The star dismisses the ITV1 documentary as a "salacious ratings-chaser"...

Michael Jackson has issued a statement saying he feels “more betrayed than perhaps ever before” by the documentary shown on ITV1 on Monday (February 3) in which he was interviewed in depth by journalist MARTIN BASHIR.

Dismissing the show as “a salacious ratings-chaser” Michael Jackson said he would never harm any child, after Bashir expressed concern about the singer’s relationship with young friends. He had revealed that kids who go to stay with him at his Neverland ranch often sleep in his bed, and insisted that he sleeps on the floor in a sleeping bag.

The statement said: “Today I feel more betrayed than perhaps ever before, that someone who had got to know my children, my staff and me, whom I let into my heart and told the truth, could then sacrifice the trust I placed in him and produce this terrible and unfair programme.

“Everyone who knows me will know the truth, which is that my children come first in my life and that I would never harm any child.”

He added: “I trusted Martin Bashir to come into my life and that of my family because I wanted the truth to be told.

“[He] persuaded me to trust him that his would be an honest and fair portrayal of my life and told me he was ‘the man that turned Diana’s life around’. I am surprised that a professional journalist would compromise his integrity by deceiving me in this way.”

Michael Jackson famously reached a multi-million dollar settlement out of court with a 14-year-old boy who claimed he had been sexually abused by the star in 1993. He always maintained his innocence.

Bashir had also expressed concern over Michael Jackson‘s habit of keeping his three children’s face covered by masks or veils when they are out in public with him.

Viewing figures for the programme are estimated at 14 million. The show is to be broadcast in the US today (February 6).