Michael Jackson‘s nephew Taj has led calls for a fresh investigation into the singer’s notorious interview with Martin Bashir, claiming that his late uncle was “stabbed in the back” by the shamed journalist.
It comes after an independent inquiry led by Lord Dyson last week found that Bashir engaged in “deceitful behaviour” to gain access to Princess Diana for a landmark interview in 1995.
The Dyson Report also concluded that Bashir’s actions to secure the interview amounted to a “serious breach” of BBC editorial policy, which the corporation subsequently covered up.
In 2003, Bashir attracted international attention for presenting Living with Michael Jackson, an ITV documentary where he followed the late pop icon’s life over the course of eight months.
Bashir’s manipulated footage and unethically journalism is one of the main reasons my uncle Michael is not here today. That 2005 trial broke him. Shame on those who provided cover for Bashir. Shame on those who rewarded him.
My family deserves an investigation & apology too. https://t.co/pJAO4amAum
— Taj Jackson (@tajjackson3) May 20, 2021
The film became steeped in notoriety after it saw Jackson admitting to sharing his bed with young boys, but he remained adamant that there was no sexual element to the interactions.
Months later, Jackson was charged with seven counts of child molestation but he was acquitted of all charges in 2005.
Appearing on Good Morning Britain earlier today (May 24), Jackson’s nephew Taj said his uncle had been “betrayed” by Bashir’s film.
“It’s the betrayal aspect of it, someone that you let into your life and you trust,” Taj said.
“My uncle felt safe with him, and safe that he would portray him in the right light. My uncle looked at him as a friend, and through the voiceovers and the editing, really stabbed him in the back.”
He continued: “I always had faith that journalism meant something, and that day that faith died.”
Calling for an investigation, Taj said: “This was a man who was let into my uncle’s life, trusted… and then pretty much destroyed my uncle’s persona, I would say, when my uncle was looking to rehabilitate it.”
A statement issued on Bashir’s behalf said, per The Independent: “The ITV documentary team spent more than eight months filming with Michael Jackson. He signed two contracts to allow for filming and broadcast and Martin Bashir was always accompanied by a production team and crew.
“Following the documentary Mr Jackson was charged by the relevant authorities in the United States in relation to allegations concerning a teenage boy. It was the second time Michael Jackson had faced similar allegations in his lifetime. He was tried and eventually cleared by a court in California.
“Martin Bashir gave no evidence against him because, apart from a very few minutes of the documentary that featured Mr Jackson talking on camera – very willingly – about sleeping in bed with a child, the film did not contain any allegations of wrongdoing. To suggest the TV programme led to his death, over which his personal physician was found guilty of involuntary manslaughter, is untrue.”
Jackson, who died in 2009, previously said the film left him feeling “more betrayed than perhaps ever before”.