Has anything the celebrity family of Jett Travolta said about the teenager been the unvarnished truth? If so, we missed it. Even the publicity photos of Jett they sent out after his death are Photoshopped.
The constantly changing versions of the events surrounding Jett's death have gripped the public's imagination because it is so congruent with the story of his father's life. John Travolta would have us believe that he is normal; that he is not a member of a crazy cult; and that he is straight. At least two of those things are false.
Let's count the inconsistencies, which extend back long before Jett's tragic passing:
- Jett's parents, John Travolta and Kelly Preston, adherents of Scientology, have long maintained that Jett suffered from Kawasaki disease, an immune disorder which causes inflammation of blood vessels. But Kawasaki disease is not linked to seizures, according to medical experts.
- When they weren't blaming Kawasaki disease, they publicly maintained Jett's health was fine, even though many in Hollywood believed Jett suffered from autism. And suddenly, after his death, we learn that Jett wasn't fine; rather, he was constantly supervised by two nannies and a baby monitor.
- Autism would explain Jett's disturbingly affectless appearance in public; about a third of people with autism also suffer seizures. Travolta and Preston are followers of Scientology, which believes conditions like autism are all in the victim's head — that they are "degraded beings" requiring "purification." Preston has said in the past that Jett underwent a Scientology purification, which reportedly involves high doses of niacin.
- Police in the Bahamas said Jett, who was found unconscious late on New Year's Day in his parents' condo and died at a hospital shortly afterward, had struck his head, and reported blood on the scene. The nanny who found him, Jeff Kathrein, a Scientologist wedding photographer hired by Jett's parents, John Travolta and Kelly Preston, was once spotted in an intimate kiss with Jett's father. Police said Jett was alone for hours, after last being seen the evening of January 1; a family lawyer maintained that Kathrein, who slept eight feet away from Jett, found him almost right away.
- A funeral director hired by the family said there was no sign of a bruise and that Jett's body "looked great." The cause of death on Jett's death certificate was listed simply as a seizure.
- Two chartered planes and a police hearse, ostensibly carrying Jett's remains, waited on the tarmac Monday, as Bahamian police blocked access. It was a ruse: Jett's body was being cremated at the time, and the family planned to fly his ashes back to Florida on Tuesday.
Jett, in reality, had a rounder face. But so what? The need to airbrush away Jett's chin is the perfect metaphor for the pathetic misdirections and deceptions the Travoltas have engaged in. What they're covering up is not worth covering up. This is not some grand crusade for the truth — which in the end is the simple and tragic tale of a teen boy dying too young. The lies, big and small, that Travolta tells aren't for Jett. They're for him to maintain his fake public image. He asks us, out of politeness or gullibility, to swallow it whole.
Yes, everyone wants to let the family grieve. Let them grieve — but Jett Travolta is the only one who should lie in peace.