Jacko Says Dad Belted Jackson 5

ByABC News via logo
February 9, 2003, 9:59 PM

Feb. 10 -- Michael Jackson claims his father belted him and his brothers during Jackson 5 rehearsals, but a family lawyer says family discipline is what drove the children to success.

In one portion of Martin Bashir's documentary Living With Michael Jackson, which was broadcast exclusively in the United States on ABC's 20/20 on Thursday, Jackson speaks wistfully of missing out on part of his own childhood.

After Bashir and Jackson sat down to watch film of the Jackson 5 performing, the pop star said that the group's flawless stage act and his own catapult to fame came at a very high price.

He Would Tear You Up

Jackson claimed that if he and his brothers didn't dance and sing well enough, their father, Joe Jackson, would strike them with a belt.

"He would tear you up if you missed. So not only were we practicing, we were nervous rehearsing because he sat in the chair and he had this belt in his hand, and if you didn't do it the right way he would tear you up, really get you," Jackson told Bashir. "And I got it a lot of times but I think my brother Marlon got it the most, 'cause he had a hard time at first and he tried so hard and it was always, 'Do it like Michael.'The others were nervous and I was nervous too because he was tough."

Brian Oxman, an attorney for the Jackson family, said the family stands behind Michael Jackson and supports him 100 percent, but that the accusations against the Jackson family patriarch are not entirely true.

"Joe Jackson was a severe disciplinarian, he wanted his children to be a success," Oxman said on ABCNEWS' Good Morning America today.

But the lawyer says the Jackson family believes the father thought he was doing what was best for his family. He says the father believed he was keeping his children off the streets of Gary, Ind., and away from drugs.

"He took them to perform. When they refused, he disciplined them," Oxman said, adding that the father admitted hitting his children.

Shocked, Outraged and Terrified