Supporters of Michael Jackson are fighting back at the accusations made in the controversial HBO documentary. Whatever anyone’s belief on the veracity of the terrible claims made by Robson and James Safechuck, it is undeniable that there was no opportunity given for any kind of defence. Furthermore, family members and industry figures have also pointed out that the documentary omitted facts about the two men which might cast doubt or undermine their testimonies. Barnes was another of Michael’s long-term companions and has angrily denounced the film, which also implied he had been a victim of the alleged abuse, too.
Barnes posted a message online: “Not only do we have to deal with these lies, but we’ve also got to deal with people perpetuating these lies. The fact that they fail to do the small amount of research it takes to prove these are lies, by choice or not, makes it even worse.”
His testimonies are part of a study by UK journalist and author of a biography on Michael Jackson, Making Michael, Mike Smallcombe. He told Express Online: “Whether you believe Michael Jackson’s two accusers or not, there’s no denying the Leaving Neverland film is incredibly one-sided.
“Not a single person other than Wade Robson, James Safechuck and their families is interviewed, while the Michael Jackson Estate was not even given a right of reply to the claims. This violates all norms and ethics in filmmaking and journalism.
“More crucially, director Dan Reed decided not to include a whole host of other important information about the accusers’ past and their behaviour. Why? Because it might have discredited Robson and Safechuck.”
“During one scene of the documentary, Wade Robson’s mother explains that she got very upset with Jackson when he told her that he would not be taking Robson on the Dangerous World Tour. Mrs Robson added that she was especially upset because Jackson had taken another boy and his family on the tour.
“Footage of the boy, Brett Barnes, and Jackson on the Dangerous World Tour was then shown. Robson then said that was when he realised he had been ‘replaced’. Any reasonable viewer would interpret that to mean that Jackson was also sexually abusing Barnes on the tour.
“After Robson first went on television in May 2013 to talk about his alleged abuse, Barnes said, ‘I wish people would realise, in your last moments on this earth, all the money in the world will be of no comfort. My clear conscience will.'”
“In the documentary, a brief written denial from Barnes features on the screen. Barnes is said to be considering suing HBO, alleging that Leaving Neverland insinuates he was abused by Jackson. He was also not consulted about his inclusion in the film.
“Journalism is about seeking the truth. But Reed made no attempts to scrutinise and investigate whether the pair’s allegations are indeed true, he just took them at face value and recorded them.
“Jackson estate attorney Howard Weitzman said that Reed ‘refused to devote even one minute of a 240-minute film to any of the mountainous evidence showing that Robson and Safechuck are lying.’
“If these accusations had come to court while Jackson was alive, he would have been able to offer a defence. But as he’s dead, he can’t present any sort of mitigating evidence. So that’s where the documentary maker comes in, to provide balance.
“Of course, people who allege abuse deserve to be heard. But as Jackson is dead, the defence his Estate might have put forward deserves to be heard too.”
Mike Smallcombe is a UK journalist and author of a biography on Michael Jackson, Making Michael.