Michael Jackson accusers detail alleged sexual abuse in new interview
Ahead of Leaving Neverland debuting on HBO this Sunday, Wade Robson and James Safechuck — the men accusing Michael Jackson of sexual abuse in the film — are speaking out.
The pair appeared on Thursday’s CBS This Morning, part of the show’s weeklong coverage of the controversial documentary, and detailed allegations of the abuse beginning when they were boys and Jackson was already established as the King of Pop. The Jackson family called the allegations untruthful while on the show earlier this week, and prior to his death, Jackson denied all inappropriate behavior with children.
Robson, who met Jackson after winning a dance contest in his native Australia when he was 5, detailed visiting the Neverland Ranch for the first time on a family trip. Jackson gave him and his sister a tour of the house, he said, which he described as “the most magical thing I’ve ever seen,” and then gave them options for where they could sleep that night. “He said to me and my sister, ‘You can stay in one of the guest rooms or you can stay with me if you want.’ And my reaction was, ‘Of course, I want stay with you.’ We had one more night [before my family was leaving to the next leg of vacation] to the Grand Canyon. I was devastated to leave Michael. Michael was devastated for me to leave. He actually sobbed.”
Robson said the tears led his parents to decide that he could stay at Neverland for another week while they toured the national park. “Within either the first or second night of Michael and I being alone at Neverland, the night started changing,” he said. “One of the ways I remember it starting is, you know, Michael just sort of starting to touch my legs and touch my crotch over my pants… It progressed to him performing oral sex on me, him showing me how to perform oral sex on him.”
Robson claims that a couple days prior to the abuse starting, Jackson became touchy — “hand on my leg, lots of hugs, kissing my forehead, rubbing my hand.” He described it as a “kind of development of physical closeness that was happening already,” and said it “felt like a father.” When the alleged sex acts started, “He started talking to me about God brought us together. We love each other… And this is how we show each other our love.” He said their abuse was always “extremely tender. There was never — I mean, he didn’t beat me. He didn’t, you know, he’d never said mean things to me. It was all, ‘We love each other.’ It was all tender.” He claims the abuse continued for seven years.
Safechuck, who met Jackson while making a Pepsi commercial, claims the star used similar tactics. He went on to allege that Jackson introduced him to masturbation and “he said I taught him how to French kiss,” he said. “Then it moves onto oral sex.”
Asked whether he felt it was weird or wrong, Safechuck replied, “No. No. It’s in the context of a loving, close relationship… there’s no alarm bells going off in your head or any thoughts like that. Really, it’s just, ‘I love this person and we’re trying to make each other happy.’ And he said I was his first. But even as a kid, you don’t even know what that means… So you’re lovers and you’re best friends.”
One of the reasons Robson’s claims are being refuted by the Jackson family is that in 2005, when Jackson faced criminal charges of molesting a 13-year-old male cancer survivor, Robson testified on his behalf and helped him win the case. Robson said he did that because all along Jackson told him, “‘If anybody else ever finds out, we’ll both go to jail, both of our lives would be over.'”
He said he feels guilt over it now. “I wish that I was ready” to tell my story back then, he said. “I wish that I could’ve helped [accuser] Gavin Arvizo receive some justice and some validation for what happened to him that was just like what happened to me and just like what happened to James. And I wish that I could have played a role in, at that point, stopping Michael from abusing however many other kids he did after that.”
And Robson and Safechuck do believe there are other victims, but they don’t expect a mass to come forward after them. “It’s such a difficult thing to do. To come out,” Safechuck said. Robson added, “Yeah, I believe there are many other boys that Michael abused. I find it hard to believe that he had boys around for any other reason than to sexually abuse them.”
Robson and Safechuck, who said they were not compensated for Leaving Neverland, both sued the Jackson estate over their abuse claims, but their lawsuits were dismissed because the statute of limitations had expired. They are appealing their cases.
In an interview earlier this week, the Jackson family slammed Robson and Safechuck, calling them “admitted liars” and “opportunists.” The Jackson estate is suing over the film, calling it a “one-sided marathon of unvetted propaganda to shamelessly exploit an innocent man no longer here to defend himself.” Some of Jackson’s family members are planning a rebuttal documentary.
Leaving Neverland debuted at the Sundance Film Festival last month and counselors were on hand in case the material in the two-part doc was upsetting to viewers. The doc debuts on HBO this Sunday, March 3, and Monday, March 4. After it airs, Robson and Safechuck will be interviewed by Oprah Winfrey in a special that will air both on HBO and her OWN network.
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