Jackson family will not charge for memorial; $25k gold-plated casket ordered

It’s been confirmed that Michael Jackson’s public memorial will take place this Tuesday, July 7, at the Staples Center in LA. 11,000 tickets are available, and will be offered to the public free of charge. This news comes after it was reported that tickets would cost $25 each to help cover the massive costs of providing security and hosting such a large event, which could run upwards of $2 million. Jackson’s parents declared bankruptcy ten years ago and he was 1/2 a billion in debt when he passed. His estate is estimated to be worth $200 million or more, but all that money is tied up in assets and it is likely to be years, perhaps a decade, before his family sees a dime. Given all his creditors and family members, the court battles over his estate are sure to be epic.

Someone seems to have agreed to foot the bill for his funeral costs, though, and the public will not be charged to attend. Radar Online reports that their initial story that tickets would cost $25 was accurate, and that the Jackson family planned to spring the news right before the funeral to avoid a backlash. The story was leaked, though, and they decided to make tickets free due to all the negative publicity over it:

After nearly a day of family members arguing, the Jackson family has dropped their plan to charge the public $25 to attend a memorial service for Michael Jackson at Staples Center.

RadarOnline.com broke the news of the family’s plan to charge the public and many fans were outraged. The family was not going to announce they were charging for several more days. Backed into a corner by the bad publicity, family members had heated closed door discussions and many arguments on Thursay. They blamed a close family associate for leaking the news and decided the only way they could save face with fans was to drop the plan to charge.

The family is in turmoil not over the memorial but also the will and how it will be administered by the executor, attorney John Branca. Randy, LaToya, Jermaine and Janet are pushing their mother Katherine to fight certain aspects of the will involving how the money will be distributed. Other family members want them to leave Katherine alone because they believe she is too fragile for a battle. A family meeting is planned for Friday.

[From Radar Online]

Many of you called it “tacky” when JayBird reported yesterday that tickets would cost $25 and that t-shirts made for his upcoming tour would be sold, although reader Lem said that “Micheal would [have] love[d] it,” which does seem true. In Touch reports this week that he once spent $6 million in a single shopping spree in Vegas in 2003, dropping all that cash on “marble chess sets and other gaudy art pieces.” He lived on a Peter Pan-themed estate with an exotic animal zoo, amusement park, fountains and statues.

The Barnum and Bailey circus was scheduled to run at the Staples Center on Tuesday, and as JayBird mentioned the “parade of elephants” was to take place through LA, but they’re delaying opening the circus in order to allow for Michael’s memorial. You wonder if they’ll incorporate the circus into his memorial. Even without the performing animals, the t-shirts, or paid tickets it will indeed be tacky. TMZ reports that a custom-made $25,000 bronze gold-plated casket with a blue velvet interior has been ordered for the body. He’ll be transported in a glass horse-drawn hearse, and I would bet that it’s an open casket as was done with James Brown’s public memorial at the Apollo. An over-the-top ceremony seems fitting for such a tragic superstar who wasted his fortune on chintzy things.

Pictures are of the memorial to Jackson at London’s o2 Arena, and of his abandoned ranch in late 2007. Credit: Fame Pictures

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6 Responses to “Jackson family will not charge for memorial; $25k gold-plated casket ordered”

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  1. CandyKay says:

    Katherine is “too fragile for a battle” over a will, but is supposedly strong enough to raise three young children. Hm.

    Team Debbie.

  2. Kevin says:

    Well if there wasn’t already enough motivation for a grave robbery, there sure is now with a gold (plated)casket.
    Laugh if you want but they had to hide Lincoln’s body after multiple attempts. Plus look at the economy.
    I’m putting my money on the elephant man’s descendants. Paybacks are a bitch!

  3. Zoe (The Other One) says:

    Good lord, that family is loaded – forget the parents – I’m sure Janet could dip into a tiny bit of her vast fortune to allow her brother’s fans to pay their respects free of charge.

    She has the class of the family. I heart me some Miss Janet.

  4. OXA says:

    The greedy family is not honoring Michael’s wishes and this just shows that there is a good reason he set up the Will and Trust the way he did.

  5. Jag says:

    Agreed, OXA. It’s very telling that they’re already gearing up the mother to contest parts of the will. I really hope that Michael had it set so that his wishes are carried out, and not the greedy family’s. I can’t believe they were going to charge for the memorial, and kudos go to the person who leaked it.

  6. Fetamy says:

    I am shocked that the family can really sold the tickets.