With the rise of the MeToo movement, women and men alike have come out with stories of sexual abuse against their perpetrators. Their stories sometimes absent of violence reveals how the accused groomed them into doing things that they didn’t want to do. Some have accused Bill Cosby of using drugs to knock them out first, before having sex with them, and others have accused the likes of Kevin Spacey, Harvey Weinstein, and R.Kelly of committing heinous sexual crimes against them.
The latest to join this league of extraordinary not-so gentlemen is deceased superstar, Michael Jackson. His accusers reveal that he groomed them, explaining to them that whatever act he was performing on them, was an act of love. His accusers were also little children when they claim the abuse first began.
Image courtesy of Unsplash
The two people, who came out (now adult men); Wade Robson, and James Safechuck, shared their graphic and heart-wrenching story in a documentary, on HBO titled—Leaving Neverland. In the documentary directed by Dan Reed, they reveal how they first met the superstar, and when the alleged abuse began. Michael has been known to hang out with children, especially little boys because he loved being around them.
However, in 1993 when the first allegation against him was made public, he had to call on his little friends to come to his defense.
Wade and James were around the same age when they testified in favor of Michael Jackson, revealing that he never touched them inappropriately. Now both men revealed, that the singer had sex with them, multiple times, on different occasions, throughout many years. Wade Robson disclosed that his abuse lasted from age seven to fourteen.
As I watched this documentary, my heart broke for the men, as they showed footage of them as boys with the singer, I felt as if it were those boys sharing their story.
The allegation against the singer is nothing that is new to the world. These accusations have followed him along the years, just as singer R. Kelly. It is difficult for people to reconcile Michael’s soft persona, his beautiful music and his love for children, with the accusations that have now resurfaced.
And as such, these men who have shared their story have faced a lot of backlashes, including the director of the film, the network, and Oprah Winfrey, for having an exclusive sit-down interview, with the men, after the film aired on HBO.
The Allegations Against The Men
Michael Jackson's estate have sued the network HBO for $100 million because they feel they broke a non-disparagement clause in a contract HBO signed many years ago, that had to do with airing the singers concert and all the agreement that comes with that, on HBO. Michael's family has not failed to call Wade Robson and James Safechuck liars. They claim the men's allegations are unfounded, also because they came to Michael’s defense when a young boy first accused him of molestation in 1993.
Although it is important to note that Wade Robson was 11 when he first came to Michael’s defense, and about 22 when fresh allegations surfaced in 2005, against the singer as well. If you watch the documentary, you will see that their families were also interviewed, and both men found it hard to forgive their mothers. Wade’s mom revealed that her daughter-in-law didn’t let her come to their house after Wade opened up about his abuse.
These are real families; I don’t want to believe that they are making these up.
The Families Involved
While watching this documentary, it reminded me a lot about a documentary on Netflix, titled: Abducted in Plain Sight. Both documentaries mirrored the same issues which involved the parents leaving their children in the custody of strangers. The parents had so much trust in Michael, who they barely knew, just because he was a celebrity.
I don’t know if they ever thought it was weird for a grown man, who isn’t related to them in any way, to sleep in the same room, with their children, and without their supervision. The men also revealed that as the abuse began, their parent's room got further away from the room they usually shared with Michael.
The Justice System is not a Holy System
Michael was indicted in 2005, on multiple charges against him involving child molestation and was found innocent. Wade Robson and Macaulay Culkin’s testimonies carried a lot of weight in the trial. Both young men, firmly stated that the singer never molested them, as they knew him as children. And he was set free. It is also alleged that the FBI never found anything incriminating against Michael. So a lot of people are refuting these men’s claims because he was found innocent in the court of law.
What we have to understand is that the justice system is a flawed system, regardless of what continent you might find yourself in. Most times it is usually my word against yours. If a good defense team is put in place, with people willing to testify in favor of the accused, and the evidence against them being circumstantial, which usually isn’t strong enough for a conviction, the accused can walk free, even if they are guilty of all the charges leveled against them.
So this shouldn’t be used against the men who have come out to speak about a difficult issue, especially if the allegations are true. These are sexual allegations and against children.
We also have to understand the star power Michael had. He was known and loved by many around the entire world. Just as Oprah said in her interview with the men— “there is no one who has been that famous since Michael; stars don’t shine that bright anymore.”
So if Michael asked someone to tell a lie, they probably would have, especially if they were a child, and they loved him. According to the revelation in the two-part documentary, it was alleged that he said he was expressing his love for them. Thus, it was easy for them to want to cover up for him. The second time he was accused in 2005, James Safechuck, refused to testify in his favor. He asked the singer never to contact him again, and then came clean to his mom.
I can understand why Michael's family will be hurt by all of this, and want to stick up for their brother because these are serious allegations. However, just because he was declared innocent by the court of law, doesn’t mean he is innocent. One of the jurors from the 2005 case, revealed that he knew Michael was guilty.
The court of law isn’t a holy system. It is not God sitting on the judgment seat.
One thing we have to understand about sexual abuse, especially with children, is that they don’t have the terminology for it. At the time it is happening, it might seem odd, but most times, it is after you have matured, then you think back and understand what that person did to you.
I have never been abused before, thank God! But I have been touched inappropriately by adults as a child. I remember one incident when I was about five years old, in my aunt’s house.
I can’t recall where all the adults of the household went, but their neighbor was in the living room with me. I honestly don’t know how old he was, maybe 17-19 at the time or even younger. He used to play with me a lot, and try to put his lips on mine. It wasn't until when I was about 12 years old, that I realized what he was trying to do all the while he was with me.
As a child, I struggled with him and tried to use my hands to block off my face. And it was all playful, to me. However, when I got older I realized that he was trying to kiss me. I will never know what it would have led to if I let him kiss me.
So people can’t fault these men for coming out now or retracting their original testimonies. Mine was just a kiss, but theirs was graphic sex, according to them. I honestly don’t feel these men are lying, because the allegations against Michael from both of them, are graphic, detailed, and too similar to be made up. Instead of judging them, let's show compassion.
The Race Card
Not every crime, allegation or accusation has to do with race. Actress Monique shared her thoughts on the documentary. She thought that Michael’s race had a part to play in these revelations. People want to destroy his image because he was black, and the crimes are against white kids, she said. In my opinion, these allegations have nothing to do with race, but rather one of an adult man allegedly molesting children.
On the Documentary Being One-sided
People have also accused the documentary of being one-sided. They argue that since Michael isn’t here to defend himself, his lawyers, members of his family or estate should have been included in the documentary as well. If people know anything about true-crime documentaries, they are usually one-sided if you want to call it that.
The stories are mostly told by the victim or the victim's families. The people involved share their personal journey of what happened to them, and they have the right to do so. It is their story.
Singer R.Kelly is still alive, but he was not a part of the documentary—Surviving R.Kelly, where women, including his ex-wife, shared their story of abuse by the singer. The Bill Cosby documentary also did not feature the legendary actor defending himself against the allegations that were brought up against him.
And the documentary —Dirty John: The dirty truth, didn’t feature John, who was accused of horrible things by his victims, because he is also dead. So let’s be objective here, Leaving Neverland isn’t the first to be “one-sided.” Or should stories about celebrities get a pass, just because they are huge influencers?
The things I felt should have been added were; interviews of the other people who accused him of abuse and settled out of court. His ex-wives, to see if they noticed anything off about his sexuality, and the domestic staff at Neverland, who had their testimonies thrown out of court initially. However, all of these are contingent on the people involved accepting to do the documentary; you can’t force it on them.
1) Instead of debating if these men are right or wrong for coming out now, let their story serve as a lesson to us humans, to stop idolizing these celebrities because they are just human beings like us. No one will allow their child to sleep in the same bed with a stranger, just because the stranger has a great job, and the child is interested in that line of work or admires them.
Celebrities you don’t know personally are strangers, don’t let the glitz and glam fool you.
2) Let your kids be kids: let your kid's talents be developed with other children in safe facilities like schools; that is what they are there for. Parents, give your children time to grow and mature. Michael was also a child when he was shot into stardom. If he were given the time to grow up as a little kid, do regular things, and make the decision to become an entertainer as an adult, then maybe he would have made better choices, who knows?
3) Parents, stop exploiting your kids when you discover they have talents: the time will come for the talents to be put in use properly. Rather create a safe space (at home or in school) for them to grow into their gifts, and when they are old enough, they can make the decision to pursue their gifts and talents in the right environment.
4) Parents do better and protect your kids: you are the adults in their life for a reason. If you expose them to harm, no one else will come to their rescue, and you will live with the consequences. Make wise choices on the behalf of your family.
The claims made by Wade and Safechuck in this documentary are so believable. In the end, truth always comes out; nothing is ever hidden under the sun.
If you are interested in watching the documentary, it is available on HBO. For those who don’t have access to the network, you can watch the documentary and Oprah’s interview of the men and the director on YouTube.
What do you think of this article? Do you feel the men are lying? Should celebrities get a pass because they are celebrities?
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About The Author: Evi Idoghor is a Christian, writer and content creator on Letstalknationblog.com. She is a chemical engineering graduate from the University of Louisiana at Lafayette. Consumed by her love for writing and desire to effect change, she launched her online platform––Let’s Talk Nation––to tap into her creativity and start meaningful conversations that would make a difference around the world.
Most of her writing has been influenced by her time spent in America, where she lived for about 11 years. Also, she lived in Nigeria and South Korea and currently loves traveling the world while learning about other fascinating cultures. You can find her on all social media platforms with @eviidoghor.