Gay pornographer Marc Schaffel may be suing his former close friend Michael Jackson, but we hear that the filmmaker was once very useful to the King of Pop—thanks, in part, to his highly placed contact within the White House.
Schaffel–who recently aired a phone message on Good Morning America in which the singer declares, “I love you, Marc. I really need you to get $7 million for me as soon as possible”–is seeking $3 million in loans to Jackson that remain unpaid. But not long ago he was loyally working as the gloved one’s business partner and producer on both his disastrous 2001 album Invincible and a 9/11 tribute concert Jackson planned to hold in Washington D.C. Jacko watchers may also recall Schaffel’s star turn as an unindicted co-conspirator in the singer’s most recent round of pedophilia allegations.
It was for the 9/11 tribute project that Schaffel (who, under the nom de porn “Marc Fredericks,” has directed over 400 gay porn titles including The Man With the Golden Rod and Cocktales), turned to David Kuo, then an adviser to President Bush and the deputy director of the Office of Faith-Based and Community Initiatives.
Jackson’s script featured a little boy holding the hand of an older man on the steps of the Lincoln Memorial while 50 pop stars, including Britney Spears and Carlos Santana, sang the treacly song in the shadow of America’s 16th president. There was just one snag: in the wake of the terrorist attacks on the World Trade Center and the Pentagon, Washington’s memorial sites were closed or heavily secured. According to Joe Becker, a West Wing producer enlisted to work on the video for Jackson’s tribute, Kuo was the team’s “man in the White House.”
Despite the lockdown, Jackson and Schaffel were cleared to make the video at the site. “Representatives of the Parks Service said that the go ahead for us to use the Lincoln Memorial had come straight from the White House,” Becker recalls, adding that Jackson returned Kuo’s favor by providing backstage passes to a concert at RFK Stadium in D.C., and that the presidential adviser then “invited members of my staff to the concert and had them over to the White House mess hall for lunches.”
In the end, the project was scuttled after Schaffel’s XXX-rated resume became public. Becker says he lost $120,000 of his own money that he had invested in the filming, expecting to be reimbursed.
“When it came out that Schaffel was in gay porn and that Jackson had some serious legal problems, Kuo tried to act like he never knew them,” Becker said. “It would have been laughable if I hadn’t been taken for all that money.”
Reached for comment, Kuo acknowledged that he had met with both Schaffel and Jackson about the tribute–“I met with hundreds of people a week at the White House”–but denied that he had helped gain them access to the Lincoln Memorial. “After 9/11 the White House was tasked with reaching out to people from the charitable world and Jackson had gotten in touch with us about some song that he was doing just like he had done ‘We are the World,'” Kuo said. “I didn’t have a relationship with either guy, and I never invited staff on the project to come eat lunch at the cafeteria.”
Kuo claims that concert promoter Clear Channel, not Jackson, provided his backstage passes to the RFK concert. And his opinion of Jackson? “I met him for a few minutes,” Kuo said, “and I had no particular reaction.” Kuo insisted that as far as he knew, no pedophilia charges had been brought against Jackson at the time.
Kuo has since stepped down from the Office of Faith-Based and Community Initiatives to take a contributing editor position at beliefnet.org, which recently published his attack on the administration for not doing enough for religious groups (“There was minimal senior White House commitment to the faith-based agenda,” he wrote). A spokeswoman for the office did not return calls by press time.