Billboard News Today
With bombshell allegations of sexual abuse made by Wade Robson and James Safechuck against Michael Jackson in HBO’s Leaving Neverland documentary, the King of Pop’s family has decided to speak out. In a new film titled Investigating Neverland, journalist Liam McEwan interviews several of MJ’s relatives and inner circle, who vehemently defended Jackson against numerous claims.
MJ’s niece, Brandi Jackson, details how she originally met Wade Robson, when she was about nine years old in 1991. The two would go on to become best friends and dated for nearly a decade. “Everything was fine until he was about 17 or 18, when I noticed his behavior changed. That’s when he began to cheat,” she explained. “As I would confront him about these things, he would say, ‘No these aren’t true.’ Constantly lying. He denied [the infedelities].”
“He has always been a bit of an opportunist. He knows how to position himself in different situations that will benefit him in a financial way. Once other jobs weren’t coming through, this was his next outlet,” Brandi continued. Her relationship with Robson was left out of Leaving Neverland. “It would discredit the things he’s trying to claim. I find it fascinating that he thinks he’s able to erase 10 years of life.”
If presented with the opportunity to confront Robson, the 37-year-old niece of MJ says, “I would tell him to stop lying. I’m not curious as to why he’s doing it, he needs to stop. I don’t care what his reasoning is, as far as trying to be relevant, desperate for money. These lies need to stop. It’s not okay. My uncle took care of him and did very well by his family.”
Jackson’s longtime technical director, Brad Sundberg, also says he was never led to believe any of the abuse claims went on in his presence at the studio. “Not in a million years did I ever see a child around Michael Jackson that looked like they had been distressed, hurt, or abused. I can’t put my hand on a bible and say, ‘Absolutely nothing happened in that room.’ There just wasn’t a sense of [any] wrongdoing,” Sundberg stated over the phone.
Taj Jackson, Michael’s nephew, attempted to dispell the notion that letters addressed to Wade and James used in the Leaving Neverland doc should be deemed odd, saying that the King of Pop would write inspirational messages to all of his relatives.
“There’s tens and tens of us that have these notes,” said Taj Jackson. “I had these, my brothers had these. He was like that, if he thought his words could help you or inspire you he would write you a letter. There’s nothing uncommon about it, but in the wrong context, people who don’t know him or the context of it will think that’s weird.”
Watch the 30-minute Investigating Neverland film below.