Michael Jackson fans fighting child abuse allegations

Leaving Neverland, a controversial documentary centred on the paedophile allegations that dogged Michael Jackson for decades, has sent shockwaves around the world and left thousands of his fans wondering if he really was a child abuser.

The four-hour film aired in Australia over the weekend but weeks before the fallout hit down under, fans across Europe and the US had already mobilised to defend the pop star.

At its premiere at Sundance Film Festival in January, fans travelled from Canada down to the US state of Utah to protest outside the quaint cinema.

They’ve also been extremely active on social media, using the hashtag #MJInnocent to spread their message and troll people speaking out against Jackson.

Social media posts from fans dismissing the film as a “mockumentary” are liked by thousands, while other Twitter accounts actively encourage and plan attacks on allegations aired in the film.

The first bombshell allegations came when Australian-born choreographer Wade Robson and former child star James Safechuck broke their silence in the documentary.

But the fans aren’t just devoting their time to defending Jackson — they’re also spending their money.

Two separate GoFundMe campaigns — one created by the singer’s nephew Taj — have raised more than $100,000.

The other, created by “MJ’s Army”, is only a few thousand pounds shy of hitting its £20,000 goal ($36,852).

One of the people behind MJ’s Army is Seany O’Kane, who spent some of the money to splash London’s famous double-decker buses with ads supporting Michael Jackson.

The ads, splashed with “Facts don’t lie. People do”, also invite people to visit MJInnocent.com, a website devoted to professing the singer’s innocence.

“If I had my way, every bus, newspaper, TV station and radio would all feature this message, however sadly, there is only so much that can be done in showing our support in the short timescale that we have,” Mr O’Kane wrote.

Another member of MJ’s Army is lawyer Anika Kotecha.

The 34-year-old also played a part in organising the campaign, telling CNN they have known for a long time the “allegations are nothing but lies”.

“I’m not defending him because he can sing or he can dance,” Ms Kotecha told the outlet.

“A victim of false allegations is as much a victim as one of real child abuse.”

The documentary was so damning it triggered $100 million legal proceedings from the Jackson estate which called it a “public lynching” after it aired at Sundance.

Few fan armies hold a candle to Michael Jackson devotees — fans who have spent decades defending the star and still defend him 10 years after his death.

Leaving Neverland director Dan Reed described them as “the Islamic State of fandom”.

“One can only compare them to religious fanatics really,” Reed told the New York Times.

When the film was first aired in January, Reed said his company received endless emails, describing them as a “deluge of hatred”.

Even celebrities aren’t immune to Jackson’s fans.

Little Britain star Matt Lucas received thousands of responses on Twitter when he revealed he had watched the film, ending his tweet with “Michael Jackson can rot”.

Oprah, who interviewed Robson and Safechuck after the documentary aired, has also been lashed with a wave of hate.

Jackson’s brother Jermaine jumped into the pile-on on the talk show host after the first episode aired.

In a statement, Jackson’s family called both men “admitted liars,” citing sworn statements they made during Jackson’s life that he did not abuse them.

“Michael was subjected to a thorough investigation which included a surprise raid of Neverland and other properties as well as a jury trial where Michael was found to be COMPLETELY INNOCENT,” the family said.

Jackson was cleared of child abuse charges in 2005 with the assistance of lawyer Tom Mesereau who still defends him today.

In a marathon 14-week trial, Jackson fought 14 charges — of child molestation, supplying alcohol to minors and of conspiring to imprison his accuser and their family at Neverland.

After eight days of deliberation, the jury found Jackson not guilty on all charges.

Taj, Jackson’s nephew, has promised to create a documentary responding to Leaving Neverland if he raises enough money.

His GoFundMe campaign, started on January 21, has raised more than $83,000 of its $777,000 goal.

Source link Entertainment News Australia

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