Before my fifteen minutes is up, won’t you allow me a few points of clarification on my open letter to Duff? First, I have never brought politics to my book’s page, and very rarely on my personal page. Neither have I ever openly stated support for any political party or politician. I will never again bring politics to my public pages.
But this begs the question: How does one respond to a political attack, which Duff clearly was doing, without being political? I admit I was quite exuberant in my response. For this, I humbly apologize to Michelle, her friends, and everyone else dismayed by my hijacking her issue to pontificate as I did. Especially if it made my calling out of utter hypocrisy lose credibility to many.
I am speaking out again to confess that I got it absolutely wrong in my book. Several of you have highlighted the contradiction. I became aware of the issue shortly after my book’s release when friends from back in the day pointed out my inaccurate account. Soon, Michelle herself contacted me to ask if the “Dio Boots” story was about her. We had a friendly Facebook chat, and she told me her side. Which I had never heard, due to her never visiting the Gardner studios after the incident. I apologized to her and promised to take that untrue story from the book, upon the next printing. But I was afraid to publicly admit it. Or even acknowledge it, believing that I would lose credibility with my audience if it was revealed that I made a factual error. But after Duff spoke out, it started gnawing on me. Then I read Michelle’s #littlemichellelives recounting of her ordeal, and I couldn’t just keep ignoring the voice in my ear, screaming at me to do the right thing by publicly acknowledging my error.
You see, while working on later drafts of my memoir, I consciously removed all events that I had not seen with my own two eyes. And any stories having to deal with girls that were in the mix at the time. So, how did this incorrect story make the final draft? Well, I inadvertently blended together two incidents, combined with disinformation fed to me at the time. Mix that all together with thirty years passing, and voila – fiction. The first incident was Michelle’s ordeal. The night that happened, I only heard reports from my brother, who was GNR’s stage manager and piss boy. He came in the house and straight off told me, “Axl’s such an idiot, he banged that chick Michelle, then she wouldn’t leave.” So he tossed her out naked and threw her clothes at her and locked the door. I heard this CYA story the night it happened because my brother lived at my house.
Fast forward a couple of weeks, to what I actually witnessed. A scruffy hippie chick, the one called “Dio Boots,” wandered down the alley and entered the studio and started tossing gear around. She was promptly removed and helped back out to the street. About twenty minutes later, she returned with a few uniformed L.A.P.D officers that she had flagged down on Sunset Blvd, claiming that Axl had tried raping her. Axl wasn’t there and hadn’t been there. She wasn’t very credible. I actually spoke with the cops, telling them that she had been stalking Axl for at least a year, that I knew of. The cops seemed satisfied, and left, insisting that “Dio Boots” leave with them.
Then the next night, or the one after, I showed up to the studio about twenty minutes after Dizzy had been arrested, the cops mistaking him for Axl. I just assumed it was related to the “Dio Boots” babe. So, that’s how I told it in my book. I should have left it out entirely, but instead, I gave an incorrect account that served to offer an alibi against allegations of brutality. Maybe I was subconsciously trying to kiss Axl’s ass. Who knows?
From reading message boards posts discussing this event, people seem married to a notion that Michelle’s presence around GNR was a one-time occurrence, during the debauchery of an 80’s late night party. Then at some point, after being rejected, she cried rape. In fact, Michelle was around the studio most of the time. She was a cute kid, pleasant and into much of the same music that I dug. I tried a few times to convince her that a wolf’s den was no place for a little girl to hang out. But her mom was cool with her being around, and her mom’s boyfriend was a musician who spent time in an adjacent studio, so I felt she had some kind of safety net nearby. Plus, she was a somewhat streetwise and savvy youngster.
Another point overlooked, or disregarded by many, she never went to the cops to report the evil mean wicked and nasty things that were done to her. That was her mother’s doing, upon finding out two weeks after the event. Subsequently, Michelle begged and pleaded with her mother to not have Axl jailed, even refusing to testify or tell her story to detectives. After talking with several people with firsthand knowledge of the events, combined with the facts that I know. I believe most of Michelle’s story, and find the rest of it possible.
I asked Michelle what she hoped to achieve by publicizing all this right now. In my own words, this is the feeling she expressed.
Imagine you have a dear friend, on their deathbed, and without a new kidney, they will surely die within days. You selflessly donate one of yours. Within weeks, your friend has made a full recovery and are once again happy and healthy. But then, not too long after giving a part of yourself to another, they win a half-billion-dollar lottery prize. Then they ghost you. You’re left in the rearview, while they’re throwing massive parties, traveling the world, buying mansions and fast cars. Never once offering, acknowledgment, gratitude, or even taking you along for even a little bit of their spectacular trip. She kind of feels like that sucker who gave up a kidney to an ingrate!