michael jackson child sex abuse allegations re examined in new hbo documentary

Michael Jackson child sex abuse allegations re-examined in new HBO documentary

USA

CHICAGO (WLS) —

The King of Pop is back in the spotlight for his alleged past with children.

“Leaving Neverland,” a new documentary detailing Michael Jackson’s long-running relationships with Wade Robson and James Safechuck, who allege that Jackson molested them when they were 7 and 10 years old, is set to air this weekend on HBO.

“He told me if they ever found out what we were doing, he and I would go to jail for the rest of our lives,” Robson said.

The Jackson family has denounced the film.

“I do not understand how a filmmaker can make a documentary and not want to speak to myself or some of the other families that were at Neverland,” said Marlon Jackson.

The Jacksons say Robson testified for Michael Jackson when he was acquitted of molestation charges in 2005.

“He was the star witness,” Taj Jackson said. “He was adamant that nothing ever happened.”

It’s impossible to predict if there will be fallout from the film, but there are questions after the series “Surviving R. Kelly” aired, and now the singer is charged. That backlash has recast Kelly’s music for many.

RELATED: R. Kelly charged with 10 counts of sex abuse, bond set at $1M

“We don’t want to think the worst ever of our musical heroes when that art has touched us deeply, and certainly it has for both of them,” said Jim DeRogatis, a Chicago journalist who reported on the allegations against R. Kelly since the beginning.

RELATED: ‘I’m the one you ignore’: Chicago writer tenacious in R. Kelly coverage that has spanned years

DeRogatis says the scope here is different: Jackson has had four accusers, Kelly has had 48.

He adds that it’s natural for fans to feel conflicted and struggle to separate the man from his music.

“Being conflicted is good,” he said. “Being conflicted is alive and aware and thinking.”

Those who know Jackson note another difference: The late pop star is unable to defend himself.

“How come they didn’t come forth when he was living?” asked Marshall Thompson, who spoke at Jackson’s funeral. “He’s gone. Everybody is bringing up a lot of stuff when they’re gone. You can’t talk.”

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