Michael Jackson Testifies At Trial
Michael Jackson Testifies At Trial

What Jackson doco didn’t tell you

SPANNING more than three hours, Leaving Neverland details Wade Robson and James Safechuck's allegations they were sexually abused by Michael Jackson as children.

But while the documentary recounts both men's damning claims against the singer, Leaving Neverland doesn't include every aspect of the decades-long allegations against Jackson, who died in 2009 of a drug overdose.

Some parts, such as testimony from the singer's staff and his own family, have been purposely omitted by director Dan Reed, who argued they needed to be left it out in favour of focusing on the victims' voices.

However, those omissions and others, like the long-running Federal Bureau of Investigation probe into Jackson that never resulted in conviction, have been seized on by the singer's supporters who have claimed the film is one-sided as a result.

Michael Jackson: Was the king of pop also a paedophile? The documentary ‘Leaving Neverland’ says he was. Picture: Jim Ruyman-Pool/Getty Images
Michael Jackson: Was the king of pop also a paedophile? The documentary ‘Leaving Neverland’ says he was. Picture: Jim Ruyman-Pool/Getty Images


Mr Robson and Mr Safechuck's failed legal action against the late singer and previous claims they were never sexually abused by the singer have been highlighted again and again by Jackson "truthers" in the wake of Leaving Neverland's release.

Mr Robson testified Jackson never molested him during the 2005 trial, however came forward in 2013 to say he had been lying because he was too psychologically damaged to reveal he was a victim.

The Australian-born choreographer took legal action against Jackson's estate alleging he had been sexually abused by the singer that same year, with Mr Safechuck coming forward with claims he was another Jackson victim in similar legal proceedings in 2014.

Mr Safechuck gave evidence as a child that Jackson never molested him in Jordan Chandler's 1993 civil sex abuse case against the singer, which was later settled out of court for a rumoured $US20 million.

In 2015, a court ruled Mr Robson took too long to launch legal action against Jackson to make a claim on his estate.


Wade Robson, director Dan Reed and James Safechuck. Picture: Taylor Jewell/Invision/AP
Wade Robson, director Dan Reed and James Safechuck. Picture: Taylor Jewell/Invision/AP

Two years later, a judge decided the late singer's companies MJJ Productions Inc and MJJ Ventures Inc couldn't be found liable for Jackson's alleged abuse of Mr Robson, a decision that was not made based on the credibility of the choreographer's claims.

That same year Mr Robson and Mr Safechuck's legal proceedings were dismissed, the New York Post reports.

Both men have appealed the ruling, with a decision from the appellate court expected to be made later this year, USA Today reports.

Speaking to the Associated Press in January, Mr Robson and Mr Safechuck's solicitor Vince Finaldi emphasised both men's legal proceedings were dismissed in 2017 for technical reasons and not because they weren't credible.

"There were never any rulings to the court as to their testimony," he said "We stand by our clients, and we believe them, and we fully expect them to be vindicated."


The FBI's long-running investigation into child sex abuse allegations against Jackson is often cited as "proof'" by supporters that he was innocent of all claims.

After the singer's death in 2009, 333 of 600 pages detailing the FBI probe were released thanks to a Freedom of Information Act request, with the remaining pages redacted for either privacy or procedural confidentiality reasons.

The files reveal the FBI first began investigating the singer in September 1993 for a "possible federal violation against Jackson concerning transportation of a minor across state lines for immoral purposes", according to CNN.

The files detail the US attorney's office was "not interested" in pursuing Jackson over the allegations, but the FBI continued to investigate other claims against the singer.

Detectives visited former Neverland ranch managers Mariano and Fay Quindoy in the Philippines, with an FBI agent writing in a file "they felt they had been successful in their interviews".

A social worker in Canada was also interviewed by the FBI and claimed she heard "questionable noises" through the wall of an overnight train from Chicago to Los Angeles occupied by Jackson, "adult staff" and a boy, "ID'd as Michael's 'cousin'," an agent wrote.

The investigation against Jackson concluded in August 1994 as there were "no outstanding leads".

The file noted the Los Angeles prosecutor "was still in the process of deciding whether or not to file charges against Jackson", but no charges were ultimately filed.

In 2004, the FBI again provided police with assistance in investigating claims against the singer, forensically analysing 16 computers from Jackson's home and finding nothing of note, according to Billboard.

In September that year the FBI was asked to look at possible sex charges against the singer after the discovery of an unnamed alleged victim living in New York, CNN reports.

However, the case was closed after the alleged victim told the FBI he would "legally fight" any attempts to try and make him testify against Jackson.

After the FBI file release, Jackson's lead solicitor during his 2005 child abuse trial Tom Mesereau claimed it proved the singer wasn't a child molester.

"He was not a criminal, and he was not a paedophile," he told the Associated Press in 2009. "The fact that so many agencies investigated him and couldn't find anything proves he was completely innocent."

Marlon Jackson, Jackie Jackson, Tito Jackson and Tito's son Taj Jackson. Picture: Chris Pizzello/Invision/AP
Marlon Jackson, Jackie Jackson, Tito Jackson and Tito's son Taj Jackson. Picture: Chris Pizzello/Invision/AP


While Leaving Neverland goes into extensive detail about the sex abuse allegations levelled at Jackson, no members of his family or his estate were given the opportunity to respond to the claims.

Reed's move not to include a statement from Jackson's family in his documentary has angered his relatives and led to accusations from the singer's supporters that Leaving Neverland was one-sided.

The Jackson family now plan to sue HBO over airing the documentary in the US.

"So (Reed) took what (Mr Safechuck and Mr Robson) were saying - face value - as to be true. But he trusted them - which there's nothing wrong with that - but you must verify," the late singer's brother Jackie Jackson told CBS This Morning last month.

"Because when you start throwing allegations out about someone, then you got to go back and say, 'Wait a minute, let me make sure I'm telling the right thing. Make sure they're not selling me a bunch of goods'. Which they were."

But Reed has defended his decision not to include Jackson's family in the documentary, telling the Huffington Post Leaving Neverland was about Mr Safechuck and Mr Robson's accounts.

"People with no direct knowledge of that story or of those events don't have a place in the film." he said.

"They're welcome to speak out, as they are doing now. But I do not see why I should include people who cannot possibly know the truth of what happened."

While Jackson's male relatives have spoken in support of the late singer, his sisters have so far remained silent.

In 1993, sister La Toya Jackson claimed her brother was "definitely" a paedophile, and she had seen "very, very large sums" of money paid to the parents of children who Jackson had sleepovers with.

La Toya gave a press conference in Israel addressing the claims made by Jordan Chandler, telling the press pack she "cannot, and will not, be a silent collaborator of his crimes against small, innocent children".

The rest of the Jackson family denounced La Toya over the explosive claims. Years later she recanted her statements, claiming she was pressured to make them by her then-husband Jack Gordon.

La Toya Jackson explosively claimed in 1993 she suspected her brother was a paedophile but later retracted the claims. Picture: AP Photo/Nick Ut
La Toya Jackson explosively claimed in 1993 she suspected her brother was a paedophile but later retracted the claims. Picture: AP Photo/Nick Ut


Despite references to Jackson's staff members throughout Leaving Neverland, Reed chose not to include their accounts of the singer in the documentary, however he did speak to some of his ex-employees and read their court testimony.

Reed told the Huffington Post while some staff reported seeing "glimpses" of Jackson in suspicious circumstances - such as appearing to shower with Mr Robson - they amounted to "circumstantial corroboration".

"What we have in the story is from the horse's mouth. We have the child speaking about what happened to him, and I didn't know how much more credible it would appear if I have a maid going, 'Well, yeah, I saw Wade'," he explained.

"Some of these accounts were challenged by Michael's lawyers in court anyway, and in a very general way, the tabloid frenzy around the story at the time.

"The payments that were made to various members of the household slightly tainted that whole dimension of the story in my view and, I think, in many people's eyes."

Jackson's staff have varying accounts of the singer, with some maintaining he is innocent of all accusations, while others were suspicious of his actions.

Adrian McManus, who worked as Jackson's maid from 1990 to 1994, told 60 Minutes last month she felt uneasy cleaning up after the pop star at Neverland.

Ms McManus, whose eyewitness account was disputed by other staff during Jackson's 2005 child sex abuse trial, claimed she would often find little boys' underwear either "on the floor with Michael's, or they were in the jacuzzi", as well as "a lot of vaseline" around Neverland.

"Sometimes it was found in the golf carts when Mr Jackson would take off with the boys," she said. "And there was a lot of vaseline in Michael's bedroom. It was actually all over the ranch."

Meanwhile, Jackson's makeup artist of nearly three decades Karen Faye has always maintained the singer is innocent.

Ms Faye denied Jackson was a paedophile following his death and most recently defended him on Twitter after Leaving Neverland aired.

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