×

Michael Jackson’s Family Reacts to ‘Leaving Neverland’ Claims: ‘His Naiveté Was His Downfall’

In their first television interview since the HBO documentary “Leaving Neverland” debuted at the Sundance Film Festival, Tito, Marlon, Jackie, and Taj Jackson are advocating for Michael Jackson’s innocence.

As part of a two-part interview special, the Jackson family sat down with Gayle King on “CBS This Morning” to respond to claims that Jackson sexually abused young children at his Neverland Ranch. Following the airing of the Jackson’s interview on Wednesday, Wade Robson and James Safechuck, the two men involved in Jackson’s 2005 trial and the subjects of the HBO documentary, will share their side of the story in an interview with King set to air on Thursday.

Since the documentary debuted at Sundance last month, the Jackson family has spoken out against the film, calling it “a public lynching.” The Jackson estate also released a formal statement referring to the movie as “a one-sided marathon of unvetted propaganda to shamelessly exploit an innocent man no longer here to defend himself.”

None of the Jacksons who sat for the interview have watched the documentary, they said in a clip of the interview released on Tuesday. “I trust my attorney,” Marlon said.

Asked if they ever found it odd that Jackson shared a bed and took part in slumber parties with young children, the family explained their reasoning for defending the late pop star.

“No. I know my brother. He’s my little brother. I know my brother. He’s not like that,” Jackie said.

Jackson’s nephew Taj, who claims to have been present at many of Jackson’s sleepovers as a child, said there was never ill intentions and that Jackson’s own kids were often present.

“I grew up in it, so for me it wasn’t odd,” he said. “To the outside world, yes, I think it can be odd. I mean, I’m not oblivious to what it sounds like. But when you’re actually there in that atmosphere and you’re around it, and you’re watching movies, whether, with his kids, whether it’s ‘Little Rascals’ or ‘Three Stooges,’ and you’re watching these things, it’s like, it’s very innocent.”

Taj went on to defend his uncle further, saying, “I think the fault on my uncle was he just, he didn’t have that bone in his body to look at it the other way. And I think that was the thing, is that his naiveté was his downfall in a way.”

Last week, the Jackson estate sued HBO on grounds that the studio is in violation of a non-disparagement clause that was present in previous TV specials about Jackson. HBO has said its plans to air the documentary have not changed.

In the years since the original trial, both Robson and Safechuck have also brought lawsuits against the Jackson estate on the grounds that they were forced into lying under oath by the Jackson family — but both cases were thrown out due to the statute of limitations. They are both currently seeking appeals.

The Jackson family claims that Safechuck and Robson are coming forward for money.

“It’s always been about money,” Taj said. “I hate to say it: when it’s my uncle, it’s almost like they see a blank check.”

Marlon Jackson said the documentary “is not telling the truth,” adding that “there has not been not one piece of evidence that corroborates their story.”

Leaving Neverland” is slated to air in two parts on March 3 and 4 on HBO.

More Music

  • Seth Meyers TV Take Podcast

    TV News Roundup: Netflix Announces Seth Meyers's Standup Special

    In today’s TV news roundup, Netflix announced the premiere date for “Seth Meyers: Lobby Baby” and Epix released a trailer for “Belgravia.” CASTING AMC announced that “Succession” actor Sarah Snook, David Costabile (“Breaking Bad”) and Sonya Cassidy (“Lodge 49”) have been cast in its upcoming anthology series from Will Bridges and Brett Goldstein. The still-to-be-titled series is set 15 years into the [...]

  • jody gerson

    Universal Music Publishing Group's Jody Gerson Honored by Hometown of Philadelphia

    Since her time as chairman and CEO of Universal Music Publishing Group (January will mark her five-year anniversary), Jody Gerson has both been given and gifted her share of honors. On Tuesday, Oct. 22, she received recognition by her hometown of Philadelphia: a plaque on the Avenue of the Arts Walk of Fame presented by [...]

  • Chuck D of Public EnemyGods of

    Public Enemy's Chuck D to Receive 2019 Woody Guthrie Prize

    Chuck D, founder and frontman of the legendary hip-hop group Public Enemy, will receive the 2019 Woody Guthrie Prize. The hip-hop icon, author and social activist will be honored for his career-long dedication to shining light on social issues, specifically Black issues, through his music and writing. Named for American folk singer Woody Guthrie, the [...]

  • Nick Lachey Mansion

    Nick and Vanessa Lachey Seek Off-Market Sale of Valley-View Mansion

    An eagle-eyed informant snitched that a secluded mansion in the affluent Los Angeles, Calif., suburb of Encino, owned by Nick Lachey and Vanessa (Minnillo) Lachey, has been floated for sale as an off-market listing with Craig Knizek at The Agency with a $7 million asking price. The 98 Degrees singer, host of Nickelodeon’s soon-to-premiere reality [...]

  • Music engineer Ed Cherney is inducted

    Ed Cherney, Grammy-Winning Engineer for Bonnie Raitt and Eric Clapton, Dies at 69

    Ed Cherney, a Grammy- and Emmy-winning producer and engineer who worked with Bonnie Raitt, Eric Clapton, the Rolling Stones, Jackson Browne, Elton John, Etta James, Willie Nelson and many more, died in Los Angeles on October 22 following a battle with cancer. He was 69. Cherney, who worked out of the iconic Village recording studios [...]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content