MEDIA WATCH: Things we need to consider if we want to social media lynch Michael Jackson


Seeing as we have become judge. jury and executioner as to whether or not Michael Jackson molested children, perhaps we need to consider what happened outside the documentary to be that judge, jury and executioner…

When Michael Jackson died in 2009, Wade Robson—the former choreographer whose allegations of abuse are at the center of a controversial new documentary, Leaving Neverland—wrote in tribute to his friend:

Michael Jackson changed the world and, more personally, my life forever. He is the reason I dance, the reason I make music, and one of the main reasons I believe in the pure goodness of humankind. He has been a close friend of mine for 20 years. His music, his movement, his personal words of inspiration and encouragement and his unconditional love will live inside of me forever. I will miss him immeasurably, but I know that he is now at peace and enchanting the heavens with a melody and a moonwalk.

Robson was twenty-seven years old at the time. Four years earlier, he testified at Jackson’s 2005 trial (as an adult) that nothing sexual ever happened between them. Prior to the trial Robson hadn’t seen Jackson for years and was under no obligation to be a witness for the defense. He faced a withering cross-examination, understanding the penalty of perjury for lying under oath. But Robson adamantly, confidently, and credibly asserted that nothing sexual ever happened.

What changed between then and now? A few things:

  • In 2011, Robson approached John Branca, co-executor of the Michael Jackson Estate, about directing the new Michael Jackson/Cirque du Soleil production, ONE. Robson admitted he wanted the job “badly,” but the Estate ultimately chose someone else for the position.
  • In 2012, Robson had a nervous breakdown, triggered, he said, by an obsessive quest for success. His career, in his own words, began to “crumble.”
  • That same year, with Robson’s career, finances, and marriage in peril, he began shopping a book that claimed he was sexually abused by Michael Jackson. No publisher picked it up.
  • In 2013, Robson filed a $1.5 billion dollar civil lawsuit/creditor’s claim, along with James Safechuck, who also spent time with Jackson in the late ‘80s. Safechuck claimed he only realized he may have been abused when Robson filed his lawsuit. That lawsuit was dismissed by a probate court in 2017.
  • In 2019, the Sundance Film Festival premiered a documentary based entirely on Robson and Safechuck’s allegations. While the documentary is obviously emotionally disturbing given the content, it presents no new evidence or witnesses. The film’s director, Dan Reed, acknowledged not wanting to interview other key figures because it might complicate or compromise the story he wanted to tell.

…these seem to be be pertinent points to raise about credibility and motive…

The media’s largely uncritical, de-contextualized takes out of Sundance seem to have forgotten: no allegations have been more publicly scrutinized than those against Michael Jackson. They elicited a two-year feeding frenzy in the mid-90s and then again in the mid-2000s, when Jackson faced an exhaustive criminal trial. His homes were ransacked in two unannounced raids by law enforcement. Nothing incriminating was found. Jackson was acquitted of all charges in 2005 by a conservative Santa Maria jury. The FBI, likewise, conducted a thorough investigation. Its 300-page file on the pop star, released under the Freedom of Information Act, found no evidence of wrongdoing.

…other than deeply personal testimony, what new evidence is honestly being raised here?

Meanwhile, dozens of individuals who spent time with Jackson as kids continue to assert nothing sexual ever happened. This includes hundreds of sick and terminally ill children such as Bela Farkas (for whom Jackson paid for a life-saving liver transplant) and Ryan White (whom Jackson befriended and supported in his final years battling AIDS); it includes lesser-known figures like Brett Barnes and Frank Cascio; it includes celebrities like Macaulay Culkin, Sean Lennon, Emmanuel Lewis, Alfonso Ribeiro, and Corey Feldman; it includes Jackson’s nieces and nephews; and it includes his own three children.

In the post #MeToo cultural landscape where allegation is the new evidential threshold, due process merely heteronormative patriarchal white cis male privilege and any challenge towards an accusation is victim shaming, victim blaming and supporting rape culture.

I don’t know if Michael Jackson molested children, I do know that there is much more to justice than a multi hour documentary that is popularised on social media networks that are algorithmically fuelled by subjective rage in a call out culture that thrives on public shaming.

In the puritan millennial cultural revolution, social media lynch mobs are the new morality police.

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  1. I have watched the whole four documentary, and have to admit I came away pretty convinced that Jackson is guilty. The testimonies of the two victims certainly come across as genuine. Further, these two have relatively little to gain by taking part in this documentary and lying about what happened.
    That said, these two boys (now men) both loved Michael Jackson. They not once made an allegation that he raped them, i.e. all of the sex was “consensual” (not really the right word), in so far that a 7 year boy can be to have sex with a 34 year old man for seven years(!). Neither of the victims really speak of having been “abused”, and both still love Michael despite everything.
    Jackson groomed these two boys, and then he groomed his fans to believe he did nothing wrong (which in his eyes he possibly didn’t).

    • Today I’ll comment on something that’s a little different but it’s relevant to the last few debates on other sites I’v had on Michael Jackson and the documentary Leaving Never Land. This is a comment on presupposition and media analysis so when you’re talking about commercial media there are a lot of presuppositions that you need to have. How ever a lot of people don’t realize that presuppositions go both ways and it goes into every train a logic that you can perceive of. It’s basically this idea of a global scepticism, that you doubt the claim of every media outlet that could possibly exist and it doesn’t necessarily correlate to certain outlets because it correlates to all commercial media consumption. And as I said before presuppositions are scepticism so when you make a claim then it’s a layer, and every layer can then be used to support another layer above that layer. So let’s say defendant A is accused of molestation for the documentaries sake okay. So first of all you will be asserting that the criminal investigation is correct, you’d then be asserting that molestation means the same for the courts as it does for me and others, and thirdly you’d be assuming that molestation means for me, as it does for the courts, and assuming it means the same for the defendant. That’s a very basic one but then you’ll be assuming that the lead investigator has expertise over the chain of evidence and asserting that the legal case uses numbers and language in the same way as we all do. You can make as many of these weird scepticism’s as you want, how ever these are all just axioms or people just assume or accept it as true.

      So we assume that our moral fortitude is the same as in commercial media but what if it’s different some how. An example of this is you’d take a pen, and this pen writes a report in what appears to be normal ink on a paper in that same way as a pen would write normally. And then some one says to you I don’t think that is a normal pen because this is an action report so the interviewee would say it’s not normal and the reporter would say then “why is this pen not a normal pen,” why wouldn’t we assume that isn’t just ink coming onto the paper and then the interviewee asserts that the pen is a magical demonic black dragon that swooped into our realm and with its ejaculate can create this pitch black substance that is superior to ink and all of the inhabitants of planet earth decided to use this ejaculate over normal ink that we use in real life. So you are assuming this axiom above this fact. So the axiom is based on this fuzzy foundation that is questionable.

      Another example is like Facebook/social Media vs commercial media and what is this new medium, is it the same as traditional media or is it social or is it just commercial junk mail because you are asserting that reporting is the same between platform when you are comparing them. So how should that all work, okay, because there is these clear assumptions being made in everything.

      Ok now I think I should go into the breakdown of all analysis if we don’t presuppose anything because presupposition does go both ways for instance Gosman will say something like we shouldn’t just presuppose something if it isn’t specifically stated in some research paper or something okay. I did in a recent debate say that Super League has no foundation development programs because player guides are stated in foundation documents of any rugby league club constitution so by his logic I did prove it but then the same thing, then we shouldn’t state that they’re turning a profit unless they are turning a profit, but then I could state well why is club profitable the same or relative to professional codes profits, okay. I believe those guys are from right wing troll farms so if you claim one profit is different from another then they’ll just state yada yadda (I kinda mucked that sentence up, but any way) it doesn’t matter because they would be ASSUMING, okay. They are assuming, they are assuming profits are equal or relative because gooie is assuming all things.

      So this comes down to a pragmatic burden of proof, and this is a basic way that we have a discussion and presuppositions are important to reporting and it’s just important if you’re having like a normal conversation. So when we have normal conversations then we assume that every word that has been spoken means the same things as we all think they do. So like me talking/writing now is me assuming that the reader understands the language that I speak. I’m assuming that all the words that I say mean the same thing for me as it does for you. So in this case if you were to say that it doesn’t mean the same then you’d have a pragmatic burden of proof where you are under this burden where it means something different because the basic assumption is these things mean the same as we all think they do.

      Okay so when we have Oprah Winfrey’s Leaving Never Land Special with the two co-accusers from the documentary and an audience made up of sexual abuse survivors and a host who is a survivor as well blah blah blah. Then you would assert that the co-accusers should just be a fictional representation of reality or that they have similar concepts to that of the audience and if they are different then you should assert why they are different and prove they are different because that is your burden of proof. You can’t just say that the co-accuse are different from an audience of sexual abuse survivors because then we would be assuming they are different and you’d have to prove that they are different because that is how the pragmatics are for the burden of proof to even have a normal conversation let alone scaling these weird versus wikis.

      Another example of presupposition is we are assuming that reality is all that we think it is. And we assume that reality is all that we see it as. We can put a stick in the water and the stick will look bent, you can see railroads that look like they’re going to slap into each other when they’re really not. You can see boats floating above water when they’re really not. We see all kinds of illusions in life that sort of questions your sense of reality how ever you’ve just assumed that everything is how we see it or it is how we can explain it rather than just assuming that we are brains in a vat even though that could be an explanation, it is up to the claimant/accuser to prove or assert why that is the case. Not necessarily up to you since you are having a neutral position.

      So in closing I think if you’re analysing the narrative or commercial media platforms in general it usually comes down to its a fiction based off of our reality unless it’s stated otherwise in a court of law or other such institution legislated to perform controlled functions and then all of those differences should be categorized and explained in detail rather than assume that everything is an assumption and not based off of real life. And I think that is just the basic burden of proof on anybody that debates the topic. I think everything should be assumed on a base level because obviously I said before that presuppositions go both ways. Presuppositions can destroy both sides of the argument, it’s not just a one way street so, other than that just wanted to give my thoughts on that just to fill in a bit of the background about why the above blog is such good quality.

      • Interesting points, Sam.

        Your response should’ve been a blogpost in it’s own right. If you ever need assistance/advice putting one together to submit to TDB, I’d be happy to help.

  2. Thanks for that Martyn
    I had my doubts watching the doco
    I kept looking for signs of enduring damage, akin to the terrible damage done to little boys by Catholic priests.
    And no matter how star struck a little boy of 7 , I somehow feel having a full grown mans penis stuck in your mouth would break the spell.
    And I thoroughly agree with you about social media lynching
    Something to do with attention spans, declining appetites for long form journalism, and the general polarising effect of outrage culture

    • You do realise,

      “In the post #MeToo cultural landscape where allegation is the new evidential threshold, due process merely heteronormative patriarchal white cis male privilege and any challenge towards an accusation is victim shaming, victim blaming and supporting rape culture.”

      is mainstream thought right out of the GOP/Fox News landscape?

    • Well the complainants are suing the Jackson estate for $200-$400 million so it’s up to the co-accuse to prove there case. I heard some estimates of the Jackson estate @$1.7 billion and above so the Jacksons really aren’t hurting for bail money.

      • Most people would say anything for $200 million. It is the USA after all and the promoting lawyers would get a good cop.

        • Any lawyer would still line up all of the ducks just to entertain bringing a molestation charge against Michael Jackson. Even if Jackson was alive I wouldn’t let him near any kids no matter what the courts said but that wouldn’t convince the courts either.

  3. Really, No one commenting? On me is it?
    OK. a huge mj Jackson fan it is more enturbulating than normal to have anyone treated so disgustingly in the media without a valid jury verdict of guilty. That is the only bar to get over to be able to call someone guilty. Media witch hunts are along way from anywhere near a guilty verdict. Where will the media and their architects of public opinion and there moronic followers lead us to? Totalitarianism?

  4. There is a depressing naivety about the article and comments – much
    like the refusal by fans of the Catholic Church to admit and acknowledge the existence of deviant sexual behaviour by adults upon children.
    There’s none so blind etc – as the fans of a pop music celebrity.

  5. Hmmmm… Wacko Jacko. Never been a fan always thought he was overrated. I do not understand the adoration. Clearly a brilliant stylist and an above average dancer. But then so is Madonna.And she can even write too. So yeah nah. his relationship with children was ALWAYS creepy and suspect. However I heartily agree with the sentiment expressed in Evans cartoon. Truly great artists who have actually contributed something of lasting merit to humanity such as Picasso and Dali were both arseholes with serious sexual issues, for example. It is obvious there was extreme violence in Jackson’s upbringing. His family are a bunch of vampires who live off his name.He was a seriously damaged human being and a classic victim of the American entertainment industry a la Judy Garland, Britney Spears, Miley Cyrus, etc etc. Americans are sick people. Their society is seriously fucked up. it is what it is.

  6. We will never know if Michael Jackson was a child abuser or not, unless some real undeniable solid evidence comes to light and after all this time, I doubt it will somehow.

    Wade Robson’s testimony as an adult at the 2005 trial indicated he was not abused by Michael Jackson. Now if Robson’s recent conflicting statements of abuse at the hands of the late entertainer prior to that trial are to be believed, does that not make him (Robson) guilty of perjury?

    Robson is not being truthful somewhere along the line. Did he lie/tell the truth at the trial? Or is he lying/being truthful about events now?

    This issue is becoming more and more weird by the day!

      • There is a hole in the bucket, he cannot be charged with perjury in 2005 without proof that Jackson and he had sex.

  7. I’m no fan of his music past the Jackson 5, but that is of course irrelevant in this debate (although no doubt more than enough for some haters of course).
    Like Martyn, and everyone else whether they think so or not, I do not know what he did or didn’t do. There was compelling lack of evidence besides anecdotal in his 2 trials, but absence of evidence is not proof.
    With all the possible scenarios being mooted, I’ve yet to hear anyone suggest the possibility that the boys are not lying, but have potentially created false memories in their minds, perhaps manipulated by therapists or lawyers.
    Research has shown such false memories can seem every bit as real as a genuine one. I don’t believe this is definitely what’s going on but I definitely think it would be worth investigating.

  8. Fyi from Vanity Fair:

    10 undeniable facts about the sexual-abuse allegations against Michael Jackson.

    1. There is no dispute that, at age 34, Michael Jackson slept more than 30 nights in a row in the same bed with 13-year-old Jordie Chandler at the boy’s house with Chandler’s mother present. He also slept in the same bed with Jordie Chandler at Chandler’s father’s house. The parents were divorced.

    2. So far, five boys Michael Jackson shared beds with have accused him of abuse: Jordie Chandler, Jason Francia, Gavin Arvizo, Wade Robson, and Jimmy Safechuck. Jackson had the same nickname for Chandler and Arvizo: “Rubba.” He called Robson “Little One” and Safechuck “Applehead.”

    3. Jackson paid $25 million to settle the Chandlers’ lawsuit, with $18 million going to Jordie, $2.5 million to each of the parents, and the rest to lawyers. Jackson said he paid that sum to avoid something “long and drawn out.” Francia also received $2.4 million from Jackson.

    4. Michael Jackson suffered from the skin discoloration disease vitiligo. Jordie Chandler drew a picture of the markings on the underside of Jackson’s penis. His drawings were sealed in an envelope. A few months later, investigators photographed Jackson’s genitalia. The photographs matched Chandler’s drawings.

    5. The hallway leading to Jackson’s bedroom was a serious security zone covered by video and wired for sound so that the steps of anyone approaching would make ding-dong sounds.

    6. Jackson had an extensive collection of adult erotic material he kept in a suitcase next to his bed, including S&M bondage photos and a study of naked boys. Forensic experts with experience in the Secret Service found the fingerprints of boys alongside Jackson’s on the same pages. Jackson also had bondage sculptures of women with ball gags in their mouths on his desk, in full view of the boys who slept there.

    7. According to the Neverland staff interviewed by the Santa Barbara authorities, no one ever saw or knew of a woman spending the night with Michael Jackson, including his two spouses, Debbie Rowe or Lisa Marie Presley. Rowe, the mother of two of Jackson’s children, made it clear to the Santa Barbara authorities that she never had sex with Jackson.

    8. The parents of boys Jackson shared beds with were courted assiduously and given myriad expensive gifts. Wade Robson’s mother testified in the 2005 trial that she funneled wages through Jackson’s company and was given a permanent resident visa. Jimmy Safechuck’s parents got a house. Jordie Chandler’s mother got a diamond bracelet.

    9. Two of the fathers of those who have accused Jackson, Jordie Chandler and Wade Robson, committed suicide. Both were estranged from their sons at the time.

    10. In a 2002 documentary, Living with Michael Jackson, Jackson told Martin Bashir there was nothing wrong with sharing his bed with boys.

  9. Parents share their bed with children regularly. Why would one expect normal behaviour from a rare genius.
    Vanity fair! That exalted bastion of truth and honesty? I would trust MJJ to have my son over for a slumber party at any age.I would trust Michael before 99% of the rest of the population of the planet.

    I was reading the court transcripts of the Gavin Arviso court case alongside the media reports of the same days proceedings. The evil Intent of the mendacious media was fully laid bare for even the most stupid fool to deduce. So you may get an idea how nutty i think most of the population are.

  10. Sooo all you due process advocates, how many of you would let your kids be shut away with Michael Jackson to overnight unsupervised? Innocent until proven guilty you know.
    No? Why not? Only creepy wierdos want to overnight alone with other people’s kids?
    Aren’t you judging then but virtue signaling how open minded you are?
    The guy is dead but highly suspect, the argument is just over money, who cares. Due in a ditch for due process over someone worthy

  11. It may or may not be “fair”. At the very least it may open parents’ eyes to be more careful who they entrust their children to. Just because a person is a celebrity and seems likeable is no guarantee of saintliness.

    In the age of #metoo, this is appropriate.

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