Michael Jackson’s family are maintaining the late singer’s innocence, despite accusations made in the new documentary, Leaving Neverland.
Dan Reed's film - air on Channel 4 on Wednesday, March 6 and Thursday, March 7 2019 - explores the story James Safechuck and Wade Robson, both of whom claim to have been sexually abused by Michael Jackson when they were children.
In a statement released back in January, the Jacksons called Safechuck and Robson “opportunists”, saying that Michael had been found innocent in a jury trial, and that the singer had been subjected to a “thorough investigation”.
Jackson’s estate have denounced the film, calling it “yet another lurid production in an outrageous and pathetic attempt to exploit and cash in on Michael Jackson.”
Over the years, the Jackson family have fervently denied the accusations of paedophillia that emerged during Michael's lifetime, and after his death.
But there have also been occasions where their faith in the singer's innocence seemed to waiver.
Perhaps the second most famous Jackson sibling, Janet rarely addresses the allegations made against her brother. However, in 2016, she commented: “Now if this really went on, do you think a father would accept money? Do you think that would make everything OK? It doesn’t make any sense. If that was my son, I don’t care if he gave me a billion dollars, I want to see you either behind bars or dead for doing that to my son. It’s crazy – the guy was after money – that is all he wanted.”
Michael’s brother Jermaine publicly supported his sibling in the wake of the civil lawsuit, filed against Michael in 1993, which claimed that the singer molested 13-year-old Jordan Chandler. After these accusations, Jermaine was quoted as saying: “We support our brother wholeheartedly.”
But, during that same year, in an interview with the Daily Express, Jermaine said of the allegations against Michael: “I love him, but you have to wonder if there might not be some truth in it.”
Responding to Leaving Neverland in January 2019, Jermaine told ITV's Good Morning Britain: “Michael was tried by a jury of his peers and he was acquitted.” He added: “There was no real evidence, there was nothing there and I will say this - our family are tired.”
Michael’s sister La Toya has also given apparently contradictory statements about her brother’s innocence. After the 1993 allegations, she stated: “I just think Michael needs help. This has been going on since 1981, and it's not just one child. Now you stop and you think for one second and you tell me what 35-year-old man is going to take a little boy and stay with him for 30 days and take another boy and stay with him for five days in a room and never leave the room?’’ La Toya also reportedly said she had seen the cheques, written by her brother with the intention of paying off children.
La Toya later addressed these statements, saying: “I never believed for a minute my brother was guilty of anything like that. When I spoke to Michael about it years later, he told me he knew it wasn’t me saying those things. I didn’t even have to explain it to him – he wouldn’t let me. You have to know how good that made me feel. He always knew it wasn’t true.’’
La Toya previously claimed that her mother Katherine was “outraged” when she found evidence that her son, Michael, was making payments to the families of children that he had allegedly abused.
Speaking to NBC in 1993 about the extent of her mother’s awareness, La Toya said: “There were two cheques that I know of that she has shown me and it’s for a substantial amount of money and she was outraged over it.” She added: “My mother is very much aware of the children that were there. All the boys that stayed there.”
However, after the 1993 allegations, Katherine released a statement herself, saying: “I'd like to let the world know that I'm behind my son. I don't believe any of this stuff that's being written about him because I raised him and I know that's just a statement people are making.”
Jackie, Tito and Marlon
Speaking to CBS This Morning in February 2019, Michael’s three brothers – along with his nephew Taj – addressed the allegations in Leaving Neverland. They argued that Safechuck and Robson were just trying to get money from Jackson’s estate.
Jackie said: “I know Michael. I’m the oldest brother. I know my brother. I know what he stood for, what he was all about, bringing the world together, making kids happy."