Book Pins MJ's Pain Meds Battle on Pepsi Ad

Sheryl Huggins Salomon
Michael Jackson in 1984 after Pepsi-ad mishap (Carl Arrington/Getty Images)

The infamous 1984 Pepsi commercial shoot during which Michael Jackson's head was burned led to a lifelong battle with addiction to pain medication, his personal manager writes, according to the Associated Press:

Frank Cascio, who became a family friend to Jackson at age 5 and eventually one of the singer's closest friends and employees, writes in a new book that he first noticed Jackson taking the drug Demerol while accompanying the singer on his "Dangerous" tour in 1993.


He writes in his new book, My Friend Michael: An Ordinary Friendship with an Extraordinary Man, that Jackson started the first of two anniversary shows in 2001 an hour late as a result of being drugged up in his dressing room …

He says Jackson was first introduced to Demerol in 1984 when he burned his head during a Pepsi commercial shoot, and Cascio writes that he first noticed Jackson using the medicine on his "Dangerous" tour.

"Now, on tour, and again in deep physical pain, Michael turned back to those drugs," he wrote….

Source: The Associated Press.

Cascio also says that despite the allegations, Jackson never molested children. "Throughout the book, Cascio writes that Jackson never had sex with children, but had a love for them and wanted to father 10 kids in total," the Associated Press reports.


Certainly, if Cascio knew Jackson was doing anything illegal with children, he would have been compelled to report it to authorities, right?  We hope that with this book, one of Jackson's "closest friends" isn't cashing in on the publicity around the Conrad Murray trial (which focused on Jackson's ultimately lethal struggle with the powerful anesthetic propofol) while simultaneously covering his own hide against the appearance that he condoned child abuse.

We hope.

In other news: The High Cost of Mrs. Obama's Popularity. 

Sheryl Huggins Salomon is senior editor-at-large of The Root and a Brooklyn, N.Y.-based editorial consultant. Follow her on Twitter.

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