Michael Jackson‘s nephew has revealed that he and the rest of the family once staged an intervention over the singer’s relationships with children.
Recent documentary Leaving Neverland focuses on testimony by Wade Robson, 36, and James Safechuck, 41, who both claim that Michael Jackson sexually abused them when they were children.
Asked by NME in an interview this week whether the family ever thought to step in and talk to Jackson about his relationships with young children, nephew Taj Jackson confirmed that an intervention did in fact take place.
“That’s exactly what happened after the trial,” he said, referring to Jackson’s 2004-2005 criminal trial in which he was charged with molesting 13-year-old Gavin Arvizo. “And that’s why after the trial it was all family.”
Indicted for four counts of molesting a minor, four counts of intoxicating a minor to molest him, one count of attempted child molestation, one count of conspiring to hold the boy and his family captive, and conspiring to commit extortion and child abduction, Jackson pleaded not guilty to all counts in the Arvizo case.
Lasting 18 months, the trial ended on June 13, 2005, when the jury delivered a verdict of not guilty on all charges, including four lesser misdemeanour counts.
According to Taj, the intervention was to urge the singer to spend more time with the people who loved him.
“We said to him: ‘You have plenty of family members. You have plenty of nieces and nephews’. And he agreed,” he explained.
Taj also added that Michael Jackson’s “achilles heel” was his need to help people.
“I asked him about Gavin,” he admitted. “He said to me, ‘I could not let that kid die.’ He had cancer at the time he met Michael Jackson. He doesn’t have cancer anymore but he had cancer and a lot of people forget that.”
Taj added: “When it comes to people who are dying my uncle…he felt like he had to be there for these people.”
Leaving Neverland divided opinion when it premiered in the UK this week, with fans taking to the streets of London to protest it being broadcast while radio stations around the world have since banned Jackson’s songs. Controversial adverts have also appeared on London buses in defence of Jackson, while there has also been a surge for his music in the charts since the film aired.
Jackson denied any wrongdoing before he died in 2009.