Michael Jackson has been accused of assaulting his pet chimpanzee Bubbles by one of the world’s most foremost primatologists.
Dame Jame Goodall says she believes that the animal was punched in the face and kicked in the stomach while living with the pop icon at his Neverland ranch.
Jackson famously adopted the unlikely pet from an animal trainer in the late 1980s, before it became a frequent companion that travelled with him across the globe.
Despite appearing to live a life of pampered luxury, Goodall claims that Bubbles was frequently attacked and that Jackson lost his temper when she personally presented the theory to him.
“I went to see him and we talked about Bubbles. I ticked him off,” she previously told TMZ.
“Bubbles is still alive and he’s beautiful. But when he was with Michael he was being beaten.”
While Goodall didn’t specifically claim that Jackson was responsible for the apparent abuse, others claimed to have witnessed the attack first hand. Jack Gordon, the ex-husband of La Toya Jackson, claims that he personally witnessed the star attacking the chimp.
“I saw Michael punch Bubbles in the face, kick him in the stomach,” claimed Gordon.
Bubbles, who is now 35-years-old, now lives at the Center for Great Apes in Wauchula, Florida after Jackson gave him away in the mid 1990s.
The latest controversy to face the star comes only a week after the premiere of Leaving Neverland. The documentary features extensive testimonies from Wade Robson and James Safechuck, who both allege that they were sexually abused by the singer as children.
Jackson’s family have dismissed both of the claims.