefore completely violating his parental rights. Now they’ve gone one step further and are dragging authorities into this, to their own detriment — the police flat-out told them that their claims were demonstrably false. The police could immediately tell and basically said to Janet and her people that they need to knock it off.”
Wissam hopes everything will die down: Jackson and her team “are going way too far but honestly at this point, it’s all blowing up in their face and only makes them look worse and worse,” the insider claims. “Wissam isn’t afraid or even angry — he’s just waiting for all the truth to come out and for sanity to prevail. Wissam has been more than cooperative in terms of visitation, even agreeing to use the same nanny that Janet uses when Eissa is with her, so as to minimize disruption,” the insider explains. “That does mean having someone with him who is on Ms. Jackson’s payroll, which many people would say is less than ideal and certainly complicates matters at times. But he’s willing to do whatever is necessary to be with his son.”
See what I mean? On one side, I do think the cultural differences were a driving factor in why Wissam and Janet split and I do think they probably disagree a lot about how to raise Eissa. But I also think there’s a lot of dog-whistle Islamophobia happening here, and that if Janet called the cops on Wissam and said that she suspected him of doing drugs and it was all about the WiFi password, then she’s the one with the issue.
Photos courtesy of Getty.