It's in response to a film that interviews Jackson's alleged sexual abuse victims
Michael Jackson’s nephew is raising funds to release a documentary series that aims to tell the truth about the late pop star.
Taj Jackson says that his “explosive” series will reveal how his uncle was “betrayed, entrapped, and extorted” throughout his life. The project will dispute what Taj says are unsubstantiated posthumous abuse allegations against his uncle surrounding his relationships with children.
Taj, the son of Tito Jackson (The Jackson Five) and a member of the pop group 3T, explained on his GoFundMe page that he plans to release the currently untitled docuseries in response to the screening of Leaving Neverland. The film premieres this week at the Sundance Film Festival and will air on HBO this spring.
“After having their abuse allegations dismissed by the court, the two men who are subjects in this film have turned to HBO, the UK’s Channel 4 and the Sundance Film Festival to tell their stories,” he wrote.
“I’m extremely disappointed in Sundance. Enough is enough. Michael Jackson died an innocent, vindicated man. It’s time to take a stand, and I’m fighting hard for the truth.”
At the time of writing, Taj’s campaign has raised $24,876 of a $777,000 goal. An online petition has received signatures from more than 50,000 supporters.
Taj continued: “As a sexual abuse victim…I know what it means to be a survivor. I also know what kind of damage sexual misconduct leaves upon the victims. This unique position makes me even more determined and qualified to make the truth, the whole truth known about my uncle Michael’s false allegations.”
Mike Smallcombe, a newspaper journalist and the author of the Jackson biography Making Michael, wrote in CornwallLive that there is “zero evidence” of historic child sexual abuse alleged by Wade Robson and James Safechuck, who are interviewed in the film.
The men sued Jackson’s estate but their lawsuit was dismissed in 2017.
“Jackson can’t defend himself and his estate and family possess no powers to stop the documentary from being released,” Smallcombe continued. “Everything under the sun can be said by the media about dead individuals like Jackson and there is nothing anyone can do about it.”
An award-winning investigative journalist, Charles Thomson, voiced similar concerns on Twitter.
“This is a despicable and disgraceful decision by @sundancefest. These men’s ludicrous lawsuit was tossed out of court [sic]. Their lawyer submitted forged evidence. To give this sort of credence to their allegations is repulsive, irresponsible, dangerous and indefensible. Disgusting.”
Leaving Neverland director/producer Dan Reed said of his film: “If there’s anything we’ve learned during this time in our history, it’s that sexual abuse is complicated, and survivors’ voices need to be listened to. It took great courage for these two men to tell their stories and I have no question about their validity.”
Taj has explained that he is crowdfunding his own docuseries so that it can be “free from editorial interference” as a publicly funded project.