Music

Tue, 9 Apr, 2019Joanita Wibowo

Leaving Neverland controversy: Michael Jackson’s family hit back with their own documentary

Leaving Neverland controversy: Michael Jackson’s family hit back with their own documentary

Michael Jackson’s family has hit back at child sex abuse claims against the singer with their own documentary.

The half-hour doco, Neverland Firsthand: Investigating the Michael Jackson Documentary, which was released on YouTubeaims to refute the allegations made in the controversial HBO doco Leaving Neverland.

In the mini-doco, Jackson’s nephew Taj Jackson and niece Brandi Jackson questioned the credibility of Robson and Safechuck’s claims that they were abused as children by the late singer.

Taj dismissed the allegations as an example of people taking advantage of his uncle’s “niceness” throughout his career.

Brandi, who was in a relationship with Robson for seven years, described him as an “opportunist” and suggested he went public with the allegations to profit from them.

“He has always been a bit of an opportunist, he knows how to position himself into different situations that will benefit him in a financial way,” she said in the film produced by Liam McEwan.

“He’s saying that he was in a relationship with my uncle, that they were in love, and that they were having a relationship, if you will. He’s saying that my uncle kept him from women, which is not true.

“We were just talking about how my uncle put us together. It would discredit the things that he’s trying to claim, and I find it fascinating that he thinks he’s able to just erase 10 years of his life.”

Robson’s lawyer has issued a statement in response to Brandi’s comments: “Ms Jackson was not with Wade and Michael Jackson when the sexual abuse occurred, and as such, she has nothing relevant to say about the topic.”

The short film also featured Jackson’s technical director Brad Sundberg, who came to the pop star’s defense despite admitting that he could not say for certain that “nothing happened” in the Neverland Ranch.

“Not in a million years did I ever see a child around Michael Jackson that looked like they had been distressed, hurt, abused,” said Sundberg. “[Neverland] was such a peaceful, safe, fun place.”

Last week, the director of Leaving Neverland, Dan Reed, responded to critics suggesting that his HBO doco has a factual inaccuracy. Recent reports said that Safechuck could not have been molested at the Neverland train station between 1988 and 1992, as the station was not built until 1994.

Reed responded on Twitter: “Yeah there seems to be no doubt about the station date. The date they have wrong is the end of the abuse.”

In February, Jackson’s family filed a lawsuit against HBO for “[disparaging] Jackson’s legacy by airing a one-sided hit piece against Jackson based exclusively on the false accounts of two proven, serial perjurers.”

Jackson, who died in June 2009, settled a child sexual abuse lawsuit out of court in 1993. In 2005, the singer was found not guilty of molesting a 13-year-old boy.

Have you watched the Leaving Neverland documentary? Let us know in the comments below.