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Dublin: 15°C Tuesday 16 August 2022

Michael Jackson's nephew defends his uncle ahead of documentary on alleged abuse

The first part of Leaving Neverland airs on Channel 4 tonight at 9pm.

Michael Jackson fans stage a protest outside the headquarters of Channel 4.
Michael Jackson fans stage a protest outside the headquarters of Channel 4.
Image: Yui Mok

MICHAEL JACKSON’S NEPHEW has reiterated his support for the pop icon, hours before a controversial Channel 4 documentary is to air outlining allegations of sexual abuse against Michael Jackson.

Taj Jackson, a spokesperson for the Jackson family, spoke to RTÉ’s Today with Sean O’Rourke show about Leaving Neverland, where two men Wade Robson (36) and James Safechuck (41) outline the abuse they allege to have been subjected to.

He said that he believes his uncle is innocent, and accused Robson and Safechuck of making false accusations for money.

“You know your family, I spent thousands of hours with my uncle Michael… I wouldn’t have flown to the UK to defend him if I thought for one instant that he was guilty.”

Source: Sky News/YouTube

On sleepovers in Jackson’s home, Taj Jackson expanded on the phrase used was “shared a bed”.

It wasn’t only boys, it was girls, it was cousins, it was everyone… but also my uncle would give them the bed and he’d sleep on the floor.
I know what it sounds like, I’m not oblivious to what it sounds like.

Meanwhile, protesters gathered outside Channel 4 offices to protest against the documentary being aired and to show their support for the pop icon.

About the documentary

The first part of Leaving Neverland, a four-hour film by British director Dan Reed, will air tonight on Channel 4 at 9pm; the second part will air tomorrow at the same time. US cable network HBO will air it in two parts, starting Sunday.

The testimonies by the two men is reported to be quite harrowing and detailed, so much so that counseling was made available at its Sundance Film Festival premiere in January.

Both allege that Jackson wooed them: claiming he invited them into his “fairytale existence”, gained their families’ trust and manipulated them into keeping their sexual relations secret.

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Reed said he tried to include “sexual detail in a very measured way, so it wasn’t done for shock value.”

“We tried to make it graphic enough to be eye-opening and for people to be confronted with what it means for a little child to be seduced and raped by an adult pedophile,” Reed told AFP.

“Of course it’s shocking. It’s a very serious crime. And it shouldn’t be glossed over.”

It’s not the first public airing of abuse claims against Jackson but the release marks the scandal’s first major explosion since his fatal overdose at age 50, almost 10 years ago.

With reporting from © AFP 2019. You can listen to the RTÉ interview in full here

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