Michael Jackson was famously eccentric, an image he actively cultivated during periods of his career. In the 1980s, he travelled with his pet chimpanzee, Bubbles, even drinking tea with him and the mayor of Osaka during his trip to Japan. However, in an interview with The Sun last year, the King of Pop’s former assistant Scott Shaffer spilled on more of the star’s strange idiosyncrasies.
Shaffer met Jackson on the set of the music video for Black and White where he was working as a production assistant.
They became friends and he was soon hired as the popstar’s personal assistant, a job he held for seven years.
During that time, the pair became close and he was welcomed into Jackson’s innermost circle of friends.
In the interview, Shaffer recalled how the Thriller hitmaker would make bizarre demands, sometimes in the middle of the night.
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Michael Jackson’s former assistant said he asked him to get a jewellery store to open at 3am
“He really had no conception of what time it was,” he said. “So you could easily be getting calls like two o’clock in the morning.
“One funny time was when we were in Australia and he called me at 3AM and told me he was engaged to Debbie Rowe and how I should go open up a jewellery store and get an engagement ring for him to give to her.
“He didn’t like it when I said no,” Shaffer added. “Telling him no was hard; he didn’t like hearing no.
“We had this saying between the two of us: ‘We can do anything and no one can tell us no,’” he said.
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“Because he would set me these assignments and I’d give 300 percent to get it done so if I said no it was a big deal.”
Even so, obtaining an engagement ring in the early hours of the morning wasn’t feasible and Shaffer found himself telling Jackson it would be better if one of his secretaries who knew Rowe better — and was more knowledgable on jewellery — were to execute the task the next day.
The following morning, he went along with another of Jackson’s staff who knew what kind of ring Rowe would want.
On the subject of his bosses’ demands, Shaffer told the publication: “Debbie was very nice she always looked out for me.
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“I remember there was this one time when I hadn’t slept for two days because Michael had me running around and she saw me and she said, ‘What’s wrong with you? You look terrible!’
“And she gave me a shot to get me to sleep, put a ‘do not disturb’ on my door and told everyone to leave me alone for 24 hours,” he added. “She said to Michael, ‘He’s not going to be much use to you dead.’
“Michael was tough but he was also fair.”
Aside from his demanding demeanour, Shaffer revealed Jackson had a generous, “giving” side.
On one occasion, he said, the popstar had paid thousands of dollars for him to have his teeth fixed with implants, surgery and braces.
According to Shaffer, the dental procedures totalled approximately $ 50,000 – $ 60,000.
Jackson surprised him with the gift one Christmas after noticing his teeth were “off”.
Of course, the singer’s accountants struggled with his desire to make such generous moves and would go “ballistic”, according to his former assistant.
But giving was in Jackson’s spirit and he always wanted to help people where he could, his friend said.