Even six years after his death, Michael Jackson’s name still causes controversy. The latest involves the pet monkey, Bubbles, he had in the 1980s.
Recently when approached by photographers from TMZ, Jane Goodall, one of the most highly regarded chimpanzee experts in the world, mentioned that Bubbles was beaten during her days at Jackson’s Neverland ranch.
“I ticked him off, I went to see him to talk about Bubbles,” said the 79-year-old researcher. “When he was with Michael Jackson he was being beaten.”
Goodall didn’t say who was beating Bubbles before she was driven off but Jackson’s sister, LaToya Jackson’s, ex-husband, Jack Gordon, said publicly in 2002 that he had seen the king of pop himself beat the chimp.
“I saw Michael punch Bubbles, kick him in the stomach,” claimed Gordon. “Michael used to say, ‘He doesn’t feel it. He’s a chimpanzee. I have to discipline him.’”
Bubbles became a celebrity of sorts in the 80s. He became a part of Jackson’s entourage during tours and allegedly slept in a crib and had access to Jackson’s fridge. The picture painted was that Bubbles was treated well until he, like all chimpanzees, became older and stronger and unsuited to be a pet and had to be turned in to animal care takers.
Since 2005 Bubbles has been living in the Center for Great Apes, a primate sanctuary in Florida and according to Goodall “he’s very happy.”
While we may never truly know the reality that Bubbles faced during his years in the spotlight, at least he now has found some peace.