(Updated: March 8, 2019)
(Second Update: March 25, 2019)
Because if you watched a 4 hour special and an Oprah interview, you deserve the other side of the story without getting too much more of your time wasted. There’s a lot of information out there that will give you a headache to sort through, so I suffered the headache for you and made a concise list of what I believe is the most pertinent information. I’ll provide links and videos though, in case you have more than ten minutes and want to verify these claims.
And no — this is absolutely NOT about discrediting abuse survivors. This is about Robson, Safechuck, and a dead man who cannot defend himself against new allegations.
All right. Let’s go.
1). The law does not protect the dead from defamation of character.
2). Michael Jackson, outside of his knowledge, was thoroughly investigated by the FBI, including during years coinciding with the alleged abuse described in this documentary. Furthermore, Neverland was randomly searched from top to bottom and he was investigated by Child Protective Services. No evidence of wrongdoing was ever found.
Michael Jackson (1958-2009) was a famous singer and entertainer. Between 1993 and 1994 and separately between 2004 and…
*Specific FBI pages addressing Jackson’s molestation investigations: https://artsbeat.blogs.nytimes.com/2009/12/22/fbi-releases-files-on-michael-jackson/
3). Wade Robson, at 22 years of age, testified under oath in Jackson’s 2005 child molestation trial that Jackson had never touched him in a sexual manner. Jackson died in 2009. Wade’s first molestation allegations occurred in 2012 and he filed a lawsuit in 2013.
In the petition to the court, Robson claimed that when he was a child, Jackson made a “prophesy” that Robson would be a film director. When Robson was chosen to direct a Step Up film, he believed the “prophesy” was coming true and could not handle the pressure. He subsequently suffered a mental breakdown, went to therapy, and had some sort of thought about his son that led him to realize he had been sexually molested by Jackson for seven years between the ages of 7 and 14.
Read Robson’s Claim (Story on page 6): Petition to Court
Direct quote from the petition (also on page 6):
Claimant lacked any understanding that his long-term childhood relationship with Decedent included ongoing sexual abuse over a seven-year period — the acts giving rise to this claim — prior to May 8, 2012.
Wade was apparently 30 years old before he understood anything whatsoever about his alleged childhood/teen sexual abuse. His actions prior to 2012, such as begging for a role for the MJ-themed Cirque du Soleil show in 2011, were done while still “lacking understanding” of sexual abuse.
For the record, Robson didn’t get the job at Cirque du Soleil.
In 1993, James Safechuck testified under oath that Jackson never sexually abused him. He did not make allegations against Jackson until 2014, a year after Robson. With Robson’s lawyers by his side, Safechuck states that he did not realize he had been sexually abused until he began therapy in 2013 (at age 35). Yet, the document later implies Safechuck actually did understand the inappropriateness of his alleged interactions with Jackson far earlier than 2013 because he reportedly panicked over the prospect of his relationship with Jackson being exposed during the 2005 trial. Additionally, he feared he would have pedophilic urges after his son was born in 2010. After this, he identifies learning about Robson’s 2013 lawsuit as another trigger for fearing his childhood sexual abuse would be exposed, and then having an “aha” moment about needing therapy after hearing Robson’s story. The entirety of the document reads as though Safechuck was always in turmoil over the abuse that he may or may not have consciously comprehended…
Confused? Me too. You can read the document for yourself here: Safechuck’s Declaration.
Regardless, both men’s lawsuits (and later amended lawsuits with tweaked details) were tossed out by the court, more or less due to technicalities like Jackson being dead and his estate not being responsible for what he may or may not have done twenty or more years ago.
[EDIT: It is important for me to add here that the second lawsuits were thrown out for more than just statute of limitations issues. Particularly in the case of Robson, summoned emails caught him in blatant lies about his abuse claims. He had sworn under oath (in 2016) that he had only discussed his abuse in one written communication, only to have thousands of emails surface showcasing him crafting and changing his story, as well as attempting (but failing) to get a book deal out of it. Check it out for yourself; scroll down to the lawsuit against HBO. View page 14, lines 5–26.]
Robson and Safechuck are currently awaiting another court date in the aftermath of Leaving Neverland. They have been adamant that they were not paid for filming the documentary and are not seeking financial gain…
Though their lawsuits seek millions of dollars from the Michael Jackson Estate, and Robson was revealed to have sold Jackson memorabilia a few years back.
[EDIT: To coincide with the release of Leaving Neverland, the Robsons have a child abuse charity, a very commendable thing if they are genuinely working to help child abuser survivors. However, followers of the organization have noticed slight changes recently made to the website to eliminate contradictory claims that appear in the documentary. Make what you will out of that.]
4). The graphic and detailed descriptions of sexual abuse Robson and Safechuck give are a selling point for the documentary. However, it has been noticed that the details echo descriptions from the book, Michael Jackson was My Lover: The Secret Diary of Jordie Chandler.
Michael Jackson won a $2.7 million slander lawsuit against the author, Victor M. Gutierrez, in 1998, after he’d made false claims about having a video tape featuring Jackson and an under-aged boy.
A little extra information…
Jordan Chandler, the boy at the center of the 1992 allegations, is the reason Jackson’s name became affiliated with pedophilia. While most know Chandler was “paid off” with $20 million, it’s less commonly known that Chandler’s father was caught plotting extortion from Jackson and using the allegations as a cover. The Chandler family filed a civil lawsuit for negligence and a criminal lawsuit for molestation against Jackson while plotting extortion. Jackson was on tour and his team risked losing $100 million if he spent too much time in court. Thus, they figured it best to settle the civil suit out of court, so they could focus on the molestation charges. However, once the Chandlers got their hands on $20 million from the civil suit, they were no longer interested in a criminal trial for the “alleged” molestation. Unfortunately, this left the door wide open for future allegations.
5). Of course, charges of child molestation were brought up against Jackson again, resulting in his infamous 2005 trial. He was found not-guilty on all charges, and was never again accused of child molestation — in life, at least.
To clear up any common misconceptions about the trial:
6). Wade Robson states in Leaving Neverland that Macauley Culkin and Brett Barnes replaced him once he was too old for Jackson. The insinuation is that they too, were molested by Jackson. Both men deny ever being touched inappropriately by Jackson, and Brett Barnes has threatened to sue over the insinuation.
7). The Michael Jackson Estate has already filed a $100 million lawsuit over Leaving Neverland. They had a lot to say about the documentary, even slammed Robson’s previous attempts to sue the estate by saying:
The judge found that no rational fact-finder could possibly believe Robson’s sworn statement.
On a side-note — people get very caught up on the fact that these kids “slept with” Jackson. That is because our everyday vernacular has turned the phrase “sleeping with” into a sexual concept. But sometimes, it very literally does just mean “going to sleep” without engaging in sexual activity and/or molesting anyone.
Secondly, we make the mistake of thinking Jackson’s Neverland bedroom is the same as the bedrooms the rest of us sleep in each night — an average sized room with a bed. However, according to Macaulay Culkin, Jackson’s Neverland bedroom had two floors and three bathrooms — so basically, the size of (or bigger) than most of our homes. Knowing the size of Jackson’s bedroom makes it seem less sinister that guests slept there. Even Robson’s original and amended lawsuits (with the changing details of what happened each night he was there, and the musical chairs about who slept where) do not hide the fact that there were multiple beds in the area referred to as Jackson’s “bedroom.” So whether you were sleeping on the first floor or second floor, this bed or that bed — you were still in “Jackson’s bedroom” and sleeping in “his bed”.
With a bedroom the size of most people’s houses, it makes sense that Jackson had an alarm system around it. I can only imagine the security throughout Neverland had to be pretty extensive. Michael Jackson was, after all, the biggest celebrity in the world.
In summary, if you are trying to sort out your feelings on Michael Jackson after Leaving Neverland and the Oprah’s stint, it is worth taking a closer look at what IS NOT featured in the documentary just as much as what is featured in it. You may find that you don’t quite want to follow Robson’s lead and make a bonfire out of your MJ items after all…Or at the very least, you can sell them (like Robson actually did).
Abuse survivors need our support, and they especially need to be listened to when they are brave enough to speak out. However, we have to be cautious to not let the #MeToo movement jump the shark. If we accept all allegations without turning a critical eye when necessary, and we allow the #MeToo movement to justify putting the dead on trial, we won’t be doing anything but opening Pandora’s box. And real survivors of abuse deserve better than that.
No one should be using such a sensitive topic for a personal agenda. Period.
As for Jackson’s legacy — let us remember not a single dollar goes into his pockets anymore. He is dead. According to his will, his money should be benefiting his elderly mother, his children who have been orphaned, and charity. To date, his estate has brought in at least $1 billion since his death. That means, if his wishes are followed, there’s about $200 million to spare for charities. That’s probably more than any living celebrity has given to charity lately.
With this in mind, ask yourself if it makes sense to “Say Goodbye” to Jackson as Oprah urged. Punish children, an elderly woman, and only God knows how many charities, all because two men recited some ugly stories they know can’t be proven?
Let’s focus on the predators who are alive, with solid evidence of wrongdoing behind them. There are real victims out here who currently need protection.
[EDIT: Over the weekend, Diana Ross was attacked by Leaving Neverland fans for supporting Jackson. Meanwhile, Barbra Streisand made (and retracted) a comment in very poor taste that ironically echoed precisely the film’s problematic narrative. Cue the renewed debate and outrage. So here are a few major issues with Leaving Neverland that reveal its untruthfulness. If you have a few extra minutes and need more convincing, please continue.]
1). Robson claims so much of his abuse occurred between the ages of 7–9. Yet, he wasn’t even in contact with Jackson those years, as explained by his own mother in 2011 (i.e. before the allegations). Robson met Jackson at age 5 after winning a contest and attempted to use this as ammunition for a dance career career in Australia, but had little success. The Robsons moved to the U.S. for Jackson’s help when Wade was turning 9, but didn’t even get to work with him as much as they wanted.
2). The Leaving Neverland duo claim Jackson attempted to turn them against women, but fail to mention Jackson set up Robson with his own niece, Brandi Jackson. After playdates arranged by Jackson, the two formed a friendship that turned into puppy-love, and then went on to date throughout their teens and early 20s until Robson cheated on her with Britney Spears (as chronicled in the song “Cry Me A River”), the wife of another major superstar, and allegedly, an under-aged girl.
3). Robson tells the story of having dinner with Jackson the night before testifying in the 2005 trial. Seeing Jackson’s children supposedly motivated him to lie for Jackson. However, Jackson’s nephew was present at the dinner and revealed that it occurred after Robson had already testified.
This clip has since been removed from Leaving Neverland outside of the U.S., although Dan Reed gives the excuse of making room for commercials.
Watch from the 29:24 mark to see how the scene was cut.
4). James Safechuck tells a dramatic story about being bullied to testify for Jackson in the 2005 trial, which he ultimately declined doing. In reality, he was never asked to testify. The judge had already approved the list of people who would testify months in advance, and Safechuck hadn’t made the cut. He was too old and his time with Jackson had been too long ago. He was irrelevant. A non-entity. No one was calling him.
View from the 16:04 to 18:02 mark.
5). If there was ever any question of Jackson spending Thanksgiving with the Safechucks in 1987, it’s worth noting Jackson was on tour, performing in Australia (where he met 5 year old Robson before falling out of touch with him during the years he’s allegedly being molested). Jackson was with his bandmates, not the Safechucks.
And let’s not forget, Jackson was a Jehovah’s Witness and wasn’t big on the holidays, especially in the 1980s. He left the church, but still didn’t even celebrate his first Christmas until 1993 when Elizabeth Taylor threw him a party.
6). Safechuck says Jackson took him to Euro Disney on a “honeymoon” in 1988. Euro Disney did not exist until 1992. Of course, this is another story that gets the axe to “make room for commercials.”
When you’re telling the truth, you don’t need so many co-starring lies. These items only scratch the surface of what has been fact-checked in the last few weeks. But for the sake of time and not wanting to write a whole new article, I’ll stop here.