Three of Michael Jackson’s brothers and his nephew defended the late singer against charges of child sexual abuse made in Leaving Neverland, Dan Reed’s shattering documentary airing this weekend on HBO.
Appearing today on CBS This Morning as part of the morning show’s three-day look at the documentary, the Jacksons insisted that the film is untruthful and the two men making the explosive accusations are lying in an attempt to get money from the Jackson estate. (Watch the segment above).
None of the four Jacksons – brothers Tito, Marlon and Jackie, and nephew Taj – have seen the documentary. “I know my brother,” Jackie Jackson said. “He’s my little brother. I know my brother. He’s not like that.”
Leaving Neverland focuses on Jackson accusers Wade Robson and James Safechuck, who claim, in graphic detail, that Michael Jackson sexually abused them for years when they were children.
Today, the Jacksons denied the claims, as they have since the film made its much-discussed debut at this year’s Sundance Film Festival, and dismissed Robson and Safechuck as motivated by money. The accusers, whose lawsuit against the Jackson estate was dismissed, are appealing that ruling.
“It’s always been about money,” Taj Jackson said. “I hate to say it when it’s my uncle, it’s almost like they see a blank check. These people felt that they’re owed something. You know, instead of working for something, they blame everything on my uncle.”
Marlon Jackson said the film “is not telling the truth.”
“There has not been not one piece of evidence that corroborates their story,” Marlon said. “And they’re not interested in doing that.” None of the brothers or nephew offered what, exactly, such evidence might be.
The Jacksons’ appearance on CBS This Morning is the second part of the show’s exclusive three-day series. Yesterday, Leaving Neverland director Dan Reed explained his decision not to interview the Jackson family for the film: “No one else was in the room, I don’t believe, when Wade [Robson] was being molested by Michael or when James [Safechuck] was having sex with Michael.”
Tomorrow’s installment of the CBS This Morning series will be an interview with Robson and Safechuck.
Today, CBS This Morning co-anchor Gayle King asked the Jackson’s about Michael’s famous “sleepovers” with children. The brothers and nephew continued the family’s longstanding narrative that the “slumber parties” were innocent. Marlon Jackson today even criticized anchor Gayle King’s description of Michael “sharing his bed” as having untoward connotations.
“I grew up in it, so for me it wasn’t odd,” Taj Jackson said. “You know, I think, to the outside world, yes, I think it can be odd. I mean, I’m not oblivious to what it sounds like. But when you’re actually there in that atmosphere and you’re around it, and you’re watching movies, whether, with his kids, whether it’s Little Rascals or Three Stooges, and you’re watching these things, it’s like, it’s very innocent. But I think, the fault on my uncle was he just, he didn’t have that bone in his body to look at it the other way. And I think that was the thing, is that his naiveté was his downfall in a way.”
Said Jackie Jackson, “Michael was always a kid at heart.”
But yesterday director Reed took aim directly at that characterization. “I think for many years Jackson got away with this image of being a bit of a child himself and being very affectionate with children, and I wanted to make sure people understood this wasn’t overenthusiastic kissing or cuddling,” Reed said. “This was sex, the kind of sex adults have but he was having with a little child.”
Robson and Safechuck will be interviewed tomorrow on CBS This Morning. The two-part Leaving Neverland airs Sunday, March 3 and Monday, March 4 (8-10 pm ET/PT both nights) on HBO.
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