Reactions to Jett Travolta's death on Friday surged forth over the weekend, with paramedics, publicists, anti-Scientology advocates and the usual exploiters lending voices to the noise. We sort through it after the jump.
· Reports on Saturday revealed that Jett, 16, suffered a seizure at the Bahamian vacation home of his parents John Travolta and Kelly Preston. Travolta himself applied CPR until medics arrived; the EMT crew chief told Radar that Jett had a hematoma, suggesting a head blow, later confirmed by Travolta's lawyer and family friend Michael McDermott. There was "a minimum amount of blood," and Jett had no pulse. He was pronounced dead upon arrival at the hospital. An autopsy is underway as of this writing.
· The day after it broke the story, TMZ followed up with word of a police investigation and pointing out conflicts between the Travoltas and investigators in the timeline preceding Jett's death. The Travoltas' nannies say Jett went to sleep at 6 p.m. on Jan. 1, and was discovered when one of the caretakers, Jeff Kathrein, awoke the next morning to find the teen unconscious on the bathroom floor. The police say Jett was last seen entering the bathroom at 11:30 p.m. — meaning he was undiscovered for up to 10 hours following his seizure. Naturally the Travolta camp went on the offensive, arguing that it was likely a second trip to the bathroom — after the caretakers were asleep — during which Jett collapsed.
· But who is Jeff Kathrein, anyway? Is he, as our East Coast cousin declaimed, "Travolta's rumored gay lover"? Or, as the LAT points out, an aspiring celebrity photographer who nannies to pay the bills? Shocker: The Travolta camp isn't commenting. But Kathrein will shoot your nuptials if you're in the market for a wedding photographer.
· Meanwhile, Scientology's enemies latched on to the opportunity to eviscerate its proponents, with Mark Ebner digging up a 2007 interview in which the father of an autistic girl alll but alleged child abuse in the Travoltas' treatment of Jett, whose own severe case of autism was long-suspected by outsiders but never acknowledged by the family. Instead, Jett's non-responsive condition was attributed to Kawasaki syndrome, a rare physical ailment that excused the Travoltas from treating Jett with CO$-condemned psychiatric drugs. (He did, according to McDermott, take anti-seizure medication for a while, which soon failed and whose regimen was ended.) With the exception of brother Joey, who studied autism for a documentary and believed Jett suffered from the condition, the family maintains its diagnosis.
· And a fascinating comments thread at Anonymous's Web site describes the "handlings" and $1,000-an-hour audits the Travoltas might have in front of them as part of Scientology's mourning rituals.
· Finally, it wouldn't be a celebrity death unless someone exploited it for their cause. Autism United sent an e-mail blast this morning asking Travolta and Preston to come clean for the sake of "15,000 parents of children with autism" — to be expected, we suppose, at least moreso than this pot-smelling press release from the publication Cannazine:
Research published in an issue of Science journal published in 2003, found that receptors in the brain, which respond to naturally-occurring cannabis-like chemicals (cannabinoids) made by the body, guarded neurons from being damaged by overstimulation.
Study co-author Beat Lutz, from Germany's Max Planck Institute of Psychiatry, said the group's experiments on mice followed anecdotal and clinical tests of cannabis to treat seizures.
"In my opinion, there are certain forms of epilepsy where patients may feel relief from the use of cannabis," Dr Lutz said.
Maybe. Has anyone consulted Dr. Denis Leary on the matter?