EXCLUSIVE: Video of Michael Jackson and Omer Bhatti on Jet Ski Raises More Questions

Former Jackson friend speculates Joe Jackson may have business plans for Bhatti.

BySarah Netter, Jennifer Pereira and Luchina Fisher via via logo
July 22, 2009, 5:56 PM

Aug. 3, 2009— -- The two gleefully zoomed on top of the water, enjoying a beach vacation the way any other family members would.

But who really was that boy seen in the video footage on the back on Michael Jackson's jet ski during a 1997 trip to South Africa -- a close family friend, or his son?

In the video, obtained exclusively by "Good Morning America," the two climbed out of the water and Omer Bhatti leaned over to Jackson, telling him something cameras didn't pick up.

"He wants to go again," Jackson said.

Increasing attention is being paid to Bhatti, now a 25-year-old aspiring rapper from Oslo, Norway, as questions swirl about the nature of his relationship with the King of Pop.

Jackson had been known to take up close friendship with children in the past, even bringing them along on his world tours. But none of those other children got a front row seat to Jackson's memorial service, dressed like Jackson's own brothers and sat with the family.

In pictures from the 1990s, Bhatti bears a resemblance to Jackson and not only because of their similarity in clothing. He also, more strikingly, seems to share features with Jackson's youngest son, Prince Michael II, 7, also known as Blanket.

Bhatti's mother Pia Bhatti, a former Jackson nanny, has denied that her son is Michael Jackson's son, but there are plenty of people who believe the contrary.

Jackson's father Joe Jackson is recently admitted that his most famous son may have four -- not three -- children.

"I knew he had another son, yes, I did," Joe Jackson said last week in an interview with TV One. "He looks like a Jackson, he can dance like a Jackson. This boy is fantastic dancer -- matter of fact, he teaches dance."

After the Jet-Sskiing, the video shows the duo of Jackson and Bhatti prepping for a parasailing trip and the soaring above the water. Jackson even took off his trademark fedora, saying later, "I wanted to see if I could hold onto my hat."

In a separate clip, Jackson can be seen introducing Bhatti to Nelson Mandela.

Jackson's inner circle at the time even questioned the superstar on whether Bhatti was just a close friend or a substitute for the children he did not yet have. Former Jackson friend Marc Schaffel said Jackson denied rumors that Bhatti was his son.

"Michael had told me very specifically to my face -- and I have no reason to believe he was lying to me at the time -- that that story was not true," Schaffel told "Good Morning America."

Is Joe Jackson Trying to Sign Omer Bhatti to His Label?

Schaffel speculated that Joe Jackson's comments about Bhatti indicate he may be looking to work with the young man in future business ventures.

"I definitely think he has his eye on Omer to do that, and if it's to launch his new venture, his new business label, I think he is actually looking at Omer to do that," he said.

Bhatti has said he and his parents met Jackson in Tunisia in 1996. The boy obviously idolized Jackson and could even moonwalk.

He went to live with Jackson at his Neverland Ranch and was there in 2003 with authorities raided the compound looking for evidence related to Jackson's molestation charges.

"He adored Michael, he looked up to him, he respected him, he admired him," Schaffel said. "I know that people for many years -- we didn't call him Omer, we called him little Michael."

In Vienna earlier this month, Jackson's brother Jermaine Jackson said Bhatti would be welcomed into the family, if he's proven a Jackson.

"If Omer's his son, he's his son," Jermaine Jackson told Britain's the Daily Mail. "We won't deny it. We are going to give him the same love and care that we give Prince and Paris and Blanket. I can't clearly say if he is Michael's, but I saw this kid around him."

Jermaine Jackson said Jackson's eldest sister Rebbie seated Bhatti up front next to the family.

"My sister went and got him during the service and got him to sit closer to my mother," Jermaine Jackson said.

Since the memorial service, Bhatti has remained in Los Angeles and been seen playing at the Jackson family compound with Michael Jackson's three children -- Prince, Paris and Prince II -- according to the Daily Mail.

Biographer: 'Billie Jean' Scenario Is 'Ridiculous'

Stacy Brown, a Jackson biographer who once worked as a family spokesman, said he first began hearing about Bhatti in 1992, when he would have been 8.

"He would tell them [the Jackson family] that he was Michael's son," Brown said. "The fact is, he is not Michael's son."

And no, his mother's name is not Billie Jean, the title of Jackson's pop hit in which he famously sang, "The kid is not my son."

Bhatti's mother, Pia, worked as Michael Jackson's first nanny, taking care of Prince, according to Brown. His father, Biz, reportedly worked as one of Jackson's drivers.

Following Jackson's death on June 25, Pia told a reporter: "He was the King of Pop. But for us he was so much more."

Since then, the parents, who returned to Oslo, have refused to answer reporters' questions about Bhatti's parentage.

"Maybe Michael loved him like a son, treated him like a son, and maybe he [Bhatti] felt like Michael was really his father," said Stuart Backerman, a former family spokesman. "But I just don't buy that he's his son."

Backerman believes if Bhatti really were Jackson's son, Jackson long ago would have acknowledged it, especially in light of how close he was to his three children.

In 2004, Us Weekly reported that Jackson did, indeed, acknowledge that he was the father. A source told the magazine: "Jackson has told his closest associates Omer's mom's was a Norwegian with whom he had a one-night stand."

An ex-Jackson associate who requested anonymity told ABCNews.com he remembered Bhatti from his days at Neverland.

"He was this kid who fawned over Michael Jackson on a trip overseas, so he became one of Michael's 'little friends,'" the former associate said. "When Michael met a new friend the parents often come along. His parents worked at Neverland for a while. It wasn't Michael's kid. This elaborate 'Billie Jean' scenario is ridiculous. Don't you think he would turn up in the will?"

Bhatti became a Jackson impersonator. Now he's an aspiring rapper who goes by the stage name O-Bee.

"Nobody called him Omer, they called him Michael J.," said Brown. "Ever since he was a little boy he would make himself up to look like Michael. They would wear the same -- hat, pants, shoes, even socks. Michael loved it."

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