In January of this year, three people (Bahamian Minister of Tourism Obie Wilchcombe, Former Senator for the Bahamian Progressive Liberal Party Pleasant Bridgewater, and ambulance driver Tarino Lightbourne) were arrested for their attempt to extort $25M from John Travolta after his son, Jett Travolta, died after having a massive seizure at the actor’s vacation home in the Bahamas. If Travolta refused, the three conspirators would release the 16-year old’s medical records. Jett Travolta was long believed to have suffered from autism (the great Mark Ebner and always fantastic Jenny were all over this two years ago), a diagnosis Travolta refused to admit or provide proper treatment for due to his Scientology beliefs, instead insisting that Jett had Kawasaki disease. Yesterday, while on the stand during the extortion trial, Travolta finally admitted his son was autistic. LA Times reports:
John Travolta finally revealed in a Bahamian courtroom what he was never able to say publicly when his son, Jett, was alive. “He was autistic,” Travolta told the court during the extortion trial. “He suffered from a seizure disorder.” Travolta said Jett suffered seizures every five to 10 days and that each seizure lasted around 45 seconds. Jett would often sleep for 12 hours after an episode.
I’m going to take a step back from being a ruthless jackass who tells unfunny jokes, to say that as much as I hate Scientology and everything it does to families and people looking to belong to something, I actually feel bad for John Travolta. Faith and beliefs can be a powerful thing, but when they hinder your ability to make logical and informed medical decisions, it’s time to reevaluate what purpose those beliefs and faith are trying to serve. I’m in no way associated with any Autism awareness groups, but my best friend has a child with autism, and instead of living in denial, he and his wife have dealt with it, and have given their child proper medical care and therapy. And he’s one of the sweetest kids you’ll ever want to meet. My opinions of Travolta aside, I hope he and the rest of his family can somehow learn to accept this tragedy and salvage the remainder of their lives and that Jett can have the peace he never had in life.
John Travolta and Kelly Preston at the extortion hearing in the Bahamas yesterday: