Oprah Winfrey is set to sit down with the two men who have accused Michael Jackson of sexual abuse in new documentary Leaving Neverland in a special post-show interview.
The hard-hitting two-part series centres on the long-running relationships the King of Pop shared with Wade Robson and James Safechuck when they were kids, during which time they claim they were taken advantage of by the late superstar.
Executors for the Jackson estate have filed a $100 million (£76.7 million) lawsuit against bosses at U.S. network HBO in a bid to block plans to broadcast the controversial project, but TV officials remain unfazed, and will air the first part on Sunday (03Mar19), followed by the second installment on Monday.
Now it’s been revealed that Oprah will host an in-depth chat about the allegations with Robson, Safechuck, and documentary director Dan Reed, with the discussion taped “before an audience of survivors of sexual abuse and others whose lives have been impacted by it,” according to HBO officials.
Titled After Neverland, it will premiere immediately after Leaving Neverland’s conclusion on Monday, and also air on Winfrey’s OWN network.
The news emerges shortly after the Thriller hitmaker’s brothers Marlon, Jackie, and Tito, along with Tito’s son Taj, featured in a TV interview with Winfrey’s best friend, newswoman Gayle King, for a segment on her daily show, CBS This Morning.
During the chat, which aired on Wednesday (27Feb19), the four men continued to slam the accusations made against Michael in Leaving Neverland, insisting the singer would “never” have caused harm to others, especially kids.
Michael’s nephew Taj blamed his uncle’s “naivety” for the allegations, claiming the legendary musician didn’t see anything wrong with holding slumber parties with kids or inviting them to share his bed, because he just didn’t think that way.
“You know, I think, to the outside world, yes, I think it can be odd. I mean, I’m not oblivious to what it sounds like,” the 45 year old said. “But when you’re actually there in that atmosphere…. it’s very innocent. But I think, the fault on my uncle was he just, he didn’t have that bone in his body to look at it the other way. And I think that was the thing, is that his naivety was his downfall in a way.”
And Taj is convinced Robson and Safechuck are simply looking to cash in on their stories: “I hate to say it (but) when it’s my uncle, it’s almost like they (alleged victims) see a blank cheque,” he explained. “These people felt that they’re owed something.”
Michael, who passed away in 2009, was acquitted in a 2005 trial for child molestation.