It’s a fact, Michael Jackson paid huge sums of money to stock his vast movie collection with scores of Nazi themed flicks and the two people Jackson employed to find him those movies are speaking out for the first time.
We talked exclusively with Norman Scherer, who was Jackson’s personal movie dealer back in the 1990s. Scherer’s take on why Jackson ordered movies glorifying Hitler is vastly different than details given to the NY Post by Scott Shaffer, Jackson’s former personal assistant.
“I couldn’t believe just how turned around the story was in the press. Sites are saying that I said Michael was obsessed with Nazis” said Scherer, “He did get Nazi-based films from me, but I don’t think he watched them for twisted reasons, he was fascinated with the way the military moved, and they were research for his dancing.”
Scherer owned “Video Oyster” in the 1990s, a video vault of rare movies and TV shows from around the globe. His office, located on Wall Street, sold rare finds to college kids, Wall Street stock brokers and everyone in between including countless celebrities, like Richard Gere, Naomi Campbell, Keith Richards, Ted Turner and Barbara Streisand, to name a few.
Scott Shaffer heard about Scherer’s thriving video business through the grape vine of entertainers in NYC, and first called him in November of 1995. Shaffer told Scherer that he had a big client for him, and that customer was Michael Jackson. Shaffer sent over a list of movies and TV shows to Scherer, and he began providing Jackson with boxes and boxes of VHS movies. Sometimes Scherer would hand deliver the videos to the Four Seasons Hotel in NYC, where Jackson lived for many months.
BIG BUCKS FOR RARE MOVIES
Scherer’s first check from Jackson was for a cool $21,725.00, and it was drawn from the account of “Neverland Valley Ranch.” “The checks kept coming in and I kept shipping Jackson boxes of movies for months.” Scherer said. There was one list of what Michael wanted in the beginning, “Nazi-based movies”, “Disney movies”, “troubled male youth movies”, “Judy Garland movies” and “vintage TV game shows.” After a while, Scherer started to get the hang of picking movies that he knew Jackson would like.
Scherer recalls Shaffer telling him, “Michael likes you because you know what he likes – you think like him.” Because Scherer hand picked the films for Jackson, be began to get an intimate understanding of his viewing habits.
Nazi war stories were not the only thing Michael liked to watch, Scherer recounts, “He liked to buy old TV shows-old game shows, he liked old TV because it was easier times and less complicated. He bought Judy Garland movies because they make you smile” Scherer continued, “He liked the videos about young boys with troubled families-because he wanted to relate to what his youth was like-he found a connection in there.” In an effort to set the record straight, Scherer maintained, “Michael created his own world… I don’t think any of that was a sexual thing. He genuinely loved children and loved living vicariously through them. I mean he loved Peter Pan!”
Now here’s where the story took a bad turn that plays out more like a scene from the movie “Blow”, than a simple sales transaction. “I never met Michael, He didn’t want to ever come to my office because it smelled like pot, and Michael didn’t like pot.” Sherer admitting as to the reason he never actually met Jackson in person.
At one point Scherer was literally traveling around the U.S. to get films just for Michael, “70% of my business was from Michael.” said Scherer.
According to Scherer, Shaffer called him out of the blue in March of 96′ and demanded to receve a 10% cash cut from of all future checks from MJJ Productions/Neverland Valley Ranch, and for all subsequent orders of videos. Scherer felt like he was being extorted, and he also thought that Jackson most likely did not know Shaffer was requesting a cut, but he knew he would lose the account if he did not agree. “Scott tried to extort me and he said he’d drop the account if I didn’t give him 10% cash from each order, and Michael obviously didn’t know about it.” Said Scherer. “So I told him to come in Video Oyster, and I would give him the money.” Then Scherer took matters in to his own hands, “Scott came in my office, and I told him, ‘Okay, you can only have the 10% if you dance like Michael’, and Scott started to dance – so I handed him the money.”
What Shaffer probably does not know is that Scherer video-taped the whole thing. Scherer admitted that the tape of Scott trying to dance like Michael was funny, however, he did not intend on releasing the 15-year-old tape of Shaffer dancing on command, deeming it “humiliating.” The business relationship between the two would never recover, “Soon after, I gathered up some movies I thought Michael would like, dropped them off at the Four Seasons concierge, and it was over.” Said Scherer.
The business relationship had ended, and they went their separate ways…15 years later, the two are reunited by this story…
The NY Post, who broke the story of Jackson’s so called “Nazi obsession” spoke with Scott Shaffer who stated, “the reason for ending business with Scherer was because his video prices became too high”, but Scherer insists they ended business because Shaffer “killed the vibe” after he tried to extort him.
Scherer has no regrets.
When asked, “What would you say to Shaffer if the two of you were to meet face to face?” Scherer said, “Thanks for the memories. Thanks for turning me on to a beautiful person [Michael]. I loved his work and I loved his mind. Some of the things he did may look bad, but they weren’t. Kids are fun, kids are better than people that MJ had a deal with. I appreciated meeting Scotty and doing business, and was able to interact with Michael through him. It was an amazing experience.”
Interview by Lisa Mason Lee