Transport for London has faced calls to remove adverts protesting Michael Jackson’s innocence which have appeared across buses in London.
The adverts appeared on buses following a £20,000 crowdsourced campaign and feature Jackson’s face alongside the word “innocent”, which covers his mouth. The image is accompanied by the slogan “Facts Don’t Lie, People Do.”
— Stuart Penney (@StuartPenney1) March 8, 2019
It follows the airing of the two-part Leaving Neverland documentary which explores allegations of sexual abuse made against Michael Jackson by Wade Robson and James Safechuck, who both say the pop star abused them as children.
- Read More: “More victims will come out” – ‘Leaving Neverland’ director Dan Reed on Michael Jackson’s toxic legacy
Now, The Survivors Trust has urged TfL to consider taking the adverts down.
The organisation, which provides support for victims of rape and child sexual abuse, said the adverts were “really inappropriate”.
“The decision to prioritise advertising revenue over the option of remaining neutral on such an emotive topic is disappointing,” the group told Sky News.
They also said that fewer than one in five rape victims reported the attacks to police, and a quarter of remain silent because they do not think their allegations will be believed.
“An advertising campaign such as this perpetuates this fear amongst survivors and is very misplaced,” they added.
Jackson’s estate have denied the claims against the late singer, while a civil suit was thrown out by a judge in 2012 after it was ruled the estate could not be held liable for Jackson’s behaviour.
Facts don't lie – people do. The controversial claim you might have seen on London buses. The message is part of an ad campaign funded by fans protesting the innocence of the late Michael Jackson, however groups working with survivors of abuse are angry. @SamHolderTV reports. pic.twitter.com/i1ivoM3SuJ
— ITV London (@itvlondon) March 1, 2019
#MJFam I think we should help MJ fans in England.
Today the buses campaign starts in London using the hashtag #MJInnocent Facts don't Lie People do. Let's bombard the hashtag #MJInnocent with all the FACTS again for people outside of MJ community curious to see what is about pic.twitter.com/VjluGZa8Rz
— Nimue (@Nimue9) February 25, 2019
— RightwingLefty (@Rwinglefty) March 3, 2019
- Read More: “I’m here to go against the lies”: we meet the Michael Jackson apologists protesting against ‘Leaving Neverland’ in London
Speaking to NME, a spokesperson for Transport for London said: “This advertising campaign is compliant with our advertising policy.” They also confirmed that the advertisements had been running since February 25 and will stop on March 24.
On the crowdsourced page it states: “In relation to the London buses – they are iconic and instantly recognisable across the world. Having our messages captured this way offers the public an opportunity to take pictures and share on social media, promoting the genuine belief that there is a huge group in society that believe and know he is INNOCENT.”
As The Wall Street Journal reports, Stark Raving Dad has been pulled from circulation – with Simpsons producer James L Brooks saying that “it feels clearly like the only choice to make.”
“The guys I work with– where we all spend our lives arguing over jokes — were of one mind on this,” said Brooks.
“It feels clearly the only choice to make. The documentary gave evidence of monstrous behaviour. I’m against book burning of any kind. But this is our book, and we’re allowed to take out a chapter.”
The show’s decision to sever all ties with Jackson comes days after radio stations across the world began boycotting Jackson’s music in direct response to the allegations.