Everyone will have noticed the sudden explosion of new Michael Jackson stories, claims and allegations, that have hit newspapers and websites in the passed fortnight or so – in the wake of the Sundance Film Festival screening of the film Leaving Neverland.
The claims have all emerged in the wake of the 4-hour documentary detailing the claims of two individuals who claim Jackson abused them over a period of years as children.
My chief question here is why. Or why now, specifically? And is there any truth to these very disturbing claims or is something else going on?
And, just as importantly, how does this relate to the broader question about alleged child abuse in parts of Hollywood and the entertainment industry and in some elite circles? I want to come to that matter, because I have some thoughts on how this whole Michael Jackson saga might relate to it: but I first want to pick through some of the current stories in the media and what we know about the Leaving Neverland film.
My approach here is to be as even-handed as possible. I have no idea whether Michael Jackson did or didn’t do inappropriate things with children. I’ve always been totally 50/50 on that subject.
I’m not a big Michael Jackson fan necessarily. I haven’t listened to his music for many years (I got turned off when he started getting a bit too messianic for my tastes): but I was a huge fan of his when I was a little kid in the eighties, I still love some of that music, and I still find him a fascinating personality.
It’s no secret that Jackson was a weird guy.
Clearly, some also see him as sinister: I’ve never been able to make that leap. Weird, sure, a little ‘damaged’ perhaps, and extraordinarily naive too. Also, yes, he could be a little creepy. The Michael Jackson we saw in parts of the infamous Martin Bashir documentary (the documentary that spawned the saga of the Gavin Arviso case that saw Jackson brought to trial) was genuinely a creepy guy, uncomfortable to watch.
That Michael Jackson, unlike the pop music genius I grew up with in the 80s, made me squirm a little.
However, it’s always been clear as day that Jackson – perhaps inevitably as a result of his unusual life and childhood – lived in a very warped reality bubble. He openly, literally saw himself as a real-life Peter Pan – the boy who never grows up, but retains the innocence of childhood forever, and who rejects the grown-up world entirely.
Hence, the ‘Neverland’ ranch – on one hand an attempt to manifest the childhood that he himself had never had, and on the other hand a real-world manifestation of a mythical or fairytale place or idea.
And, of course, the fairytale Peter Pan goes around with his gang of Lost Boys – fellow kids he has gathered to join in him in this never-ending childhood dream, away from the cynicism or corruption of the grown-up world. Neverland – both in the fairytale sense and in the Michael Jackson estate sense – seemed to represent the idea of child-like play and escapism. A refuge for Jackson himself as a permanent child-like personality, and often a refuge for actual children.
It’s hard to know whether this dynamic led him to inappropriate behaivour with young boys, or whether his Peter Pan make-believe life simply led to a lot misinterpretation or misunderstanding of what was going on.
It has always been possible that, what to sceptical observers from the outside, looked like inappropriate behaviour with children (perhaps understandably), was in fact just behaviour that a more ‘worldly’ grown-up wouldn’t be able to understand – unless they could somehow put themselves into the mind of a Peter Pan obsessed adult with the permanent psychology of a little boy.
That’s always been the problem with trying to figure out Michael Jackson in regard to these kinds of allegations: Michael Jackson was not Bill Cosby. That doesn’t mean he was innocent, strictly speaking: I acknowledge that.
Let’s start with what we know about Leaving Neverland.
The contents of Leaving Neverland were, we’re told, so disturbing that many of people in the screening were palpably shaken. I haven’t seen the film yet: and most people haven’t, but are reacting only to what we’ve seen reported about the film’s content.
Leaving Neverland focuses on the claims of two people – Wade Robson and Jimmy Safechuck – who both were around Jackson when they were kids and who both claim Jackson sexually exploited them.
Wade Johnson (pictured below) is a dancer, choreographer, agent, TV star and aspiring film producer, who been involved in films, music videos, and talent shows on MTV and FOX. I’d never heard of him until last week: but apparently he’s a minor celebrity himself. The problem with Robson’s claims in Leaving Neverland is that Robson previously publicly came to Jackson’s defense in 2005 when the star was facing child abuse charges, saying that he (Robson) had slept in Jackson’s bedroom multiple times but had never been molested.
He was in fact a witness in Jackson’s defense proceedings in 2005, defending Jackson from the accusations being brought by the parents of Gavin Arviso (pictured above) eight years or so later, he was appearing on TV, calling Jackson a ‘paedophile and sexual predator’ and claiming that, actually, he had been abused by Jackson the whole time. He literally went from saying MJ had never once molested him to saying “it happened every time we were together”.
Meanwhile, according to the Wikipedia entry, Jimmy Safechuck said ‘he only realised he may have been abused when Robson filed his lawsuit’.
In other words, until he saw Robson come out with his claims against Jackson, Safechuck seemed to not know he himself had suffered the same abuse or that what he had experienced qualified as sexual abuse.
Does that invalidate his claims? No. The way these things are, it’s also possible that a child doesn’t realise what they’re experiencing is sexual abuse until much later when they come across a new context for the experience: and this prompts them to revisit (possibly repressed or confused) memories and reevaluate them in light of a new understanding. I can accept that entirely.
On the other hand, Robson has been characterised elsewhere as an unreliable source. It’s a fact that both he and his mother had previously sworn under oath that Jackson had never engaged in any inappropriate behaviour with the boy.
So he was either lying then or he is lying now. If he was lying then – which is obviously implied by what he’s saying now – then weren’t he and his mother both breaking the law? If they were literally lying under oath during a trial, shouldn’t they be facing some kind of legal action for that?
Also, the Robson claim, as well as the Jordy Chandler (1993) and Gavin Arviso (2005) cases, have all had a dubious and inconsistent character: Arviso (pictured below), for example, went from being on film apparently having a wonderful time with Jackson at Neverland to suddenly claiming Jackson had been abusing him, while Chandler later admitted it had been his parents who had pushed him into making the allegations against Jackson.
It has also been widely claimed that Chandler later admitted that Jackson was innocent and that the whole thing had been a conspiracy (in the end, the family was paid $20 million to drop the case). Chandler later took the extraordinary step of legally divorcing his own parents: and his father, Evan Chandler (regarded as the person who pushed for the case against Jackson), later committed suicide very shortly after Jackson’s own death in 2009.
Robson’s lawyer claims Jackson was operating the ‘most sophisticated child sexual abuse procurement and facillitation operation the world has ever known’.
Even if the abuse claims against Jackson are true – and they may well be – given what we know (or at least strongly suspect) about the nature and scale of various child-trafficking operations and industrial-scaled abuse of children, it seems very unlikely that Michael Jackson was running ‘the most sophisticated child sexual abuse procurement and facillitation operation the world has ever known’.
I just don’t buy that. There are such operations going on – to this day – that are probably far more comprehensive and systematic (and involving way more participants: take a look at Dyncorp allegations, for one example) than whatever Michael Jackson was alleged to be doing.
I mean, it’s not as if Michael Jackson – if guilty – is the only powerful individual who has been accused of systematically abusing children. That list is of the accused is very long (try this for size): including high-profile politicians, leaders, scores of Catholic Priests, members of royalty, some celebrities, and so on and so forth. Accusers and researchers have pointed to abduction, trafficking and abuse of children on a mass scale for decades: highly organised and systematic and continously covered up.
Very few of those high-profile individuals are ever brought to court: and no high-profile films are made to investigate the allegations against them.
I mean, just to specify one example, when is the Jeffrey Epstein documentary film coming out? Or when will Sundance host a detailed documentary film on Haut de la Garenne on the Queen’s island of Jersey? Seriously, if you’ve never heard the stories about Jersey, they’ll give you nightmares.
So why is all of our attention being focused on the Neverland ranch? The fantasy home of a pop star who’s been dead ten years, who was himself probably abused as a child?
Also, I saw one outlet seem to imply this could be merely the beginning of the rabbit hole and that a Jimmy Saville type scale of revelations might follow.
But let’s be honest here: the scale of the accusations isn’t anything like as huge as with Jimmy Saville. Saville’s activities were off the chart – hundreds and hundreds of cases. As far as I can tell, at the moment the claims against Jackson stem chiefly from two people, with implications elsewhere (the testimony of the maid quoted in The Daily Mail, for example – which I’ll lay out shortly) indicating there may have been a number of others too (but in her claims, the scale is ambiguous). The descriptions I’ve read of Leaving Neverland seem to indicate ‘dozens’ of victims.
Which, if true, would be disgusting: but it doesn’t seem to fit with what Robson’s lawyer says is ‘the most sophisticated child sexual abuse procurement and facillitation operation the world has ever known’.
Sorry, but ‘dozens’ does not amount to ‘the most sophisticated child sexual abuse procurement and facillitation operation the world has ever known’.
But then, maybe this is just the beginning: maybe this stuff will spiral later on.
But let’s just look at some of these current stories cropping up in the media: because I’ve found it odd how many of them have suddenly appeared in the press. It seems to be pretty much every day: as if everyone unanimously decided to recreate the Michael Jackson tabloid feeding frenzy of the past.
Maybe the tabloids are feeling nostalgic.
Some of these stories coming up – not directly linked to the documentary – are quite extraordinary, and the insinuations seem to be more sinister with each new story. I’ve picked a few out here.
According to this one in The Daily Mail: ‘Michael Jackson was a predatory pedophile who sexually abused ‘dozens’ of children, filmed his sick encounters and kept the footage in a secret library hidden at his Neverland ranch…’
In this instance, the claim is forwarded by one of the pop star’s former maids, who says she ‘found Vaseline and tampons next to Jackson’s bed and scattered around the house and recalls the singer having a strange obsession with photos of children… There was a lot of Vaseline around Neverland, a lot in Michael’s bedroom,’ she recalls, in the article. The maid claims ‘she also saw books on masturbation in the bedroom and one time Jackson asked her to laminate photos of naked babies and have them put in his room for decoration.‘
But most disturbing, the article tells its readers, was a large collection of VHS tapes she believes contained ‘intimate’ footage the star filmed with children.
The picture painted, even in this one article, is enough to make you feel a little sick.
Are they true? How are we to know? As often is the case in claims like this – made many years after the time of the alleged incidents – the question arises of why a responsible grown-up like this maid wouldn’t have blown the whistle on her employer (or gone to the police) at the time, rather than waiting years.
In the article, she says of her findings at the time: ‘I didn’t question it, because he was my boss and you just do what you’re supposed to do, but I would wonder…’
Which, if we’re talking about young children being allegedly abused on a significant scale, is a pretty feeble explanation for a lack of action. In fairness to this particular woman, she also explains that she was initimidated and directly threatened on multiple occasions by people around Jackson who warned her not to divulge anything to anyone (as well as by Jackson himself).
I could buy that: so I’m not being dismissive of her claims.
She also makes a curious statement about armed people who threatened her and other staff. I say curious because, if they were just standard bodyguards or security, she would refer to them as such. Instead she says, ‘Nobody knew what these bodyguards were, and everybody was afraid of them. They carried guns and they would tell you little things and pet their guns. These guys were wicked and scary.’
It’s the line “nobody knew what these bodyguards were” that bothers me. I mean, weren’t they just bodyguards? Why doesn’t she just say they were “bodyguards”. Why the ambiguity or mystery?
The maid interviewed above is identified as ‘Adrian McManus‘.
Now her story sounds very similar to the story being put out previously by another maid who worked at Neverland, her claims having surfaced both in 2005 (during the Arviso scandal) and in 1994 (during the Jordy Chandler case).
Her name was Blanca Frankia, and she worked for Jackson between 1986 and 1991. During the Gavin Arviso centered trial in 2005, she claimed she had seen Jackson showering with a young boy (who, it seems, is or was meant to be the Wade Robson who’s central to Leaving Neverland). She reported this in court: bizarrely at the same time as Wade Robson himself was testifying that Michael Jackson had never molested him and wasn’t that kind of person.
In 1994, after the Jordly Chandler case went away, she accused Jackson of having molested her own young son, who she said she often took to Neverland. Having already settled out of court with Jordy Chandler, Jackson apparently paid her $2 million to drop the accusations.
Some might take that payment as an indicator of guilt: on the other hand, Jackson was so wearied and traumatised by the Jordy Chandler affair that he may simply have wanted to spare himself having to through the whole thing all over again (bear in mind that Jackson’s trauma wasn’t just the legal proceedings and questionings, but having his home invaded by some 70 armed officers to arrest him, as well as some very heavy-handed treatment by police and the business of having to have his genitals examined).
What also has to be borne in mind about her testimony at the time (and about all of the ‘witnesses’ who sold their stories to the tabloid press in the 90s) is that she was paid $20,000 for her story; and indeed the tabloids were openly offering huge amounts of money to anyone who came forward with stories about Michael Jackson doing inappropriate things with young boys.
But let’s keep going.
Some of these stories are really weird.
For example, The Sun tells us that ‘Michael Jackson wanted to marry pal Mark Lester’s underage daughter because she looked like Princess Diana’.
Lester, child star of Oliver, is dismissive of the claim, sayng it wasn’t a serious or sinister thing but something innocuous that had been said lightheartedly. The oddest thing about the tabloids running a claim like this one is who the source is: because the source of the claim that Jackson wanted to marry Lester’s 12 year-old daughter is Conrad Murray – the doctor (and Freemason) who served jail time for the involuntary manslaughter of Jackson in 2009.
After doing his time, Murray published a book, This Is It (named after a Jackson song), which is where the claim comes from. I’m not sure the doctor who was charged with manslaughter should be regarded as a credible source: especially when said source is a for-profit endeavour he indulged in to capitalise on his association with the very man he was charged with manslaughtering.
Murray’s book, This Is It!: The Secret lives of Dr. Conrad Murray and Michael Jackson, also makes other claims, such as his claim that Jackson’s children were brainwashed. It could be true; but why did Murray not say anything at the time?
And still the tabloid stories go on.
The Sun tells us, ‘Jackson’s family feared he was grooming his own son, three-year-old Blanket, for sexual abuse’.
That one’s really quite scary. Again, is it true or not? How are we to know? By its definition, it can only be an insinuation – you couldn’t prove something like that.
And then, just as you think it can’t get weirder, The Mirror tells us that ‘Michael Jackson has been accused of assaulting his pet chimp Bubbles by a leading expert.’
Really? The chimp? Even the chimp?!
I mean, this was the one that immediately struck me as seeming the least plausible. But then we’re told the source of this claim is the world’s foremost primatologst, Jane Goodall: which, admittedly, gives us pause for thought.
But really? Was Michael Jackson really that psycopathic that he bought a chimp and then ended up violently abusing it?
Those four stories are just the ones I’ve picked out from the current media frenzy: there are more, but it’s unnecessary to include all of them.
Why are all of these stories and claims cropping up now, ten years after the pop star’s death?
Well, the answer is clearly that it’s because the film Leaving Neverland has gotten so much attention. What’s not clear, however, is what the journalists and newspapers are doing. I mean, did they sit on all these stories for years and years, ignoring them? Only to scramble to dig them all up as soon as Leaving Neverland came along?
I mean, presumably claims like the one about Bubbles the chimp aren’t brand new and, presumably, someone like the maid cited above could’ve been available for interview for a long time.
I can’t decide whether that indicates a planned, coordinated ‘disclosure’ about Michael Jackson, or whether it just indicates lazy media. Probably the latter.
But it seems clearly that the media is actively seeking out these stories right now.
Let’s revisit the Jimmy Saville scandal for a moment, to get some constrast/perspective: no newspaper, radio station of TV broadcaster said SHIT about Jimmy Saville’s extraordinary spree of crimes. And then, only after he was dead and only after one source broke the cover-up, did ALL of the media in unison suddenly pump out weeks and weeks of stories about Saville’s crimes and all the evidence against him.
So where the fuck were all the investigative journalists before that? Generations of journalists had YEARS to investigate Jimmy Saville and it wouldn’t have even taken much to uncover incriminating evidence or testimony.
But they didn’t. Of all the hundreds of accusers who emerged after Saville’s death, at least some of them would’ve presumably been willing and ready to spill the beans on Saville’s monstrous activities for years or even decades – if any journalist, newspapers, filmmaker or TV producer had given them the time of day. Yet no one did: and, despite this, so many TV personalities or journalists later said things like ‘we suspected it for a long time’.
Really? Well, then why didn’t anyone investigate it?
And yet someone some day seemed to decide it was time now for everything to come out: and so it all did, all at once. And the monster was already dead and buried (buried with full military honours, mind), so nothing could be done about it anyway.
To clarify, I’m not equating Jackson to Saville: rather the opposite – I don’t think Jackson, even if he was guilty of these things (which I’m not decisively convinced of), would be comparable to Saville: they’re two very, very different people.
For another thing, Saville seemed to enjoy lifelong immunity from media scrutiny, police investigation or legal action, as well as maintaining links throughout elite circles (see here), whereas Jackson enjoyed nothing of the sort: indeed, the final stages of Jackson’s life consist of stories of ongoing harassment and abuse by police (including physical abuse), as well as the various legal actions against him and accusations.
On the other hand, Saville – a one-man rabbit hole of darkness, who linked together so many strands of elite figures and circles and base, criminal activity – never once had to worry about defending himself.
And yet, on the other hand, the tabloid media (the same tabloid media that never once tried to look into Saville) was openly and actively offering huge cash incentives for people to come forward with allegations about Michael Jackson’s alleged behaviour.
So, again, why are none of the same newspapers doing any big pieces on Jeffrey Epstein, for example?
It’s pretty obvious that there are elements of Hollywood, the entertainment industry and elite circles, in which some very morally dubious things go on: and always have. Why, for so many years, was Michael Jackson being singled out, left out to dry in the public gaze for alleged crimes that probably a number of other high-profile people were engaged in?
What’s particularly curious is this. If there’s one highish-profile former celebrity or child star who is now most associated with accusing Hollywood and entertainment-industry elites of widespread child abuse, it’s the former actor Corey Feldman (who claims to have been abused himself). The Internet is full of Feldman’s claims that high-profile film producers, directors, actors and others have been engaged in systematic sexual abuse of children.
And yet not only has Feldman never implicated Michael Jackson as one of these people – he has, in fact, gone to great lengths to make it clear that Jackson was definitely NOT one of those people.
Why would a guy who’s gone out of his way to expose alleged child abuse in the entertainment industry be so adamant that the celebrity who is most widely accused of such behaviour is innocent of it? Well, you might argue it’s because he was friends with Michael Jackson. But that doesn’t explain anything.
If Feldman, as he claims, was abused himself by powerful individuals in Hollywood, why would he maintain a friendship with a man widely accused of being a sinister child-abuser running the ‘most sophisticated child sexual abuse procurement and facilitation operation the world has ever known‘…?
Yet you can watch Feldman insist on multiple occasions that Michael Jackson was not someone who abused or mistreated children. In fact, in this interview, for example, he explains that – at the very time he was trying to inform various authorities of high-level child abuse going on in the entertainment industry – all of his accusations against various people were being ignored and the authorities kept trying to make him implicate Michael Jackson specifically.
Which he – to this day – refused to do.
This is Feldman, talking about trying to talk to police in 1993 about highly-placed child-abusers in the entertainment industry: “I gave them the names. They have all of the information, it’s all on record. But all they cared about was trying to find something on Michael Jackson… I told them ‘He’s not that guy’. I told them ‘I know the difference between paedophiles and somebody who’s not a paedophile, because I’ve been molested…’
The other thing worth pointing out is that there has never – as far as I can tell – been a claim by any accuser that they were at Neverland against their will.
There remains an odd disparity that the kids who have since spoken out all claim to have – at least at the time – enjoyed their time with Michael Jackson, having generally been fans. And Neverland, of course, was designed to be a child’s dream land: funfairs, animals, cinemas, and god-knows-what-else. Even Wade Robson – the main person making the accusations agaisnt Jackson in this Leaving Neverland movie – had previously (back in 2005) gone on record (and in court) as saying he loved being with Jackson and Neverland and it was all innocent fun.
Likewise, Gavin Arviso (the boy shown in the Bashir documentary and who later took Jackson to court) seemed to say at the time that he loved being with Jackson at Neverland: and the implication was that his parents pushed him into making accusations against Jackson. Arviso’s mother was famously dismissed in the court proceedings as an unreliable witness: and the jury didn’t see enough evidence for Jackson to be found guilty.
Also worth reiterating is that Jordy Chandler, whose accusations against Jackson in the 1990s were where this whole image of Jackson as the child abuser started, later seems to have claimed he hadn’t been abused by Jackson: and that Chandler later took the step of legally divorcing his own parents.
The other point to bear in mind is that it seems to have been well documented that children who went to Neverland – including children who even spent the night there – were generally sent there with the approval of their parents. That was the case with Gavin Arviso, certainly: and with Wade Robson.
That raises two questions. First, what kind of parents send their kids to spend the night with a ‘weird’ guy like Michael Jackson if they suspect there even might be bad things going on? In Arviso’s parents’ case, they were doing this long after the whole ‘Jackson Might Be a Child Abuser’ thing was already well established in popular culture due to the Jordy Chandler case.
And second, if Jackson had all these children willingly staying over, with the parents’ consent, why would he need what Robson’s lawyer says is ‘the most sophisticated child sexual abuse procurement and facillitation operation the world has ever known’…?
Were Jackson or his people paying off the parents? Maybe. If so, the parents of every child accusing Jackson of inappropriate behavior should also be on trial as accomplices to the abuse of their own children or as facillitators for illegal activity involving minors. But then that’s not going to happen either, is it?
What of Michael Jackson himself? Well, he certainly did himself no favours by having young children stay over at Neverland: thus leaving himself open to future problems.
Jackson’s claim was always that young boys did sleep over in his bedroom – but that nothing sexual went on and that it was more like slumber parties (again, the idea being that Jackson saw himself as a little boy: and it wouldn’t be weird for ‘a little boy’ to have a sleepover with other little boys).
That could be bullshit to cover up the truth. Or it could be that he was so convinced of that perspective that he even deluded himself into thinking nothing untoward was happening.
On the other hand, maybe it was the truth – weird as it may seem to anyone who isn’t Michael Jackson.
Certainly, that’s the case that various kids who stayed over at Neverland have made: of various kids who stayed over at Neverland over the years, only a handful seem to have accused Jackson of anything. Among these were included the likes of Corey Feldman, as well as people like the burn victim David Rothernberg and the actor Macaulay Culkin.
The Home Alone star has, in fact, said over and over again (see this interview, for example) that his sleep-overs at Neverland had been completely innocent – slumber parties, sometimes also involving other kids. The adult Culkin has in fact described Jackson at that time (early 1990s) as having been legitimately his “best friend”.
Bear in mind, Jackson volunteered that information about sleep-overs himself in the Bashir documentary. The whole Gavin Arviso case wasn’t something that had to be dug up by diligent investigators or researchers: it all came from a documentary filmed in Neverland and in which Jackson openly admitted that he had young kids sometimes sleep in his bedroom with him. That’s not the behaviour of someone who’s desperately trying to hide the truth – it indicates that he either genuinely was so naive that he didn’t see anything problematic about admitting it or that, either way, he didn’t see anything wrong with it.
Again, he could’ve been just deluded. But he wasn’t, at this point, trying to hide it.
Unless he thought he was so all-powerful that he could just be honest about it on TV and not face any consequences: but that doesn’t make sense either, because by this time he’d already been subject to the first ‘witch-hunt’ (as he called it) several years earlier, regarding the Jordy Chandler case – meaning he wouldn’t have been naive about the problems he might cause himself by openly flaunting his bedroom-sharing with young children on television.
Again, that can only mean he either genuinely didn’t see anything wrong with it, or that there actually wasn’t anything sexual involved. Or – in a worst-case scenario – that he was so confused and deluded himself that he may even have engaged in sexual behaviour with minors but not even realised that that’s what he had been doing.
To throw another possibility in here, it’s also possible he had a dissociative personality problem – perhaps even allowing him to engage in inappropriate behaviour, but then to genuinely convince himself that he hadn’t done anything inappropriate.
I don’t know if Jackson, as a child star, was subject to any Mk-Ultra type business: he could’ve been. Certainly, he was – like Bowie, the Beatles, Led Zeppelin, Prince and others – allowing some of his art to be used to put out Crowley-inspired symbolism (I’m thinking of the Dangerous album cover chiefly), suggesting that his career was probably being co-opted from a young age. Unlike Bowie, Prince and others, however, Jackson is unlikely to have actually understood what any of that meant.
But it does lend itself to the possibility of Jackson having been in a compromised position from very early on: though he seemed to have been overtly trying to extricate himself from those influences in the later stages of his career.
If he did experience any kind of MK-Ultra-style nonsense as a child (one thing that has certainly been suggested is that Jackson was forced by his father to be repeatedly injected with a drug that was designed to ‘delay puberty’, so that his voice would stay high-pitched for longer: which, if true, could perfectly explain Jackson’s arrested development issues), it could explain him having a kind of dissociative personality thing going on – consciously enacting an innocent-seeming ‘Peter Pan’ motif, while unconsciously using it to get himself into inappropriate situations with children.
On the other hand, the Peter Pan thing could’ve been more of an innocent escape mechanism – psychologically speaking – or even a kind of ‘safe space’ he created for himself to escape early traumas: and there genuinely was no sexual abuse of children that ever took place, but rather that he saw himself as some kind of gatherer and protecter of children.
You can see that mentality all over the place: you see it in the protective relationship he developed with the burn victim, Dave Rothenberg (or ‘Dave Dave’), who was set on fire in a murder attempt by his own father during a trip to Disneyland.
It has also been under-reported that Jackson’s first accuser, Jordy Chandler, sued his own father for trying to kill him.
And keeping in mind Jackson’s friendships with people like Corey Feldman (who claims to have been abused by entertainment-industry figures), you could almost turn this entire paradigm on its head and make the case for Jackson having been inclined towards looking after vulnerable or mistreated children or offering them some sort of support (with Neverland itself serving as a kind of sanctuary or retreat for some kids).
You can see that paradigm in song lyrics and themes, and you can see it very much in the Michael Jackson movie Moonwalker (a weird vanity project movie in which Jackson is literally protecting children, even transforming himself into a giant robot god type thing in order to protect little kids from an evil Kiddie Snatcher – it’s a weird film).
I’m not drawing any absolute conclusions here.
I know someone else could argue that Jackson’s somewhat messianic view of himself as the protector of children may have been his warped, weird way of justifying to himself his intimacy with children. And we’d just be going round in circles.
But it has since occurred to me – and it’s just a thought – that Jackson might’ve been well aware of abuse of children going on in some entertainment-industry circles (and that he might’ve suffered abuse himself as a child): and that part of what he was wanting at Neverland was the exact opposite or even a kind of antidote.
So, just throwing this out there, but is it possible that, as a kind of perverse retaliation, the Powers That Be decided to set him up instead as the ultimate VIP child abuser in the public consciousness? And is that still a part of what’s going on now?
There’s no way of knowing.
I just can’t get away from the fact that Corey Feldman, of all people, is absolutely adamant that Michael Jackson was the furthest thing from a paedophile: and moreover, that all of Feldman’s alleged testimony against high-profile child-abusers in the industry was – according to his own accounts – ignored by the authorities, who only wanted him to focus his allegations on Jackson.
And yet Feldman, who says he was repeatedly abused as a child by famous people, maintained a lifelong friendship with and loyalty to Michael Jackson.
That really doesn’t add up. Unless the whole thing has been to make Michael Jackson a kind of sacrificial lamb or scapegoat for the broader realm of high-level, VIP child-abuse.
It’s perhaps worth remembering that allegations of child abuse in the entertainment industry and in broader elite circles are ongoing. There were, in fact, a lot of people who refused to believe that either Chris Cornell or Chester Bennington really did commit suicide: but who believe, specifically, that Cornell was threatening to expose high-level paedophile activity. I’ve never been 100% convinced of this: which is why I’ve never really written about it.
However, I acknowledge there could be some valid basis for that suspicion, given that Cornell was involved with charities specifically about child protection: and that his friend Bennington (who committed suicide on Cornell’s birthday, two months after Cornell’s suicide) was himself on record as having been, like Corey Feldman, an abuse victim.
Yet, ask most people about paedophiles and famous or rich people and they’ll immediately talk about Michael Jackson – and no one else.
What if that’s been the point all along? I’m not definitively saying that’s the explanation: just putting it out there.
So, where does all that leave us? Did Michael Jackson abuse children?
We might never know for sure. I’ve generally been 50/50 about it: nevertheless, Leaving Neverland will no doubt further cement the popular idea of Jackson as the sinister figure who used his unparalleled level of fame to take advantage of kids.
It is difficult to see Jackson’s legacy ever being free from the specter of the most unsavory allegations. If – if – Michael Jackson always was innocent, then the most perverse irony would be the fact that a man who’s whole apparent raison-detre was the celebration of and nurturing of children, and indeed the sanctity of childhood itself, will instead go down in history as someone who abused and mistreated children.
That would actually be one of the saddest stories I’ve ever heard. Whether it’s the true version or not is now anyone’s guess.
Update (08/03/2019): Having now finished watching the Leaving Neverland film, my perspective hasn’t really changed all too drastically. The claims in the film are disturbing; but I stand by the critical questions raised in this article. I will say the testimony of James Safechuck was convincing to me, however – more so than Wade Robson’s (or either of the mothers involved). And if Safechuck is telling the truth, then it doesn’t really matter if Robson is or not.
I’ve also just seen that Corey Feldman has apparently said he’s no longer defending Michael Jackson after having seen the film: so it looks very much like the popular tide may have decisively turned against Jackson’s legacy.
More Articles: ‘VIP Child-Abuse, the Cover-Up & the Potential Collapse of the State‘, ‘Jimmy Saville – The Dark, Shadowy Figure in Background‘, ‘Grace Kelly, Princess Diana & the Weird World of Secret Societies, Royal Elites & Occult Rituals‘, ‘Natalie Wood: Who Murdered the Hollywood Icon…?‘…