Wednesday, February 14, 2018

Meet the mystery man who gave us Donald Trump's hair and Michael Jackson's nose

Meet Dr. Steven Hoefflin, the plastic surgeon to the stars.

He's the guy responsible for both Michael Jackson's really weird face and Donald Trump's really weird hair. As we shall see, Hoefflin's degree of responsibility is a matter of debate, but he was definitely involved.

When you see that infamous video of Trump's hair flying up, revealing that the back of his head is as hairless as a baby's bum, you're seeing the result of a procedure involving Dr. Hoefflin. The words "STEVE WAS HERE" might as well be imprinted on the skin.

Yet although everyone talks about Trump's hair, almost nobody writes about Hoefflin in connection with Donald Trump. If you look at the doctor's Wikipedia page -- which shows every indication of being written by the man himself, or by those friendly to him -- you'll see no reference to the current occupant of the Oval Office. Ivana gets a mention, but not Donald.

Yet we know that Hoefflin worked on the Very Stable Genius. Even though this blog published these words just a short while ago, we need to present them again here. (The excerpts come from a HuffPo article.)
In a 1990 divorce deposition, under oath, Ivana Trump swore that in a fit of rage, Donald raped her because of the pain he was suffering resulting from his scalp reduction surgery in 1989.

Donald’s scalp reduction, also known as alopecia reduction (AR), is most successfully performed on patients with balding on the crown on the head, according to “The procedure, which essentially cuts out the patient’s bald spot, follows these steps: Under anesthesia, the surgeon cuts away the balding area of the scalp. Usually a portion somewhere between the crown and the vertex transitional point is removed. The remaining skin (which is able to grow hair) is sewn back together.”
According to Ivana’s sworn statements, her plastic surgeon, Dr. Steven Hoefflin, who had performed Donald’s waist and chin liposuction procedures, also performed his scalp reduction surgery. Hurt wrote in the Lost Tycoon that the recovery was painful and Donald suffered “nagging headaches caused by the shrinking of the scalp, and the pain of the initial incision.”

In pain, and not satisfy with the immediate coloration associated with the process, on an irate phone call, Donald told the Dr. Hoefflin, “I’m going to kill you!” He then threatened to sue the doctor, not pay for the procedure and work to destroy his practice. (Vintage Donald Trump)
If the report is accurate, Donald Trump issued a death threat to Hoefflin. That's...odd.

Odder still: We have no indication that Trump, a litigious individual, ever took any punitive action against Hoefflin.

For more background on this incident, see this New Yorker piece, which discusses Harry Hurt III, author of a Trump bio called The Lost Tycoon. Hurt found the Ivana Trump deposition at the heart of this story.
Hurt decided to scan the book and reissue it himself online. When a reporter for the Daily Beast began making calls about the rape allegation, Michael Cohen, a Trump lawyer, told him, “You write a story that has Mr. Trump’s name in it and the word ‘rape,’ and I’m going to mess your life up . . . for as long as you’re on this frickin’ planet.” After that, Hurt said, CNN booked him four times, but kept cancelling. The only TV host to have him on the air to talk about the rape allegation was Megyn Kelly, at Fox News.
That would be the same Michael Cohen who says that he personally paid Stormy Daniels $130,000 in hush money with no reimbursement or promise of reimbursement from Donald Trump, because that's what lawyers do.

Very believable guy. Very credible. Very.

So here's my question. If Team Trump is willing to employ such heavy-handed tactics against Harry Hurt III, author of perhaps the least-successful of the Trump bios, why didn't we see a Trump-versus-Hoefflin lawsuit? At the very least, one would expect a major media scuffle. An angry statement in front of a camera. Something.

But no. Hoefflin, it seems, is invulnerable.

Hoefflin and the Jackson case. Curious to learn how he acquired this imperviousness, I decided to look into the doctor's history. He gained notoriety in connection with his work with -- and on -- Michael Jackson.

This situation places me at something of a disadvantage. I love classical music; Jackson's most passionate fans may not understand my relative indifference to his art. Those fans should understand that I never had any reason to bear the man any ill will. As noted in this 2009 post, Jackson and I were pretty much the same age and lived not far from each other; I often passed by his mansion on Havenhurst. (The old mansion, which I coveted, and which he tore down and replaced.) His eccentricities were then mostly a matter of amusing local gossip. In later years, I refused to believe the reports about his pedophilia until the evidence became overwhelming.

I say all of this because I am about to cite a story by Diane Dimond, a despised figure among Jackson fans, who sometimes call her "Diane Demon." On Amazon, an apparent organized smear campaign insured that her book on Jackson was downgraded and dismissed. On many websites, she received pretty much the same over-the-top treatment that Hillary Clinton received in 2016. It is an article of faith among die-hard Jackson defenders that Powerful Forces paid Dimond untold millions to assail their hero.

Dimond makes a very good impression in this interview. At the risk of arousing the ire of those devoted to Dimond-hate, she strikes me as reasonable, diligent and smart.

(That said, I'm not usually inclined to forgive anyone who has ever been associated with Fox News. And I cannot abide Nancy Grace, whom Dimond calls her friend.)

In 2009, Dimond did some research into Jackson's plastic surgeon, Dr. Steven Hoefflin. Her report, published in The Daily Beast, is astounding. Yet, until today, nobody has mentioned "the Dimond report" on Hoefflin in connection with Donald Trump. Here's the summary:
The plastic surgeon who built Michael's noses may be the most dubious character in the entire Jackson saga. Diane Dimond on the doctor whose bizarre behavior—like providing goodie bags of syringes filled with Demerol for celebrity patients; climbing a tree with a pellet gun; claiming to work undercover for the DEA and the Secret Service; and filing as a candidate for president—has attracted police attention, including a mental evaluation by the LAPD last year. But that hasn't stopped him from serving as the Jackson family's authorized medical representative, advising them on how to handle lawsuits, doctors, insurance, and the singer's promoter, AEG.
I'm not sure that "built" is the right verb for that first sentence.

Let me stop here to note an important area of contention. Just how much responsibility does this doctor bear for the unsettling "death's head" condition of Michael Jackson's face? Hoefflin has said that the last time he worked on Jackson was in 1998, yet the doctor was a close Jackson associate until the very end. Is it likely that, after 1998, Jackson had work done by someone other than his close friend, the world's most famous plastic surgeon? That scenario is possible, I guess. But is it likely?

Jackson was notoriously eccentric. So is his former doctor. 
Since last year, and continuing through Jackson’s death, Hoefflin, the immediate past president of the Los Angeles Society of Plastic Surgeons, has engaged in a pattern of behavior so “delusional,” as a Los Angeles Police Department report terms it, that the LAPD’s Threat Assessment Unit has been monitoring him. Two police sources familiar with Hoefflin say the LAPD took him into custody for a mental evaluation following a 2008 incident in which officers observed him in a tree, clutching a pellet gun and babbling about assassination attempts.

Other incidents include various written statements from Hoefflin that he’s either an agent for, or a target of, the FBI, the CIA, the KGB and the Secret Service. He says he has received death threats from those tied to John McCain’s presidential campaign, apparently due to Hoefflin’s decision to run for president, a campaign that he thought he would win.
Dimond goes on to reveal that Hoefflin is the one who repaired Jackson's scalp after the singer was badly burned filming a Pepsi commercial in 1984. As we shall see, the procedure may bear some resemblance to what Hoefflin later did for (or to) Donald Trump.

Arguably, Hoefflin's behavior resembles Trump's behavior. Example:
When I asked him about his recent bizarre behavior, however, his response at three different points was: “I have a genius IQ."
And a Very Stable Genius he is. Hoefflin claims that, after coming up with a plan to stop the Mexican drug trade, he received a mysterious call "demanding he stop the drug talk or he would be killed."
In May 2008, a report from the Los Angeles Police Department shows an officer responded to a call from Dr. Hoefflin’s L.A. home complaining of “criminal threats.” The officer’s report dryly states that, “Vict-Hoefflin, Steven stated that he is involved as an undercover agent for the FBI, DEA, CIA, Secret Service, and many other agencies. Vict is also an independent presidential candidate for 2008.”
Hoefflin, speaking to Dimond, denied being an agent, but stipulated the rest.

The LAPD visited again after Hoefflin sent threatening letters to a neighbor.
The last paragraph of the report reads, chillingly: “It should be noted that the suspect is in need of mental-health evaluation via personal doctor. Subject is delusional and thinks he’s being followed by KGB, CIA, FBI and CORRUPT LAPD.”
I'll skip over some bizarre interactions with Arnold Schwarzenegger, Maria Schriver and others. Here's the juiciest part:
Less than a week after firing off the long-winded email to the LAPD, the department’s special Threat Assessment Unit responded to a call in Hoefflin’s neighborhood. According to two officers with knowledge of the incident, unit officers found a man up in a tree, clutching a pellet gun and babbling incoherently to invisible people. It was Steven Hoefflin, according to police reports. Sources knowledgeable about the incident say he kept repeating there was a conspiracy to assassinate him. He was taken into custody on a 5150 mental-evaluation hold, and the discussion at the scene with police centered around whether the doctor was "off his meds," these sources said.

“That gun looked just like our standard-issue Berettas,” one officer told me, “Right down to the texture on the gun handle. He’s lucky because if he’d pointed it at any of the responding officers they would have shot him dead.” Two LAPD sources tell me Dr. Hoefflin was held at UCLA Medical Center for at least 72 hours. In his car, police found a stack of disjointed and disturbing handwritten notes, including one in which he claimed “…a police helicopter is following me. Call my wife. I am a witness due to dirty cops in L.A.” In others he writes about foreign governments, nuclear bombs, and al Qaeda.
Hoefflin even got into a contretemps with the lawyer for Katherine Jackson, one Londell MacMillan:
He ominously warns McMillan, “If you don’t take me seriously in my desire to protect the best interests of Katherine and the children, then please immediately step into the ring with me.” He again mentions his “well-known genius IQ” and says, “I would just love to litigate with you, both in court and in the public media.”
Finally, Hoefflin had a very Trumpian message for Diane Dimond herself:
“My investigational (sic) team will use an electron microscope to examine every second and every millimeter of your life,” Hoefflin’s letter continued. “When something tangible, important, involving torts, or criminal activities is found, it will be reported to the authorities investigating you and will then be added to my book."
The book has yet to appear. I'd love to read it. (While you're waiting, check out Hoefflin's 1997 volume on Ethnic Rhinoplasty.)

The drug question. Drugs killed Michael Jackson. Everyone knows that he was using and abusing. What we don't know with precision is who was supplying.

At least one person has suggested that Hoefflin supplied Jackson with dangerous drugs -- a suggestion which Hoefflin firmly denies, as the Dimond interview makes clear.

To pursue this line of inquiry, we must note an odd paragraph in Hoefflin's Wikipedia page: "False allegations of professional misconduct."
During a salary dispute in 1997, Hoefflin was accused by four former colleagues (Kim Moore-Mestas, Lidia Benjamin, Barbara Maywood and Donna Burton) of unprofessional conduct towards celebrity clients. The Medical Board of California found no evidence of wrong-doing by Hoefflin.[3] The four former staffers of Hoefflin signed a letter stating that the suit was a working draft that was "inadvertently filled" and that its allegations "were without sufficient factual or legal basis." The letter also expressed regret for "any inconvenience or embarrassment the filing of the complaint has caused." [4] According to Hoefflin, in August 2001, the four former employees who originally made the allegations issued apology letters to Hoefflin and paid a cash settlement.
Dimond uncovered evidence that Hoefflin actually paid them. This WP story says that Hoefflin was the one who paid, and that the women signed a confidentiality agreement. Incidentally, the Wikipedia entry neglects to inform readers that the women sued Hoefflin for sexual harassment.

I would also remind you of the threat that Hoefflin made to Dimond. If Dimond has reported accurately, this threat establishes that Hoefflin is a vindictive person.

Having looked into the case to some degree, I am convinced that the lawsuit was not in any way "inadvertant." One does not sue a famous doctor by accident. For the other side of the story, see here and here and here and especially here.

The suit included the charge that Hoefflin's favored clients would receive "goodie bags" (Dimond's term) of Demorol, and that Hoefflin “began to exhibit huge character and mood swings because of drug abuse and the effects of his lifestyle choices.”

The women maintained that Hoefflin was weirdly fixated on the genitalia of celebrity patients under anesthesia. One of his patients was Don Johnson; supposedly, Hoefflin indicated his private parts and made a comment about how Melanie Griffith could do better. The suit said that Hoefflin would bill patients for procedures never performed, and that the assistants (who did not have medical degrees) would be required to do tasks which best done by a doctor.

They also said that Michael Jackson was misled into believing that a procedure which lasted minutes actually required several hours.

The most startling tale told by the four women concerns Sylvester Stallone, who was dating model Angie Everhart.
Ms Maywood said of Sylvester Stallone that he entered the operating theatre while Angie Everhart was under anaesthetic, and was ushered out for "not wearing proper surgical attire".
Everhart had requested that her breasts be kept fairly small, in keeping with her established look. While she was unconscious, Stallone insisted that they be made large but perky. Everhart eventually had the implants removed and she stopped seeing Stallone.

To the best of my knowledge, neither Stallone nor Everhart has ever questioned this account. This fact is difficult (if not impossible) to square with Hoefflin's assertion that his former employees filed the suit accidentally.

If we concede that the report about Stallone and Everhart is accurate, it becomes harder to dismiss the lawsuit's claim that Hoefflin supplied his friends with drugs. The doctor's bizarre behavior and delusional beliefs inevitably raise the possibility of drug abuse.

In this piece, we learn that one of the his nurses "claimed medical-strength cocaine was constantly going missing during her time at the clinic."
Carrie, who introduced Hoefflin to Hollywood, said: "I once trusted Steve and regarded him as a close friend but he is a changed man and deserves to be found out."

"The man you see now is not the man I used to know. He thinks he is God," she said.
"Carrie" is former Playboy model Carrie Leigh. I cannot conceive of any reason why she would lie.

Leigh also reports that Hoefflin "boasted how he was taking a steroid which would allow him to live to 200." A steroid...?

Hoefflin's former partner, James S. Hurvitz, has accused Hoefflin of drug abuse. This L.A. Times story says that he was accused of abusing cocaine. According to this story,
In the 1997 concert in Honolulu, Hawaii (first Leg of History Tour) Klein chased Steven Hoefflin out of Jackson room who appeared high on Cocaine...
Although the wording is a bit unclear, I think that the writer meant that Hoefflin, not Jackson, was the one alleged to have been high on cocaine. "Klein" is Dr. Arnold Klein, who plays a large role in the Jackson affair. Now go here, for a story about Michael Jackson's wife, former nurse Debbie Rowe.
Debbie testified in the Jackson family's wrongful death lawsuit against concert promoters AEG Live in Los Angeles on Wednesday (14.08.13) that her former employer, Dr Arnie Klein, and Dr Steven Hoefflin, held a "p***ing match" to see who could supply the 'Thriller' hitmaker with "better" drugs, according to the MailOnline website.
Michael allegedly trusted them to prescribe him with medication but they did not act in his best interest as they consistently tried to outdo each other by giving him stronger doses of painkillers, such as Diprivan and Demerol.
It seems to me that the testimony of a former nurse carries special weight.

Which brings us back to Donald Trump. The primary purpose of this post is to investigate the mystery of Donald Trump refusal to sue Dr. Hoefflin. Trump obviously is a very vain man when it comes to his hair. Even his most zealous admirers will admit as much. Trump blamed Hoefflin for the ruination of his hair. Yet there was no suit, no public kerfluffle, no harsh words said in front of any microphone.


By way of contrast, Trump once launched a truly surreal suit against Deutsche Bank -- his creditor -- on the grounds that the bank had caused the 2008 financial crisis. Trump is well-known for stiffing contractors and for vindictive acts against any who displease him. You will recall the threat made to Harry Hurt III. Yet nothing happened to Hoefflin, against whom Trump had what would appear to be a legitimate complaint.


I would like to remind the reader of Trump's absurd behavior during the October 9 debate with Hillary Clinton. Not only were his antics bizarre, many were shocked by his incredibly loud and constant sniffling -- the kind of sniffling that could indicate cocaine abuse.

Asked about this possibility, actress Carrie Fisher (known for her battles with addiction) tweeted "I'm an expert & ABSOLUTELY."

Trump denies using drugs. Of course, he has demonstrably lied about a good many things. If he has used cocaine or other controlled substances, the question becomes: Who is his supplier?

In the opinion of many -- laypersons and professionals -- Trump suffers from an obvious personality disorder. I would suggest that his delusions -- of grandeur, of persecution -- resemble the delusions which Diane Dimond's article ascribes to Dr. Hoefflin. Is it outside the boundaries of permissible thought to suggest that similar delusions might have a similar cause?

I freely admit that there may be other reasons why Trump did not seek any kind of revenge on Hoefflin. Who knows? Perhaps Hoefflin has convinced his wealthy friends that he really does possess a "steroid" which can allow one to live 200 years.

The death of Michael Jackson. I hesitate to address this topic, since -- as stated -- I never was a Jackson fan and thus did not follow the controversy as it unfolded. In other words, I'm a newcomer to this field of research. "Jackology" requires a lifetime commitment, like joining a monastery or sitting down to read Alan Moore's Jerusalem -- and frankly, I'm not willing to commit.

Nevertheless, I can't let this post end without noting that one of Jackson's other doctors suggested that Hoefflin played a role in Jackson's death.

Jackson officially died of a propofol overdose in June of 2009. Propofol (or Diprivan) is a very effective form of anaesthesia often used by surgeons; it has also been used recreationally. Another Jackson doctor, Dr. Conrad Murphy, was accused of administering propofol to Jackson and served two years for involuntary manslaughter. He admitted that he had administered 25 mg of propofol (normally not a lethal amount) for insomnia on the night of Jackson's death.

Murray insists that he did not kill Jackson. He says that he had no knowledge of the massive amounts of drugs given Jackson by his other doctors. (He also denies that Jackson died from a propofol overdose.)

All agree that the late Dr. Klein supplied Jackson with dangerous amounts of Demerol. Klein, however, strongly hinted that Dr. Steven Hoefflin was -- in essence -- the man who killed Michael Jackson.

This site, maintained by a religious crank, preserves the transcript of an otherwise hard-to-find interview between Klein and Larry King. Interestingly, he speaks of the work done Dr. Hoefflin on Jackson's scalp at the time of the Pepsi commercial accident.
KING: Did he have hair?

KLEIN: He had lost a great deal of it. You forget this first fire...

KING: That was the Pepsi fire, right?

KLEIN: Yes. But then what happened is he used a great deal of what are called tissue expanders in his scalp, which are balloons that grow up — blow up the scalp. And then what they do is they try to cut out the scar. Well, because he had lupus, what happened is every time they would do it, the bald spot would keep enlarging. So, I mean, he went through a lot of painful procedures with these tissue expanders until I put a stop to it. I said no more tissue expanders, because he had to wear a hat all the time and it was really painful for him.

KING: So what would his — without the hat, what would he look like?

KLEIN: Well, he had a big raised ball on the top of his head because of this device. It would expand the tissue, which you cut out. But would you — (INAUDIBLE) too much stretch back in the scar, you understand?

KING: Did you see him one other time?

KLEIN: Of course I did. But he would have a stretch back on the scar. I mean the scar would get worse after they removed it. And I had to put a stop to it. So I told Michael, we have to stop this. And that’s when I fired this plastic surgeon altogether.
That surgeon was Hoefflin, who remained close to Jackson until the end.

On Facebook, Klein leveled further claims against Hoefflin.
“Steven Hoefflin was(1) Dr Propofol, the white wizard,(2)who sedated Michael every night while he was on tour. No wonder Hoefflin toured with him! Michael paid him a lot. He bought Hoefflin cars and aesthesia machines, but what Hoefflin never ever knew was that Michael had never trusted him.
Michael began going over Hoefflin’s office to nap on Propofol and soon he could not sleep without the drug. It was his greatest fear but by the mid 90’s Michael was a drug addict... The Elvis Presley of Propofol."
Theoretically, if Hoefflin had given Jackson propofol before Dr. Murphy gave his injection, the overdose is neatly explained.

Hoefflin turned the tables and accused Klein of giving propofol to Michael Jackson. Klein sued Hoefflin for libel. They also fought a media battle which was as weird as it was vitriolic.

Shortly before his death, Klein stated that he was the biological father of Prince Jackson, Michael's son, and that he (Klein) had had sex with Jackson.

Being new to this controversy, I'm not sure how to weigh these claims and counter-claims. I am sure that Klein was one of the few individuals who might prove a match for Steven Hoefflin in a Weird Doctors competition.

Which brings us to a point which should be very obvious. The main players in this story -- Hoefflin, Klein, Jackson -- are responsible for many statements and actions which one may fairly call freakish. I can state in public without much fear of contradiction that all three men were/are strange people.

I can not state that this avalanche of strangeness resulted from drug abuse. But if you are looking for a single explanatory scenario, the drug angle seems worthy of consideration.

I can also state, without much fear of contradiction, that Donald Trump's history presents us with another avalanche of strangeness. Consider its origins. I will say no more.


Mr Mike said...

Two things stand out, were Hoefflin the same shade as Jackson before the skin bleach he would have been shot out of that tree. Second, how did he manage to keep his medical practitioner's license?
Are you planning on writing anything on the procedure that resulted in Trump's strange hair line?

Anonymous said...

Well, the odd hours that Donald has sent out incoherent tweets, do say something about his sleeping habits, and about his state of mind during these times when he should be asleep. Wasn't there some issue during the campaign about the Commander In Chief's ability to cope with that 3:00 AM phone call?

Stephen Morgan said...

Not "how did he manage to keep his medical practitioner's license", but how did he become president of the Los Angeles Society of Plastic Surgeons.

joseph said...

Testosterone, I tell you, Testosterone. But something else, you have given Trump the nickname Very Stable Genius. Everybody needs a nickname, Very Stable Genius may be too subtle. I suggest #donnysmallhands. Note the small d, I have been known here as small j joseph. I imagine that to be a pejorative, but at my age it is probably accurate rather than insulting and I don't care, but #donnysmallhands does care. The thing is that #donnysmallhands is a narcissist. Narcissists don't love themselves, they love the image of themselves, an image which they know to be untrue. Religions teach us to love our neighbors as ourselves, therefore the first rule is to love oneself. It is only by loving oneself that one can love others. #donnysmallhands doesn't love himself and therefore doesn't really love anyone else. Everybody is simply a prop for his fantasized image of himself.

Anonymous said...

Breaking News. Bill Clinton taken to hospital for breathing difficulties related to uncontrollable laughing.