"There was very little practical action left for us to take."
The UK’s advertising watchdog has announced the end of its investigation into outdoor posters controversially claiming Michael Jackson is innocent of child sex abuse.
The organisers of the website MJInnocent.com purchased ad space across London buses and bus shelters, showing photos of Jackson with the words “innocent” across his mouth and the slogan “Facts don’t lie, people do.”
Transport for London also came under fire for permitting the adverts, before confirming the removal of the adverts.
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“We received 34 complaints in total. In assessing whether there were grounds for further action, we took into account the fact that TfL had removed the ads following concern from the public,” said The ASA.
“In this instance, as the ads had already been removed, there was very little practical action left for us to take.”
The adverts first emerged in the wake of Leaving Neverland, a joint documentary from Channel 4 and HBO that detailed allegations of child abuse sex abuse against the star.
In the film, Wade Robson and James Safechuck alleged that they had been molested by the popstar while touring with him in the 1980s and during visits to his Neverland home.
While the allegations have been denied by Jackson’s family, international radio stations have boycotted Jackson’s music and The Simpsons has confirmed it will no longer show an episode featuring a guest appearance from him.
- Read more: “More victims will come out” – Leaving Neverland director Dan Reed on Michael Jackson’s toxic legacy
Over the weekend, Barbra Streisand courted controversy after suggesting that Jackson’s accusers were “thrilled” to be with him and that Jackson’s “sexual needs were his sexual needs.” The comments prompted a near-immediate backlash – before Streisand said she has “nothing but sympathy” for Robson and Safechuck.
Diana Ross also defended Jackson yesterday – hailing him as a “magnificent incredible force.”