Speaking to CBS This Morning’s Gayle King, Michael Jackson’s brothers — Tito, Marlon, and Jackie — and his nephew Taj praised the late singer and reaffirmed his innocence.
The interview comes only a few days before HBO is set to premiere the two-part documentary Leaving Neverland, which debuted at the Sundance Film Festival earlier this year. The two men featured in the documentary, Wade Robson and James Safechuck, will sit down with King on Thursday, according to Variety.
Though none of the family members interviewed had seen the documentary, they felt they didn’t have to. They trusted Michael’s innocence. When asked if he thought it was odd that he shared a bed with young children, Jackie Jackson said: “No. I know my brother. He’s my little brother. I know my brother. He’s not like that.”
What do you want to say about your brother as #LeavingNeverland is about to hit the country?
"I want them to understand and know that this documentary is not telling the truth. There has not been not one piece of evidence that corroborates their story." -- Marlon Jackson pic.twitter.com/O73o19flry
— CBS This Morning (@CBSThisMorning) February 26, 2019
“This documentary is not telling the truth,” Marlon said. “There has not been one piece of evidence that corroborates their story.”
In the documentary, Robson and Safechuck go into graphic detail about the alleged abuse they experienced from Jackson, including being introduced to oral sex and attempts at penetration. They say the alleged abuse happened in hotel rooms, in a “hideout” in Los Angeles’ Westwood neighborhood and at Neverland Ranch, Jackson’s infamous sprawling estate.
Jackson’s nephew Taj claims that he was present at many of the sleepovers as a child, as were Michael Jackson’s own children.
“I grew up in it, so for me it wasn’t odd,” he said. “To the outside world, yes, I think it can be odd. I mean, I’m not oblivious to what it sounds like. But when you’re actually there in that atmosphere and you’re around it, and you’re watching movies, whether, with his kids, whether it’s ‘Little Rascals’ or ‘Three Stooges,’ and you’re watching these things, it’s like, it’s very innocent.”
Taj added, “I think the fault on my uncle was he just— he didn’t have that bone in his body to look at it the other way. And I think that was the thing, is that his naiveté was his downfall in a way.”
The Jackson family previously released a statement calling the documentary a “public lynching” and a “one-sided marathon on unvetted propaganda.” The Jackson estate is currently suing HBO for $100 million, claiming the studio is in violation of a non-disparagement clause that was part of a contract for previous TV specials about the singer.
Taj believes that Safechuck and Robson are only coming forward for money.
“It’s always been about money,” he said. “I hate to say it — when it’s my uncle, it’s almost like they see a blank check.”
Leaving Neverland will air on HBO in two parts on March 3 and March 4.