in which my brother Michael had warned me about Gordon a few years prior:
“You have to get away from him or he’s going to kill you,” Michael said.
Not wanting to worry Michael any more than he already was, I didn’t say anything to him about how right he was to be afraid, both for me and for him. Michael knew that Gordon was a dangerous man, from his then-manager Frank DiLeo, and he understood he was taking a great risk to warn me about Gordon. While we talked, Michael interrupted our conversation several times to ask me if Gordon was listening in on another extension. Although I reassured him that Gordon was not eavesdropping because he was out of the house, Michael was still frightened. So I didn’t tell Michael that Gordon had threatened to harm him on numerous occasions if I disobeyed the orders Gordon gave me or revealed my abuse at his hands to the world. Instead, I reassured Michael, and vowed to myself that, whatever Gordon might do to me, I would never allow him to hurt a member of my family. Michael was relieved. But while my thoughts and voice were forceful, my conviction was meaningless in the face of Gordon’s power, and the harm I knew he could easily inflict on those I loved through his mob ties. The truth, as I knew it, was that something horrible was destined to happen if I didn’t follow his every order and work my hardest to earn him money. I know now that, in his mind, he thought he was my pimp, and I was his prostitute. In order to ensure my family’s safety, I did everything Gordon ordered me to do, even sitting in a closet all day without moving sometimes. That’s how powerful his control was over me.
I became a pro at anticipating what might set Gordon off. But I wasn’t able to avoid being nearly beaten to death that night in my penthouse. He often invented excuses to punish me, but on this occasion, he did not give me any reason or warning. When he came home earlier that evening, I was frightened by his behavior, which was very strange. I retreated into the bathroom, and when I came out, Gordon was waiting for me with a look of pure evil on his face. Surely, I was looking the devil straight in the eye. I was terrified.
Although my body trembled and my knees buckled, I ran out of the room, and down the hallway to the kitchen. I could feel the blood rapidly pounding, and creating pressure, in my ears. I felt as if I was moving in slow motion, even though I was hurrying away from him as fast as I could. I knew there was no escape, nowhere to hide, and no one to come to my rescue. Gordon hired all of our help from among his mafia connections. They were paid, from money I earned, that he controlled one hundred percent, and spent to help control and intimidate me.
I was certain this would be the end of my life. I could easily imagine the lies Gordon would tell the world to cover up my murder. The headlines that probably would have read: La Toya Jackson Jumps to Her Death from the Balcony of Her NYC Condo. Or Gordon would bring in a shady doctor to shoot me full of drugs and claim I overdosed. I had no doubt that he knew enough evildoers to help him avoid responsibility. I wondered if my family would investigate, or if they would believe what they were told and never know the truth.
As I was cornered in the kitchen, Gordon came up close behind me. I was so afraid that I could hardly breathe, but I knew better than to beg for mercy.
Without saying anything, he punched me in the face. At 110 pounds, I was no match for him and fell to the floor. I curled into a ball to try to avoid his blows, but they came at me from every direction. He kicked me and beat me with his fists, and it just went on and on. He then picked up a heavy wood chair and beat my legs with it. This was very brutal, even for him.
I couldn’t understand why he was acting this way towards me. I wondered if it was because he had been diagnosed with cancer a few years earlier, and he was taking it out on me. Maybe he was angry that he was sick, or maybe he was afraid he would die. But, as far as I knew, he was in remission. And he constantly kept me working so he could afford to get the best medical care possible. So that couldn’t be it. I knew