A tell-all story of Michael Jackson’s dark secrets

The Asian Age.  | Joyeeta Basu

Life, More Features

The four hour long documentary on Michael Jackson’s child sexual abuse in his heavily guarded mansion has brought chilling details to the viewers.

Michael Jackson

The chilling magnitude of Michael Jackson’s child sexual abuse and the breadth of his collective cover-ups reached shocking new levels this week. The disturbing HBO documentary Leaving Neverland which aired in the US and the UK this week, exposed such ugly truths, that Jackson’s legacy and multi-million dollar empire could crumble. The four-hour film details testimonies from Wade Robson and James Safechuck, who allege Jackson abused them for years from ages seven and 10.

There had been persistent rumours about abuse throughout Jackson’s life — he was arrested and charged with child molestation in 2003. He was acquitted on all counts two years later.

Robson and Safechuck are not the only ones whose painful stories are exposing Jackson as a master manipulator and vile pedophile. The documentary mentions housekeeper Blanca Francia, who worked for Jackson from 1986 to 1991. Her son Jason, too, was also allegedly molested by Jackson on three occasions, according to reports.

In 1996, the Francias are believed to have reached an out-of-court settlement with Jackson for $2 million. But in 2005, Jason has testified against him in court, said Huffington Post. Another housekeeper, Adrian McManus, also recently revealed the chilling lengths Jackson went to, to hide his ugly side.

Wade Robson and James Safechuck

Speaking to an Australian TV channel last month, she said she saw Jackson “kissing” and “petting” boys at Neverland, including actor Macaulay Culkin and Jordan Chandler, whose family settled a civil lawsuit against Jackson outside of court in 1994.

Speaking about her silence so far, she explained she was afraid of potential ramifications: “I was threatened. His bodyguards told me that if I ever came up on TV that they could hire a hitman, take me out, slice my neck and we’d never find my body. I lived in fear for many, many years.”

Though the total number of accusers so far are six: Jordan Chandler, Jason Francia, Gavin Arvizo, Wade Robson, James Safechuck, and an unknown man the director of the film Dan Reed met, the actual numbers are reportedly far greater.

In the film child dancer Robson and actor Safechuck’s speak about their meetings with Jackson, being showered with expensive gifts, and their ultimate intimacy involving sex. It shows the manipulative ways Jackson charmed himself into their lives, portraying himself as a harmless, eccentric man, before abusing them.

Safechuck says: “It’s all a big seduction”.

The film speaks of their grooming, sexual relationships and ceasing to be Jackson’s favourites, as also the aftermath — when both men stood up for Jackson in court and denied any sexual contact. They said they had been so taken in by the pop star, they had decided to keep their stories a secret. It was only in their 30s that they realised that their alleged experiences with Jackson amounted to assault — Robson later said he was able to grasp the nature of what happened to him only after undergoing therapy in 2012.

Speaking to Oprah Winfrey after the film was aired, Robson said: “It was very rare that Michael was alone. He had a machine around him at all times. Secretaries organised most of my phone calls and cars to pick me up to bring me to him. Security guards were always there outside of the door. There were so many people around. There’s no way that Michael could have abused at the level that he did and the number of kids that he did without a machine behind him helping him do that.”

Thomas Mesereau had helped Jackson’s acquittal in 2005 — a lawyer who defended other celebrities accused of sexual misconduct and murder.  Jackson’s estate has filed a $100 million lawsuit against HBO, while his family called the film “a public lynching”.