Robson’s Route to Changing His Story – Part 5

Wade goes into therapy

According to Robson’s court papers, after his nervous breakdown due to the “failed prophecy” of him becoming a film director of epic proportions, on May 16, 2011 he started cognitive therapy for about a month [1; paragraph 42] (in his November 17, 2017 blog post he says two months [2]). In his court papers he never mentions this, but on his blog he said that this was not the first therapy he went to. He mentions several therapists that he tried before that: “In crisis mode, I tried a few therapists and a psychiatrist” [2], he writes. Robson never made any claims of sexual abuse by Jackson to any of these therapists or the psychiatrist.

In her 2016 deposition, Wade’s mother Joy testified that soon after Wade’s first breakdown in 2011, she started feeling resentment and anger from Wade (“Well, it had been going on for quite a while, since he started having the problem with work” [3; page 242]). In the hindsight of Wade’s allegations, she now tries to attribute it to Wade’s alleged sexual abuse, but it does not make much sense, considering that Wade’s story is that he did not understand yet at the time that he was allegedly sexually abused. Indeed, Joy and Amanda’s guess for the reason at the time was that “perhaps, I [Joy] worked him too hard as a manager, that — that I had put pressure on him” [3; page 241]. As you will see later in this document, Wade had an ongoing crisis with work, career expectations, the pressure to achieve, and a lot of that pressure came from his mother – even if in the hindsight of his allegations Wade is now trying to use Jackson as the scapegoat for that. It also does not make sense for Wade to be angry with Joy for the alleged sexual abuse at the time, when during that period he was still seeking to work on Cirque du Soleil’s Michael Jackson show entitled ONE, and made praising comments about Jackson.[a]

Evidence showed that on May 21, 2011, so only five days after he started therapy, Wade wrote an e-mail to the director of the Cirque du Soleil show in which he stated: “I always wanted to do this MJ show, badly.” In the same e-mail about his failed attempt at directing the Step Up movie he wrote: “Look, the Directing gig didn’t work out. It was consuming me in an unhealthy way that I wasn’t ok with being a brand new father. Maybe it just wasn’t the right time. Maybe I just wasn’t ready to direct a studio film.” [4; page 199-201]

Cirque du Soleil told Wade that he needed to be validated by Michael Jackson’s Estate, so Wade met with John Branca, the executor of the Michael Jackson Estate, in Branca’s Los Angeles office where they discussed Wade’s ambition to be involved in the project. According to Branca’s deposition in October 2017, it was Wade who called them and asked to meet him [6; page 24], which is not disputed by Wade.[b]

In July 2011 Wade returned to work “with his former sense of invincibility”, as he put it in his court papers [1; paragraph 43]. In his blog post on November 17, 2017 he claims:

“I saw [the cognitive therapist] for about two months, skimmed over my past, learned some mental techniques, stitched myself back up and got back to what I knew best, WORK: my long practiced technique for burrying (sic) my anxiety, pain and sadness. A technique I learned from my childhood idol and mentor, Michael Jackson.” [2]

(Emphasis in original.)

In his deposition he said about the same period:

“That — all I knew to do was — all I learned from Michael was all I knew to do was get back to work so I figured that’s what I had to do.” [4; page 200]

There seems to be a zeal in Wade’s new story to blame everything negative in his life on Michael Jackson. From his failure as a movie director and inability to come to grips with the failure of a childhood “prophecy” to his workaholism. Meanwhile there is hardly any mention of his mother, Joy Robson in his story, and if there is then only as a distant, passive bystander. The mother, who, among other things, proudly declared in a 2011 podcast interview that she made sure that Wade and his sister Chantal always worked as children.

“We didn’t work with [Jackson] a lot. […] I realized very early on that if we were gonna make it here it is gonna be up to me. I couldn’t really rely… Michael had a… he lived in a bubble and had a different reality to ours. I was the one who had to find agents and, you know, [Wade] started acting and he didn’t dance a lot. He actually decided at the age of 10 that he didn’t want to work as a dancer. He didn’t like the way they were paid, he didn’t like the way they were treated.”

[…]

[Wade and Chantal] have always been busy and I think boredom breeds trouble. […] My kids worked every weekend, every school vacation, their birthday parties were backstage, their Christmas parties were backstage. No regrets.” [7]

[Emphasis added.]

In an article about the Robsons from 1995, we learn:

“Joy said Wade and daughter Chantal developed an American accent almost immediately. As a result, Wade was doing three or four auditions between 3-7 pm each day. While Wade worked hard, attending audition after audition, learning lines, practising and rehearsing his dance movements, so too did Joy – his greatest supporter. The two are almost inseparable and make career decisions together.

[…]

While Wade is the on-stage talent, Joy is his mentor, protector and confidante. She handles everything from make-up, wardrobe and music to securing a deal with some of the big names of the American entertainment scene.

[…]

Three years since their arrival on American soil, the Robson family are heavily entrenched in the entertainment scene. It is a tribute to Joy’s courage, persistence and belief in her son’s ability, and their fortitude to stand up for what they believe is right. They could easily have repacked their six bags and returned home to Australia, but they – as a team – decided to stay and help a friend in need, while at the same time defy the odds and pursue their own goals in their own way.” [8]

(Emphasis added.)

Also from the 1995 article (as well as from the Robsons’ testimonies in 2005 or Joy Robson’s deposition in 2016) we learn that Jackson was actually hardly present in their life at the time.

“The first 18 months in LA was really tough going. We had taken six suitcases and little money and knew no-one in LA, only Michael who spent much of the time away.” [8]

(Emphasis added.)

From the 2011 interview and the 1995 article it is clear that Joy was a very ambitious stage mom who made her kids work overtime from an early age, and who was really the driving force behind her kids’ careers and strict working schedule. According to Joy, Wade himself also expressed the wish to be in the entertainment business since the age of 5 – so well before Jackson’s alleged “mental manipulation” of him. [3; page 114]

Meanwhile Jackson, due to his own, much publicized “lost childhood”, is known for his principle of letting children have their childhood. In actuality, in her 2016 deposition during a rant against Jackson, Joy made mention of the fact that Jackson used to call and beg her to let Wade have his childhood: “And to think that this man who used to call me and ask — and beg me not to make Wade work all the time, to let him have his childhood, what a hypocrite.” [3; page 245]. (Joy calls Jackson “a hypocrite” here for the alleged molestation of her son, simply taking her son’s current allegations at face value. Of course, if Wade’s sexual abuse story is not true then there is no hypocrisy in what Jackson told her, but a genuine compassion for a child who was overworked by his ambitious mother.)

Despite of clear evidence that it was Wade’s mother who made her children work so hard, in Wade’s new version of his life it is Jackson who is made out to be the scapegoat for his unhealthy work attitudes, his own and his mother’s professional or personal failures and even his father’s suicide in 2002.

Wade’s father suffered from bipolar disorder – ie. manic depression – and committed suicide in 2002. In his complaint Wade hints at his father committing suicide because of anxiety and fear that Jackson might have been sexually abusing Wade [1; paragraph 39], even though Wade’s own claim is that he never told or hinted to anyone until 2012 that he had allegedly been sexually abused. That includes his father, who did not even live with Wade, his sister and mother in the United States, but stayed back in Australia with Wade’s older brother.[c]

It has to be noted that mental illness seems to run in Robson’s family. Besides his father’s bipolar disorder, a male first cousin of Wade, also on his father’s side (son of his father’s sister), committed suicide in 2014 at the age of 30, due to depression.

About a year after his first breakdown, in March 2012, Wade suffered a second nervous breakdown. He went to a new therapist in April 2012 where he started an insight-oriented therapy. According to his story, about three weeks into the therapy, on May 8, 2012, he first made allegations of child sexual abuse by Michael Jackson to his therapist, or anyone at all.

According to his blog, what prompted Wade to “confess” to his therapist was a popular TED talk by Brené Brown about “The Power of Vulnerability” [9] that he was listening to on the way to his therapist. The talk is about “the courage to be imperfect”, to allow ourselves to be vulnerable and think that we do not have to be perfect to be worthy of love and connection. It also mentions how parents commit a mistake when they raise their children to be “perfect” and want “to make sure [they] make the tennis team by fifth grade any Yale by seventh”, which echoes Wade’s life who by the age of sixteen choreographed for international stars, such as Britney Spears. The lecture seems more related to Wade’s struggle with career expectations and his struggle to be “perfect” in his job from an early childhood than sexual abuse.

The therapist he went to, Dr. Larry Shaw, is a therapist whose focus is on people in high pressure jobs, whether in business or entertainment, and especially people who are in those jobs because of their family’s high expectations of them.

“The guys I’ve worked with recently have father issues, which means they had very powerful fathers, so there’s an aspect of living under the father’s shadow”, Dr. Shaw wrote in an article in 2015.“They’ve got this inner dialogue that’s really their father’s voice saying, “You’re not good enough.”

Everyone I’ve worked with, they all want to get out of the business. They’re at the top of their game and they’re miserable. One guy called it the golden handcuff. Another guy I worked with said when he was in Cannes, he was looking down on the red carpet and thinking, “I just feel so alone. Why am I here and why am I doing this? This has no meaning.” He left his hotel room, skipped some parties, walked to the top of a hill and looked out over the ocean. Then an old farmer came by with an apple, looked at him and cut off a piece of apple for him. He just went, “That’s what life is about, being able to be at peace, and all you need is an apple.” [10]

(Emphasis added.)

That feeling “not good enough” in his work was Wade’s real issue is echoed in a blog post that he published on December 22, 2017. There he writes in length about how his career achievements never made him happy and fulfilled because he never felt good enough in comparison to the things he set his sights on.

“Year after year, achievement after achievement, I swore my fulfillment and happiness were on the other side of each. But year after year, achievement after achievement, I could not find them. So again and again, I set my sights higher, believing that the achievements were just not large enough yet, and that was why I hadn’t found fulfillment and happiness. But on that quest, I never found them. On that quest, I eroded and eventually crumbled.

I knew for many years that people said all the time, “Success and money will not make you happy.” But that was really hard to believe until I myself had achieved multiple successes, fame, money and power and was still not happy. I actually became more depressed, the more success I achieved because time after time, the expectation of fulfillment and happiness was not met. It felt like climbing a mountain and every time I looked up to the summit, it had moved further out of my reach. Nothing was ever enough.

The crumbling forced me to question all that I believed to be true. What if there was no achievement or bundle of achievements that could ever make me happy? What then would be the purpose of work? What then would be the purpose of life?” [11]

(Emphasis added.)

In another blog post from April, 21, 2018, he reveals that he lost his fun in dancing and music when his career got to a level where a high pressure to achieve and succeed started accompanying those activities, from when he was about 19 of age, so around the early 2000s. He wrote about that period of his life:

“More and more pressure and expectation builds in my career. My love affair with dance: on the rocks. Fun is slipping away. Stakes are high.

[…]

Writing and producing music continues. I get a big music publishing deal. Pressure feels stronger than ever to deliver. Fun is slipping away and taking productivity with it.

20 years old, MTV’s “The Wade Robson Project.” Dance is back in my life. Some moments of fun but ultimately stained by the superficial desire for fame.

21 years old, I quit dance again to focus on Film Directing. Love/Hate relationship continues.

23 years old, join the second season of So You Think You Can Dance. Feeling experimental + playful. First piece out the gate wins an Emmy. Gift/Curse.

5 year resurgence of choreography career. Another Emmy. Music creation here and there. Music and movement interest expansion. Starts out fun. Pressure builds. Less and less play. Career peaking. Anxiety peeking.” [13]

These pressures to achieve and succeed then lead to his nervous breakdowns. In yet another blog post, published on January 26, 2018, Wade writes this about the reasons for those breakdowns:

“In my classes, I talk about my story of external success and all of the pressure and stress that came along with that. About my fruitless search for happiness and fulfillment via my external achievements. About how I was educated out of play and learned to be devastatingly serious. And how all of  this led to complete breakdowns and the (temporary) destruction of my relationship with my gifts.

[…]

From my personal experience and what I have seen, as a society, we seem to be implanting these messages in people at a younger and younger age and the effect is heartbreaking. Often from the benevolent intention of wanting our children to have a “successful” life, we tend to fill their young lives with incessant activities and grand expectations all designed to “improve” them and give them the upper hand on the so called “competition.” Through this indoctrination our children learn things like, “If I’m not busy and stressed, I’m lazy and unworthy,” “If I’m not the best, I’m nobody at all,” and “Never be satisfied, always strive for more.” Not much room for wonder, inspiration, experimentation, and play in there and therefore, I believe, not much room for happiness and fulfillment.

[…]

When our children learn to always be busy and stressed, they learn to miss the universal guidance and inspiration that is all around us, all the time.” [12]

This contradicts the narrative that the reason for his breakdowns was his realization of alleged sexual abuse by Jackson and that show business suddenly was associated with sexual abuse for him because of that. Here he is telling a completely different story: the reason of his breakdowns was the pressure to achieve and to be perfect in his job and succeed, and him crumbling under that pressure.

Moreover, he is trying to shift the blame for his unhealthy work attitudes on Jackson, even though the “indoctrination” that he is complaining about in the above quoted blog posts actually echo his mother.

Wade Robson: “[H]ow I was educated out of play and learned to be devastatingly seriousor If I’m not busy and stressed, I’m lazy and unworthy or “When our children learn to always be busy and stressed, they learn to miss the universal guidance and inspiration that is all around us, all the time” [12] orall I learned from Michael was all I knew to do was get back to work so I figured that’s what I had to do.” [4; page 200]

Joy Robson: [Wade and Chantal] have always been busy and I think boredom breeds trouble. […] My kids worked every weekend, every school vacation, their birthday parties were backstage, their Christmas parties were backstage. No regrets.” [7]

Meanwhile, as Joy Robson testified, Jackson actually used to call me and ask — and beg me not to make Wade work all the time, to let him have his childhood” [3; page 245].

How does this story, which is clearly a story about a career crisis and a struggle with work expectations and pressures, then turn into a sexual abuse story?

As we have seen above, during the therapy sessions with Dr. Shaw, Wade was at a point of his life where he started questioning his relationship with work and chasing success and where he felt he could never achieve the kind of success he set his sights on and feel happy and fulfilled. Instead work put him under so much pressure that he crumbled under the expectations of it.

According Dr. Shaw’s 2015 article to walk away from that life and “being able to be at peace, and all you need is an apple”, but in reality to get out of the business, one needs a lot more than an apple, of course. You need stable, long-term finances to be able to do so. Especially if you are still young and have many years to live, a family to support, and a certain standard of living to maintain. A retirement in one’s 30s is costly.

Wade did not have those finances. In his deposition in 2016, Wade’s older brother Shane said that during his breakdowns Wade was worried about his ability to support his family and had financial concerns. Joy Robson also admitted in her deposition that regarding Wade’s finances “there was a concern, yes”. [3; page 218-219]

Add to that a threat by Wade’s wife, Amanda during that time, that she would leave him if he went back to work and could not get himself out of this cycle of breakdowns. Wade said about that in his 2016 deposition:

Wade Robson: And at some point in that breakdown, me, not doing well emotionally, having the thought and I guess expressing the thought that maybe, something in relation to the idea of me getting back to work again like I did the breakdown before. And my wife and our family had been through so much, was going through so much with these breakdowns, that, you know — I’m saying this speaks to [Amanda’s] reaction. The first breakdown, when I did that small amount of therapy with Dr. Cameron and then relatively quickly ended up getting back to work, seemed like I was all good, right, and then, within a year, right, or by March or whatever, in 2012, another breakdown happens, right.

So, then, post that, some point in that second breakdown something was expressed about, from me, about the idea of me going back to work, and based on what my wife had just been through the last time I went back to work and then here we are again in a breakdown, she was so stressed out, understandably, that she, you know, expressed something along the lines of, like, if you are going to do the same thing again, like, meaning not get to the bottom of and start healing what’s going on with you and just kind of go back to work, are we going to end up in this same sort of cyclical thing again.

And in tears and in extreme stress, you know, she expressed something along the lines like, “I don’t know if I can do that. If that’s what you’re going to do, not get healed, you know, not really work on yourself, I don’t know that we can keep going through that. I don’t know if I can keep, you know, Koa [their son], if I can stay around, if I can keep Koa around for that.

And, you know what, thank God she did that because that was — it scared the hell out of me. And so, that was one of the moments that really gave me even more of an impetus to, you know, jump all the way into, to healing, into therapy, and to, yeah, into healing.

Katherine Kleindienst: But did you take that as actual threat that she was going to leave you?

Wade Robson: A threat. I mean, yeah, that’s what it said. She said, you know, “If you ‘re going to do this again, if you’re going to go back to work and maybe we’re going to end up in this same sort of cyclical thing, I don’t know if I can stay around for that. [4; page 247-248]

So Wade needed to get away from the pressures of his show business career that he never found fulfilling, and he also needed finances to be able to do that. One cannot secure those finances by suing someone’s Estate or companies for a potentially multimillion-dollar award due to a failed “prophecy” or for crumbling under the pressures and expectations of a job that was supposedly “prophesied” to him as a child. However, one can sue and hope for the kind of money that would set him for life, if he starts alleging childhood sexual abuse. That could also result in a potentially lucrative book deal and other forms of income, since the accused is an internationally known celebrity.

There would also be a benefit in scapegoating someone else for one’s professional and personal problems and failures. With the claim of sexual abuse Wade is suddenly seen as a “victim”, not as someone who failed in his profession and failed as the family breadwinner. The blame is shifted on someone else. Amanda surely would not leave him then.

Moreover, as Wade himself said in a note that he wrote and that was presented during his 2016 deposition: “My story of abuse and its effects will make me relatable/relevant.” When asked what he meant by that, he said he contemplated a career as a Vedic meditation teacher and he thought potential clients who went through childhood trauma would find someone with a similar story more relatable. The same notes also contain a sentence saying: “It’s time for me to get mine!” When asked what he meant by that Wade said he did not know. [4; page 250-252].

The previous  chapter: A failed prophecy

Next chapter: Strange visualizations

 

Footnotes:

[a] Interestingly, after his alleged “realization” of sexual abuse on May 8, 2012, it was not Wade, but his wife Amanda, who seemed to have a more stressful relationship with Joy for allegedly “facilitating” the abuse. Amanda would not talk to Joy for five months after Wade told her that he was allegedly sexually abused, and Joy had to meet Wade and her grandson outside their house during that period to avoid Amanda [3; page 242-243]. Wade claimed in his own deposition that he too was estranged from his mother during that time and hand anger and resentment towards her for his alleged sexual abuse that was not resolved until November 2012 [4; page 122-123], but they actually had exchanged a lot of e-mails during that time period (May-November 2012) as Wade was constructing his story [5]. In those e-mails there is not any sign of distress between Wade and Joy, only between Amanda and Joy. In actuality, in an e-mail dated July 23, 2012 Wade writes to his mother: “Hey Mom, It was good to be all together. As far as Amanda and you. I believe it will heal in time, but that time table is up to her and you.” Joy too mentions Amanda “struggling with our relationship”, but there is no mention of any distress between Wade and Joy [5, page 7-8]. In actuality, during his deposition Wade gave a pass to his mother as a “victim” of Jackson’s grooming and brainwash while trying hard to blame everything on Jackson’s companies and certain employees, as you will see in the chapter “Raising awareness?”

[b] The Branca meeting is not disputed. However, what happened with Wade’s Cirque du Soleil ambitions after that is unclear. There are different accounts about whether Wade was hired for the job and pulled out on his own account, or he was never hired at all. According to Branca, they never hired him as they felt Jamie King was better qualified for the job [6; page 26-29 and 93-95]. When Wade’s lawyer, Vince Finaldi says “Wade says that he was actually hired to do the Cirque show?”, Branca answers: “Huh. That’s another — another Wade Robson fantasy.” [6, page 93] Wade’s deposition implies that it was his decision to pull out of the project around the time of his second breakdown in March 2012, but he sounds unsure about it and the circumstances of it from his deposition are pretty misty [4; page 208-211]. He says he joined the Cirque show preparation in July 2011. Not clear in what capacity or if he really had a contract for the job, because Branca insists that he was never actually hired – definitely not as a director or a lead choreographer. During Branca’s deposition Wade’s lawyer, Vince Finaldi says that they have “e-mails that show that he was actually hired to and he was doing work for — you know, meetings for the Cirque show” – although the e-mails are not presented during the deposition and it is never specified who sent those e-mails to whom and what their content was. Branca replies: “I don’t believe that’s the case.” Branca speculates at one point that it would be possible that as the director of the show, Jamie King might have hired Wade in some lower position, such as a dancer, but he insists he was definitely not hired in a leading creative role, such as a director or a lead choreographer that should be validated by the Estate [6; page 94]. It is certainly strange that Wade would have e-mails and not a contract to prove that he was hired, if he indeed was.

[c] According to Joy’s deposition, Wade’s father felt that his family did not care about what he was going through with his mental illness: “And this was part of the problem, that he was upset with the family because we didn’t look into what he was going through. He felt that we — we weren’t interested enough to look into it, and that was part of the issue.” [3; page 208]

Sources:

[1] Wade Robson’s Fourth Amended Complaint – see as an attachment to Notice of Plaintiff Wade Robson’s Motion to Amend the Third Amended Complaint; Memorandum of Points and Authortities (filed on September 9, 2016)
https://themichaeljacksonallegationsblog.files.wordpress.com/2018/01/2016-09-09-robson-fourth-and-third-amended-complaint-motion-to-amend-third-amended-complaint.pdf

[2] Wade Robson’s blog “Wade’s Window” – Break to Heal, Part I (November 17, 2017)
http://www.waderobsoncreations.com/wadeswindow/breaktoheal1

[3] Deposition Transcript of Lynette Joy Robson (September 30, 2016)
https://themichaeljacksonallegationsblog.files.wordpress.com/2018/05/joy-robson-deposition-extracts.pdf

[4] Deposition Transcript of Wade Jeremy William Robson (December 12, 2016)
https://themichaeljacksonallegationsblog.files.wordpress.com/2018/06/wade-robson-deposition-extracts.pdf

[5] E-mails between Wade Robson and others, mainly his mother, between 2012-2016
https://themichaeljacksonallegationsblog.files.wordpress.com/2018/01/2016-12-27-robsonemailswatermark.pdf

[6] Deposition Transcript of John Branca (October 18, 2017)
https://themichaeljacksonallegationsblog.files.wordpress.com/2018/05/john-branca-deposition-extracts.pdf

[7] Nick and Desiree’s Infinite Dance Cast – Interview with Joy Robson (July 2011); the quoted parts are at 14:25, 15:25 and 20:15
https://themichaeljacksonallegationsblog.files.wordpress.com/2018/01/07-joy_robson_interview_eps_11.m4a

[8] Shirley Broun – An Australian family’s courage to beat the odds (Variety Today, 1995)
http://onwiththeshow.com.au/the-inside-story-on-life-in-michael-jacksons-shadow-1995/

[9] Brené Brown – The Power of Vulnerability (June 2010)
https://www.ted.com/talks/brene_brown_on_vulnerability

[10] Dr. Larry Shaw – The Executive: The Pressures of the Golden Handcuff (August 27, 2015, The Hollywood Reporter)
https://www.hollywoodreporter.com/features/hollywood-dsm-industry-shrinks-reveal-817919

[11] Wade Robson’s blog “Wade’s Window” – Happiness Is Over There (December 22, 2017)
http://www.waderobsoncreations.com/wadeswindow/2017/12/22/happiness-is-over-there

[12] Wade Robson’s blog “Wade’s Window” – STRESS (January 26, 2018)
http://www.waderobsoncreations.com/wadeswindow/stress

[13] Wade Robson’s blog “Wade’s Window” – MUSIC, MOVEMENT + ME (April 21, 2018)
https://www.waderobsoncreations.com/wadeswindow/music-movement-me

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