Michael Jackson's family claims Leaving Neverland accusers are seeking payout
Three of Michael Jackson’s brothers and his nephew have come to the late singer’s defense in the days leading up to the release of HBO’s explosive documentary Leaving Neverland.
Directed by Dan Reed, the film details claims made by Wade Robson and James Safechuck, who allege Jackson sexually abused them while they were children. The production, which debuted at the Sundance Film Festival last month and is set to air Sunday, has been condemned as fictitious by the star’s estate.
In a new interview Wednesday with CBS This Morning, Jackson’s brothers Tito, Marlon, Jackie, and nephew Taj insist there is no truth to what is presented in the film.
“I know my brother,” Jackie Jackson told co-host Gayle King. “He’s my little brother. I know my brother. He’s not like that.”
The family maintains Robson and Safechuck, who saw their lawsuit against the pop icon dismissed in 2015, are motivated by financial gains — as they are looking to appeal the court’s decision.
“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.”
Despite their staunch opposition to the film, the Jackson’s note they have not watched it.
“I don’t have to see the documentary. 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,” Jackie said.
The interview is the second installment of CBS This Morning’s three-day coverage of Leaving Neverland. Tuesday featured an interview with Reed, who defended his decision not to include the Jackson family in the film.
“What was important for me was to have eyewitnesses or people who could add something to the story. I don’t know that the Jackson family has any direct knowledge of what happened to Wade and James. I don’t believe they do. If they do, then they should come forward,” Reed said. The director also said the documentary includes some of the things Jackson said while he was alive, as well as previous statements from his lawyers.
The Jacksons believe the filmmaker’s decision not to include their point of view takes away from his credibility.
“So he took what they were saying, face value, as to be true. But he trusted them — which there’s nothing wrong with that — but you must verify,” Jackie said. “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.”
The final segment of the CBS This Morning series will feature an interview with Robson and Safechuck.
Earlier this month, the executors of Jackson’s estate filed a $100 million lawsuit against HBO arguing the network’s decision to distribute the documentary violates a “longstanding contractual relationship” they made with the star in 1992 when they aired his special Michael Jackson in Concert in Bucharest: The Dangerous Tour.
Part 1 of Leaving Neverland will premiere Sunday on HBO, followed by Part 2 on Monday.
CBS This Morning