Michael Jackson abuse claims a betrayal


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Michael Jackson died in 2009

Sexual abuse allegations made against Michael Jackson by Wade Robson feel like the “ultimate betrayal”, the singer’s nephew says.

Taj Jackson says his uncle would be “crying” over the allegations made in the Leaving Neverland documentary.

Wade and another man, James Safechuck, claim they were abused by the singer when they were children.

Taj says the allegations are “hurtful” but believes they won’t have a lasting effect on the singer’s legacy.

“I think it’s temporary in terms of the stain. First of all I believe the truth will come out,” he tells Radio 1 Newsbeat.

“It might take some time. There’s been cases when someone has been labelled something and then 10 years later you find out the truth.”

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Taj Jackson is the son of Michael’s brother Tito

The Leaving Neverland documentary features the claims by two men that they were sexually abused by Michael Jackson.

Wade Robson and James Safechuck told the BBC they were abused hundreds of times from the ages of seven and 10.

Taj says it’s been difficult for the Jackson family as they know Wade and his family really well.

He said his uncle would be “crying” over the allegations made in the documentary.

“He would’ve said ‘no, not Wade, please not Wade’. But it’s happened to him before, people betraying him.

“People that we thought were stand-up people have stolen from him, have sold stories on him.”

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Media caption“Every time I stayed the night with him, he abused me”

Taj believes Wade has made the allegations against his uncle because he and James sued the Jackson estate for millions of dollars and the case is up for appeal.

“They can say it’s not about money but they are up for appeal and I think if they can get enough backlash or public opinion they’re in a good position.”

In an interview with Oprah Winfrey on Monday, Wade said his motivation to sue in 2013 wasn’t about getting money but was to get a “powerful platform” to tell his story.

Taj told Newsbeat claims that Michael Jackson is a paedophile is something he’s had to deal with for 20 years.

He says it’s “hurtful” the Leaving Neverland documentary might impact on how his uncle is viewed by the public.

“I don’t think it’s gonna sway the fans but I think it will sway the casual people and that hurts me because they’re only seeing one side and they’re seeing a one-sided documentary.”

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TJ Jackson, Taryll Jackson and Taj Jackson released the song Why with their uncle in 1996

Taj admits that he knew young boys slept in Michael Jackson’s bed and he was one of those who had sleepovers.

“When you’re in his world and you know how pure his heart is and he doesn’t even think about those things.

“For him it’s not weird but if I’m thinking about someone else then it’s different. No-one was like Michael Jackson.”

Taj says Michael Jackson’s youngest son has been affected “tremendously” by abuse claims made against his dad.

“He’s 17 and goes to school and he’s always been bubbly and talkative in school.

“One of the teachers called to say he’s not talking at all and he’s not talking to anyone so it’s affecting him a lot.”

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Michael Jackson’s three children, Prince, Blanket and Paris, spoke on stage during the ‘Michael Forever’ concert in 2011

Taj says he’s seen the second part of the documentary – which starts on Channel 4 on Wednesday – and says people who don’t know Wade and James are likely to find their testimony compelling.

“People who know my uncle are furious right now. I’m talking about ex-employees that got fired from my uncle. They’re still coming to his defence because they know the real Michael Jackson.

“It looks very convincing. The director did an incredible job. I’m a director I see the angles, I see the slow motion, the close-ups, the high angles to make them look vulnerable.

“It’s brilliant but at the same time that doesn’t mean they’re true.”

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