“Michael Jackson is either the most maligned genius to have ever moonwalked the earth, or one of the most depraved, cunning paedophiles we have ever known.”
So says Sunday Night reporter Matt Doran, who has been investigating child sexual abuse allegations against the late pop icon ahead of the new documentary, Leaving Neverland.
Doran’s words cut right to the core.
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Because he’s right.
It’s something I have personally struggled with over time, especially once I had children of my own, and introduced them to the King of Pop. My kids adore his music. My eldest daughter’s face lights up when she hears the first few bars of “Blame it on the Boogie”. His music transcends time, generations, trends and genres.
There is a cloud. A really big, dark cloud. Because as much as we try to ignore it, we all know that something fishy was going on with Michael Jackson and his relationship with children.
I’ve tried to keep my head out of the details, because, honestly? I didn’t want to know them. I didn’t want to wrestle with my feelings around being a massive fan of his music, whilst also not wanting to support a child abuser.
But I think the time has come where we can no longer ignore the facts.
Doran got into it all on Sunday Night, where he shared a lot of uncomfortable truths.
For instance: we know that Jackson fed young boys wine, calling it Jesus Juice. That in itself is enough to raise serious suspicion about his intentions – who gives a child alcohol?! – and that is at the lower end of the scale when it comes to his alleged offences.
Other things we know for sure?
Jackson also had a collection of softcore child porn; his fingerprints were found on one of the books. One of his accusers was able to tell police about unique marking on Jackson’s genitalia. And one of his employees, a security guard called Melanie, told Doran she once saw Jackson cupping the genitals of an 11-year-old boy.
The reality is this: if Jackson wasn’t famous, he likely would have been convicted.
“If you’d stripped the celebrity and fame away from the defendant in that dock… [an ordinary man] facing these ghastly allegations would be unlikely to see another day of freedom,” Doran says.
And that’s a fact we can no longer ignore.