Michael Jackson’s nephew is making a counter documentary to show the ‘facts’
He’s spoken out in support of his uncle
In the past couple of weeks, it seems as though the world has been completely focused on the HBO documentary about Michael Jackson, Leaving Neverland. The two part, four hour doc first aired on HBO in the US, and then Channel 4 in the UK and has had completely mixed reactions. It shares the stories of James Safechuck and Wade Robson, both men say that as children, they were sexually abused by singer Michael Jackson. Some people believe the men, and others proclaim Michael's innocence – in particular the Jackson family. One of those family members is Michael Jackson's nephew, Taj Jackson, who has said he has plans to create a Leaving Neverland counter documentary.
He hopes the doc will share the "facts", and discredit the accounts of the alleged victims, who he says have no credibility.
Here is everything we know about the upcoming plans Taj Jackson has for a Leaving Neverland counter documentary, as well as plans for a sequel to the controversial doc.
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Happy Birthday to The Greatest of All Time . Uncle Michael, you showed me the true meaning of what being a caring empathetic soul is. You inspired me to dream big and always believe in myself. You taught me the importance of using your platform for good and to always give back. Your love and energy are deeply missed and the world is a lot darker without your bright light. I Love you Applehead #messagetomj
Everything we know about the Leaving Neverland counter documentary
In an interview with NME, Taj Jackson said the Leaving Neverland counter documentary won't focus on Jackson's success or be simply complimentary towards his uncle, as there are "loads of those already". He said: "It's going to start off with the 1993 allegations because I think that's where everything started. So it's going to start there. It's going to talk about the settlement in terms of the civil suit and why he settled. At one point he was very against settling and angry and then gave in. So why did he do that? So it's going to talk about all of that.
"So 1993/1994 to 2005 are the big parts of his life. So this is not going to be a puff piece. it's not going to be, ‘Oh, let's show Michael Jackson the humanitarian.’ This is about exposing all the things that have been mustering for 20, 30 years, you know?
"I’m gonna go with the facts."
In 1993, Michael Jackson was accused of sexual abusing 13-year-old Jordan 'Jordy' Chandler, by Jordan's father, Evan Chandler. The relationship between Jackson and Jordan begun in May 1992. In January 1994, Jackson reached a financial settlement with the Chandlers, for $23million, and in September a criminal investigation was closed.
Taj Jackson says he "one hundred percent" wants to interview people who have accused Michael Jackson of wrongdoings in the past. He said: "Jordy Chandler would be the biggest one for me. But people have already tried to reach out to him but he's fled somewhere. I would be honoured because his father was the one who put him up to [accusing Michael]. He didn't want to do any of it and originally even said nothing had happened. So I would be willing to do that, and with Gavin too."
Gavin Arviso was also one of the first boys to accuse Jackson of abuse – before James Safechuck and Wade Robson who feature in the Leaving Neverland documentary.
Gavin Arvizo first became known to the public in Martin Bashir's 2003 documentary about Jackson, called Living With Michael Jackson. In the wake of the Leaving Neverland documentary, clips from the documentary have gone viral again, saying Jackson had "issues".
Gavin was suffering with cancer, and first met Jackson aged 10, in one of the hospitals where he was being treated. Jackson struck up a friendship with him, sending him gifts, and then invited him to come and stay at Neverland ranch.
In the clip from the documentary, Jackson says of their relationship: "It's not sexual, we're going to sleep. I tuck them in. It's very charming, it's very sweet.
"Kids want to be loved, they want to be touched, they want to be held."
In June 2003, Gavin Arvizo admitted Jackson molested him and a few months later, Jackson was charged with with partaking in lewd and lascivious acts with a child under the age of 14.
There was a court case in 2005 in which Arvizo and his younger brother testified saying Jackson showed them pornography and gave them alcohol, which he called "Jesus juice". They claimed he had masturbated in front of them, and abused Gavin. In June 2005, Jackson was cleared of all charges.
If the Leaving Neverland counter documentary does go ahead, it looks like Taj Jackson's plans would be to address these allegations first, and give a way to explaining why Jackson paid off the Chandler family, if he was innocent.
Taj Jackson has also been one of the many celebrities to react online to the Leaving Neverland documentary, saying Wade Robson and James Safechuck have no credibility in what they are saying.
You are right. I’ve been around my uncle only thousands and thousands of hours. And since my uncle is not here to defend himself, the credibility of the accusers matter. And Wade and James have none. https://t.co/fF0OgYXUBz
— Taj Jackson (@tajjackson3) March 4, 2019
A Leaving Neverland counter documentary would look to challenge the stories of the accusers.
Is there going to be a Leaving Neverland sequel?
Leaving Neverland counter documentary plans aside, there are also plans to make a Leaving Neverland sequel – featuring more of Michael Jackson's alleged victims.
Dan Reed, director of the Leaving Neverland film, told The Mirror he would film a follow-up, if accusers such as Jordan Chandler and Gavin Arvizo agreed to speak. He said: "Those are two films I’d like to make. But Gavin and Jordan would have to come forward."