Towards the Death of the #MeToo Movement? – A Case of Killing in the Name of the Victim

FOREWORD

Important strands of the Jewish and Christian traditions are particularly sensitive to phenomena like mob violence, victim blaming, sexism and racism. Those strands try to give “voice to the voiceless”, whether in situations where the voice of individuals disappears in the roar of a patriarchal group mentality or in situations where the voice of individuals disappears in the roar of the mass media crowd.

The Christian tradition interprets the concern for the voice of the voiceless as the work of the “Holy Spirit”, who is also called the “Defender”, “Advocate” or “Comforter” (see, for instance, John 14:16-17, “And I will ask the Father, and he will give you another advocate to help you and be with you foreverthe Spirit of truth. The world cannot accept him, because it neither sees him nor knows him. But you know him, for he lives with you and will be in you.”).

Therefore, from this perspective the Jewish and Christian traditions will be at once an advocate and a critic of the #MeToo movement, as the movement should represent the voice of the voiceless and not the voice of a blinded and blinding lynch mob.

The following article mainly focuses on the case of multiple child sexual abuse against Michael Jackson (although not exclusively) as a prime example of how the roar of the mass media crowd threatens the credibility of the #MeToo movement. That movement should be about giving “voice to the voiceless”.

TABLOID JOURNALISM

READ What You Should Know About the New Michael Jackson Documentary (Joe Vogel, FORBES, January 29, 2019).

READ One of the Most Shameful Episodes in Journalistic History (Charles Thomson, HUFFPOST, June 13, 2010).

READ The Truth About What Michael Jackson Had (And Didn’t Have) In His Bedroom (Raven Woods, HUFFPOST, July 8, 2016).

READ Leaving Neverland Exposed: The Devil is in the Details by Damien Shields.

Regarding the allegations of child sexual abuse against the late Michael Jackson in the television production Leaving Neverland,  people often conclude: “No-one who wasn’t there can possibly know what happened or didn’t happen in Michael Jackson’s bedroom!”

Actually, there is ample proof by now that significant parts of Michael Jackson’s alleged abuse took place in non-existent beds of non-existent rooms on non-existent occasions.

At first sight, to believe that Michael Jackson was a serial pedophile is one of the easiest things to do. It also seems the most rational, even most compassionate thing to do. Well, is it?

Those who believe in Michael Jackson’s guilt often point to his “unusual behavior” as circumstantial evidence corroborating that guilt. However, they do not consider the unusual as well as fraudulent behavior and proven outright lies of accusers like Evan Chandler, Janet Arvizo, Víctor Gutiérrez, Diane Dimond, Dan Reed, Wade Robson and James Safechuck as circumstantial evidence that indicates Michael Jackson’s innocence.

Moreover, Michael Jackson’s accusers often refer to non-existent things as “proof” of Jackson’s guilt. Diane Dimond once enthusiastically referred to a non-existent videotape of Jackson molesting a boy. The videotape was allegedly owned by her convicted fraudulent friend Víctor Gutiérrez. Gutiérrez wrote a graphic pedo-fantasist book about the relationship between Jordan Chandler and Michael Jackson, based on a non-existent “secret diary” of Jordan Chandler. Despite being convicted multiple times for fabricating completely non-existent (pedophile) sex scandals against high profile figures, Víctor Gutiérrez for a long time remains an “expert” regarding Michael Jackson to (tabloid) media. Find out more about Gutiérrez by clicking here.

Víctor Gutiérrez even appears as “investigative journalist” in a 2007 UK television production on the late pop star. The title of that documentary is Michael Jackson: What Really Happened and it is produced by Channel 4. It is the same Channel 4 that, together with HBO, commissioned the 2019 film Leaving Neverland on Wade Robson’s and James Safechuck’s child sexual abuse allegations against the late Michael Jackson. Like the allegations by Robson and Safechuck, director Dan Reed’s “research” for Leaving Neverland seems primarily based on the pedo-fantasist fiction produced by Gutiérrez. Maybe this can be expected, as Reed clearly depends on the Gutiérrez based “information” of Channel 4. After all, in an interview for Slate’s The Gist podcast (with Mike Pesca, on March 1, 2019) Reed describes the origin of the Leaving Neverland film like this:

“At the outset, I had no special interest in Jackson. This project came about in a kind of random way and the timing is quite random.

I wish I could say I’d set out to make a big difference in the #MeToo movement. […]

[The project] came about through a casual conversation with a Channel 4 executive in the UK, and we were talking about what are the big stories out there that are slightly unresolved. […] I commissioned someone to do some research and they [sic] came up with this, I think it was like a foreign page reference to these two guys I’d never heard of, Wade Robson and James Safechuck.”

Dan Reed then goes on to say that he met each of them only once before recording their stories. Well, so far for the “research” of which the results are very similar to the pedo-fantasist fiction by Víctor Gutiérrez – watch:

James Safechuck in particular tells eerily similar stories about Michael Jackson as the ones found in the book by Gutiérrez and very convincingly claims, in Leaving Neverland, to have been molested numerous times in a 1988 non-existent train station.

James claims the abuse in the train station happened at the start of the abuse period, in the so-called “honeymoon period”. However, the train station opened in 1994, and by the time James could visit Neverland again with Michael Jackson present, it was already 1995. So molestation in that train station would have been, at the earliest, when James was 17 and significantly taller than Michael Jackson. After being confronted with this issue, Leaving Neverland director Dan Reed claimed that the abuse did take place in the train station, but that the time period of the abuse is wrong. This directly contradicts Safechuck’s own lawsuit in which he declares that the abuse began in 1988 and ended in 1992. It also goes against the whole narrative of the film that Michael Jackson was a veritable pedophile and lost interest in the boys once they reached adolescence.

Furthermore, Wade Robson and James Safechuck fail to mention Wade started “dating” Brandi Jackson thanks to her uncle Michael Jackson when Wade was about 9 years old. However, they do refer to Jackson’s non-existent jealousy regarding his alleged victims having relationships with girls. Related to this fact is the following claim by Leaving Neverland director Dan Reed (in an interview for !hit Australia, 12 March 2019). It is Reed’s attempt to discredit the testimony by Brandi Jackson. According to Dan Reed, Brandi only began seeing Wade after the majority of the alleged abuse (“hundreds and hundreds of times”, according to Wade) had already taken place:

“The intense period of Wade’s, it’s terrible to say it but sexual relationship with Michael Jackson was from the age of 7 to the age of 9. That was again, if you like, to use a dreadful word, the honeymoon period. The period when they were really seeing each other a lot and he makes it clear in the film he doesn’t really see Michael much after that.”

Exactly how the period of Wade being 7-9 years old could be the period when Wade and Michael “really saw each other a lot” will forever remain a mystery. At the time, the Robson family still lived in Australia. In short, Dan Reed is referring to a non-existent period of many Michael Jackson visits.

And so on. In any case, the reference to non-existent things as alleged “proof” are numerous in all the tales of Michael Jackson’s accusers. Exactly why these accusers should be believed despite their apparent lies, manipulations and fantasies is never quite explained by “believers” of Michael Jackson’s guilt.

It’s time to take a closer look. The testimonies (see below) of the potential victims of Michael Jackson reveal that the so-called circumstantial evidence accusers love to refer to is actually non-existent circumstantial evidence. Moreover, Michael Jackson rarely slept in the bed where children were sleeping alone, contrary to what many people believe.

Charles Thomson, an awarded investigative journalist (among others because of his work on a pedophile ring) and other journalists clarify key aspects of the Wade Robson and James Safechuck cases which were omitted in Leaving Neverland. They reveal the absurdity of these cases:

#MeToo AND TRIAL BY (MASS) TABLOID MEDIA

HIGH PROFILE CASES OF SEXUAL ABUSE THAT TURN OUT TO BE TOO RIDICULOUS TO BE TRUE, CONTAINING A MYRIAD OF PROVABLE LIES, HURT THE OVERALL CREDIBILITY OF THE VICTIMS OF SEXUAL ASSAULT AND SEXUAL VIOLENCE.

OVER MEDIATIZED CASES, LIKE THE CASES OF ACCUSER CARL BEECH OR LIKE THE CASES OF THE ACCUSED BUT INNOCENT CLIFF RICHARD, SIMON WARR AND BRIAN BANKS CREATE A CULTURE WHEREIN REAL PERPETRATORS CAN SHED DOUBT ON THE ALLEGATIONS OF REAL VICTIMS. NOT TO MENTION THE CASES AGAINST THE AMERICAN DAVID BRYANT AND HIS ENGLISH NAMESAKE, DAVID BRYANT.

BY NOT TAKING INTO ACCOUNT WHAT HAS BEEN DECIDED ABOUT A PERSON’S GUILT IN A COURT OF LAW, AND BY ALLOWING A HIGH PROFILE MEDIA FRENZY REGARDING TWO ALLEGED VICTIMS WHOSE CASES WERE ALREADY DISMISSED TWICE BY A JUDGE, ONE FURTHER PARTICIPATES IN THE CREATION OF A CULTURE OF DOUBT CONCERNING THE ALLEGATIONS OF VICTIMS.

THUS, IF THE #MeToo MOVEMENT REFUSES TO TAKE INTO ACCOUNT HOW EXACTLY AN ALLEGED HIGH PROFILE PERPETRATOR WAS ACQUITTED THROUGH DUE PROCESS AND IF THE #MeToo MOVEMENT ALLOWS FOR NEW ACCUSATIONS IN A “TRIAL BY MEDIA” WITH EASILY PROVEN LIES AND HUGE MONETARY DEMANDS, THEN THE #MeToo MOVEMENT IS ITSELF AN ENABLER OF SEXUAL ASSAULT AND VIOLENCE (AS PERPETRATORS ONCE AGAIN CAN HIDE BEHIND A VEIL OF DOUBT).

SIMPLY LAZILY REFERRING TO A HIGH PROFILE PERPETRATOR’S ALLEGED “POWER” AND “GOOD LAWYERS” IS NOT ENOUGH TO JUSTIFY ANY TRIAL BY MEDIA. IT OPENS THE DOOR FOR WITCH HUNTS.

THAT’S WHY THE #MeToo MOVEMENT SHOULD BE VERY TROUBLED ABOUT A FILM LIKE LEAVING NEVERLAND.

AGAIN, IF THE #MeToo MOVEMENT IS NOT TROUBLED BY A PRODUCTION LIKE LEAVING NEVERLAND, THEN THE #MeToo MOVEMENT IS SIMPLY, HOWEVER TRAGICALLY, ONE MORE ENABLER OF THE RAPE CULTURE IT IS TRYING TO FIGHT.

HENCE, FOR INSTANCE, #WADEANDJAMESDONOTSPEAKFORME USED BY A GROWING NUMBER OF CHILD SEXUAL ABUSE SURVIVORS.

#MeToo Credibility Leaving Neverland 1

AS MANY AN ACCUSED BUT OFFICIALLY ACQUITTED PERSON WILL TESTIFY, THERE WILL ALWAYS BE PEOPLE WHO SIMPLY DON’T BELIEVE ONE WAS INNOCENT. THIS MAKES IT VERY EASY FOR FRAUDS TO LAUNCH NEW ALLEGATIONS AGAINST SOMEONE WHO WAS ACQUITTED BUT STILL SUFFERS FROM A BAD REPUTATION, ESPECIALLY IF THAT PERSON IS NO LONGER HERE TO DEFEND HIMSELF.

According to a Vox/Morning Consult survey (published April 5, 2018),

“Women who supported #MeToo were actually more concerned than women as a whole about some potential ill effects of the movement. Sixty-eight percent of #MeToo supporters were very or somewhat concerned about false accusations, for instance, compared with 63 percent of all women.”

Why?

According to the same survey,

“Women’s concerns are often rooted in a desire for the movement to succeed.

[…]

It’s not surprising that women who were supportive of #MeToo were also more likely than average to have certain concerns, said Sarah J. Jackson, a professor of communication studies at Northeastern University who studies racial and gender justice activism. People who support the movement “understand the stakes,” Jackson said.

In her recent interviews with feminist Twitter users, she said, she found a keen awareness of the ways feminist causes can be undermined — an awareness that false rape accusations, for instance, can be portrayed in ways that harm anti-rape activism as a whole.”

Read more here: Why women are worried about #MeToo.

A SERIAL PEDOPHILE?

Brett Barnes, Karlee Barnes, Omer Bhatti (O-Bee), Aaron Carter, Eddie Cascio, Frank Cascio, Kevin Macaulay Culkin, Bela Farkas, Corey Feldman, Brandi Jackson, Taj Jackson, Sean Lennon, Harriet Lester, Emmanuel Lewis, William Ray Norwood Jr. (Ray J), Danny Oliver, Kelley Parker, Alfonso Ribeiro, David Rothenberg (Dave Dave), Anton Schleiter, Franziska Schleiter.

What do these people have in common?

Well, for one thing, they all got to know Michael Jackson up close and personal when they were young boys and girls.

Secondly, they have all publicly, repeatedly and emphatically denied that Michael Jackson ever approached them inappropriately when they were children. They have claimed the opposite, testifying to nothing but good memories about their experiences with the late pop star.

I will wholeheartedly admit that this doesn’t mean that Michael Jackson didn’t molest any other children. However, often the testimonies in defense of Michael Jackson are read in light of the few allegations of child sexual abuse against him by those who believe that he indeed was a pedophile. Some of the “believers” then go to great lengths to explain the psychology of the people who claim, as adults, that they were never molested by Michael Jackson while they might very probably have been molested. This is a patronizing, belittling and arrogant attitude to listen to people’s testimonies, to say the least.

I would like to propose the opposite approach without, however, “explaining away” the possibility of Michael Jackson as a child molester beforehand on purely speculative psychological grounds. So I suggest to interpret the few allegations in light of the numerous testimonies in favor of Michael Jackson, after which certain non-speculative facts can be considered in relation to the allegations.

Before I go on, some people might want to know if I’m a fan of Michael Jackson. The answer is that I am a fan of his music, although certainly more of his early work as an adult solo-artist. I grew up on his first three albums, but his music generally is not my pick of the day. My taste in music is quite broad, not only in the “classical” sections, but also in the pop and rock sections. Aerosmith, Tracy Chapman, Leonard Cohen, Marc Cohn, DMX, Fleetwood Mac, King’s X, Joni Mitchell, Prince, Todd Rundgren, Bruce Springsteen, The Doors, Toto and U2 are among my favorite artists. One of my all-time favorite bands is Dan Reed Network, which is quite ironic since the director’s name of the controversial HBO-production Leaving Neverland is also Dan Reed.

I wanted to point this out because some people assume all kinds of things when you strongly defend the possibility that Michael Jackson wasn’t a pedophile at all. They assume that Michael Jackson must be your big idol, and that you belong to some sort of “crazy fan cult” that will deny the so-called truth about Michael Jackson being a pedophile at all costs, even in the face of “overwhelming” evidence or indications. I can honestly say that I would not have any problem admitting that Michael Jackson most likely was a pedophile if the evidence or circumstantial evidence would point in that direction. On the contrary, if that were indeed the case, then his victims would be welcome to receive my full support. However, in a world that is founded upon the so-called Age of Reason or Enlightenment, judgments should be made on the basis of facts and these facts point in the direction of false accusations. All the extremely thorough research done by legal and judicial authorities over the years, time and again exonerate Michael Jackson – for more on this, see FACTS TO CONSIDER WHEN WATCHING “LEAVING NEVERLAND”.

Dan Reed (the director of the HBO production Leaving Neverland) believes that Michael Jackson was a serial pedophile, as is also claimed by Wade Robson. There are a number of people who clearly qualify as potential victims because they slept in the same room as Jackson and had a close relationship with him (Jackson could have “groomed” them). Other children, who visited Neverland Ranch under the guidance of tutors and as a group (often in the absence of Michael Jackson) less easily qualify.

The vast majority of people who qualify as potential victims have testified that they never experienced any abuse by Michael Jackson (see below for some of their testimonies). This does not fit the pattern of the serial pedophile Dan Reed and others want to establish so eagerly. 

Already in 1993, following the first case of allegations against Michael Jackson by the Chandler family, 40-60 children were interviewed by prosecutors (some sources mention up to 100 children). None of these children corroborated the story of the accuser’s side. So what about the exceptions, the people who did level allegations against Michael Jackson? Are their stories credible? It is time to take a closer look at the specific cases against the late pop star.

NOTE ON THE TWO CASES OF CSA DURING MICHAEL JACKSON’S LIFETIME

It is good to remember some important facts about the two cases of child sexual abuse (CSA) that were brought against Michael Jackson during his lifetime (again, for more on this see FACTS TO CONSIDER WHEN WATCHING “LEAVING NEVERLAND”).

Regarding the Jordan Chandler case of 1993, people should consider the following facts. Jordan Chandler’s parents are divorced. His father, Evan, is a Hollywood dentist who wants to make it in show business. He becomes very disgruntled with his ex-wife June, his son Jordan and Michael Jackson when they don’t sustain the level of communication he expects from them. In a lengthy taped phone conversation between Evan and David Schwartz (Jordan’s stepfather) Evan reveals his plans to “destroy ex-wife June and Michael Jackson” if they don’t return to his desired level of contact. Evan Chandler suggests his plan is to level allegations of child sexual abuse against Michael Jackson. If his ex-wife and Michael Jackson do re-establish contact with him, he promises not to go through with his plan. In other words, Evan Chandler clearly aims to blackmail Michael Jackson. Whatever really happens between Michael Jackson and his son is of no importance to him. When Michael Jackson resists Evan Chandler’s extortion attempts, Evan Chandler tries everything to force his son to level allegations of child sexual abuse against Michael Jackson. Jordan Chandler denies anything inappropriate ever happened between him and Michael Jackson multiple times, until he finally succumbs to the pressure of his father. Evan Chandler threatens to go public with the allegations if Michael Jackson refuses to pay a settlement. Michael Jackson indeed refuses, after which Evan seeks monetary compensations in an official civil case against Jackson. Michael Jackson and his legal team file for the criminal case to go before the civil case so he can clear his name, but to no avail. After the civil case is settled (for $15,331,250) in which an official document makes sure that this is not an admission of guilt on the part of Michael Jackson, Evan Chandler is no longer interested in pursuing criminal charges against Michael Jackson. The criminal case goes on, though, but is rejected by two different Grand Juries – in any case, Michael Jackson did not buy his way out of court!

Jackson’s legal team had advised him to settle the civil case so they could assure a fair upcoming criminal trial. Moreover, Jackson was mentally and physically exhausted by the turmoil at the time and huge financial interests of his employees were at stake (Jackson had already cancelled part of the Dangerous tour). As the Chandlers eventually didn’t press criminal charges, Michael Jackson would later consider the settlement of the civil case one of the major mistakes of his life.

After the whole circus winds down, Jordan Chandler no longer wants anything to do with his parents anymore and files for legal emancipation. At the trial against Michael Jackson in 2005, his mother declares that she hadn’t been in contact with her son for 11 years. Jordan at some point even obtains a permanent restraining order against the father who had forced him to level allegations against Michael Jackson. If there is one manipulative, abusive person in this whole situation, it is indeed Jordan Chandler’s father Evan Chandler. Not only other people become the victim of his behavior. Eventually Evan Chandler commits suicide, a few months after Michael Jackson’s passing.

Tom Mesereau, Jackson’s lawyer in the 2005 case, refers to Jordan Chandler and the 1993 civil case against Jackson in the following way (in a lecture for Harvard Law School, November 5, 2005) – Mesereau begins by saying that Jordan Chandler never showed up to testify in 2005:

 

 

The second case against Michael Jackson during his lifetime revolves around Gavin Arvizo, which culminates in the 2005 criminal trial. The Arvizo family turns out to have a history of (at times successful) extortion attempts. On August 27, 1998, when he is only eight years old, Gavin steals two school uniforms and two school uniform pants from a J.C. Penney Department Store. Strangely enough, the incident ends with a settlement between the Arvizo family and J.C. Penney in which the store pays the family $152,200. Janet Arvizo, the mother, claimed that she had been touched inappropriately by security guards. The file about the case clearly indicates her manipulative tactics.

Apart from the Michael Jackson and the J.C. Penney cases, the Arvizos get also caught being involved in fraudulent and manipulative activities against actor and comedian Chris Tucker, comedian George Lopez, television host Jay Leno and editor Connie Keenan. Mother Janet Arvizo also committed welfare fraud.

A very important fact is the changing of the timeline of Michael Jackson’s alleged abuse by the Arvizos. The Michael Jackson Allegations website points out the consequences of this (see also below, Rolling Stone’s account of the same situation):

“Initially the Arvizos claimed that the molestation started as soon as they returned from Miami with Jackson, on February 7, 2003. This version of the story is also represented in the prosecution’s initial felony complaint, filed on December 18, 2003.

However, later they changed this story and said that Jackson started molesting Gavin after February 20. As you will see, this timeline change was not just a minor correction. It significantly changed the narrative of the Arvizos’ initial story.

[…]

According to the story that the Arvizos ended up with due to the timeline change, Jackson started molesting Gavin while the CPS and the police investigated, while there was a huge public attention on him and Gavin because of the Bashir documentary, and while his PR team was working overtime on damage control because of the public relations backlash resulting from the Bashir documentary. To believe the Arvizos’ story you have to believe that all the while this was happening (including a police and a CPS investigation), Jackson suddenly started molesting Gavin Arvizo, even though for three years he had not touched him and not even trusted him and his family. This is exactly the story that the Arvizo family ended up with after they were forced to change their initial timeline because of the discovery of the ‘rebuttal tape’ raw footage.

According to some people, Michael Jackson must have had tons of victims of child sexual abuse. During his lifetime, two cases came out. The first case turned out to be concocted by an overambitious, money hungry and abusive father. His son Jordan didn’t want anything to do with him anymore after he was forced to level allegations against Michael Jackson and after the case wound down. The second case was concocted by a family who had a long history of extortion attempts and who were caught lying on all counts during the trial against Michael Jackson in 2005.

Surprise, surprise? Considering all the supportive testimonies of people who knew Michael Jackson when they were children, it is probably no coincidence that of all the alleged potential victims the only cases that came out were clearly non-credible extortion attempts. There is no avalanche of victims coming out of the closet, unlike the cases against Bill Cosby and Harvey Weinstein, for instance. On the contrary, people like Brett Barnes, Kelley Parker, Harriet Lester, Brandi and Taj Jackson and Anton and Franziska Schleiter are asking Wade Robson and James Safechuck to stop lying about Michael Jackson.

A REPEATING PATTERN

Concerning the cases of Wade Robson and James Safechuck, the pattern to seek monetary compensations for alleged abuse repeats itself. This is a fact. Moreover, Robson and Safechuck were also caught lying on multiple occasions regarding their cases, not only by investigative journalists, but also by judges. This is a fact. It is no coincidence that their cases were already thrown out of court twice. The judge even reprimanded Robson, saying that “NO RATIONAL FACT-FINDER COULD POSSIBLY BELIEVE ROBSON’S SWORN STATEMENT.”

It is probably also no coincidence that Robson first made allegations when he was experiencing financial troubles and troubles regarding his career (he was not accepted as director for a Michael Jackson Cirque du Soleil tribute show). And it is probably also no coincidence that Safechuck “suddenly realized” that he had been abused by Michael Jackson only days after the Safechuck family business got sued for nearly a million dollars.

The HBO production Leaving Neverland, about the Robson and Safechuck cases, leaves out all the kind of above mentioned information. It is therefore an unethical piece of journalism for several reasons: it contains significant and proven lies; it profits from a deceased person’s bad reputation who can no longer defend himself; it offers a prosecution’s case veiled as a “testimony of child sexual abuse”; it unashamedly profits from the sympathy of victims of proven child sexual abuse during this #MeToo era. In short, Leaving Neverland is a mere “trial by media” – a witch hunt of increasingly low credibility value.

With Leaving Neverland director Dan Reed finds himself in the company of people like Diane Dimond and Víctor Gutiérrez and their stories about Michael Jackson. Both Dimond and Gutiérrez are tabloid journalists of the worst kind, the latter being convicted for blatantly lying and making up stories on multiple occasions, also regarding Michael Jackson.

Víctor Gutiérrez is a proven and convicted pedo-fantasist like Carl Beech. However, the (tabloid) media did not dismiss the NAMBLA sympathizer. Although he was convicted a first time in 1998 for his allegations of pedosexual fantasies against Michael Jackson, Gutiérrez was treated as a reliable source and specialist by the (tabloid) media in the wake of the 2005 criminal trial against Michael Jackson. It’s quite unbelievable, but it happened. Apparently, when it has to do with Michael Jackson, some “journalists” have no problem disregarding even the slightest minimum of rationality and ethics.

It is now proven that Wade Robson read multiple tabloid stories while he was preparing his (ammended) complaint. He mailed those stories to himself. Robson also declared reading books about the pattern of child sexual abuse, supposedly to make sense of his own experience. Whatever the level of truth in his own story, the tabloid stories and the books on child sexual abuse clearly helped Robson to put the pieces of his own story together. It is also proven that Robson knew about information from tabloid stories not being true, and yet he used that information in his (ammended) complaint (an infamous Charlie Michaels story about a certain Mother’s Day in particular). As for James Safechuck, many elements of his story are so comparable to the story that Víctor Gutiérrez concocted in Michael Jackson Was My Lover: The Secret Diary of Jordie Chandler (Alamo Square Distributors, 1996) that they seem copy pasted from that book.

The question to determine Michael Jackson’s guilt should not be whether or not the stories of Wade Robson and James Safechuck “fit the pattern” of child sexual abuse. The question should be whether or not the different elements of their stories, which constitute that pattern of child sexual abuse, are actual facts as opposed to lies.

An approach to reality that reduces reality to “correspondence to a pattern” is an externalization of what Emmanuel Levinas (1906-1995) calls “totality”.

A “pattern” is a way to approach reality. It is not reality itself. Knowledge of a pattern can be used by deceivers to “sell” a story as “truth”. Tabloid journalism excels in this respect. The testimonies below (see also the Open Letter by the Schleiter Family) challenge the standard “totalitarian” story of Michael Jackson as a textbook pedophile. 

The tabloid background and multiple proven lies (established by judges) didn’t help the cases of Robson and Safechuck (who contacted Robson and was eventually represented by the same legal team) regarding their credibility. Several victims of child sexual abuse were outraged about Leaving Neverland and spoke out against Wade Robson and James Safechuck once they knew more about the history of their cases.

Those who still manage to be intellectually dishonest by referring to the blatant untruths in Leaving Neverland as “unimportant details misremembered because of trauma” should realize that those so-called unimportant details are not presented as such in Leaving Neverland. They are presented as key elements in the stories of Wade Robson and James Safechuck.

In short, to minimize the untruths regarding those key elements as allegedly “being misremembered because of trauma” is ABUSE OF REAL TRAUMA:

CSA Victim Opposing Leaving Neverland Tweet

THE QUESTION OF VICTIMHOOD

It is patronizing if not arrogant to assume that people who knew Michael Jackson since their childhood only say nice things about him “because they remain under the manipulative spell of his pop star aura.” Let us listen to those testimonies first.

It is patronizing if not arrogant to assume that everyone who defends Michael Jackson “must be a fan.” Let us first find out if his ardent defenders are indeed all fans and if that is the main reason why they defend him.

It is patronizing if not arrogant to assume that big fans of Michael Jackson “would not admit that he was a pedophile even if the evidence pointed in that direction.” Let us first find out why many fans don’t believe that he was a pedophile – do they really have strong reasonable and plausible arguments, or is it mainly a rationalization of emotional impulses?

It is patronizing if not arrogant to assume that the Los Angeles Police Department, the FBI, the Los Angeles Department of Children and Family Services and the Santa Barbara County Superior Court would stand “no chance against the power and money of Michael Jackson.” Let us first find out what kind of investigations were conducted, how the raids on his Neverland ranch were done, how the police took photographs of his genitals and how he was treated when they arrested him.

I think it is important to move beyond those kinds of speculative assumptions because judgment based on assumptions ultimately damages the so-called #MeToo movement big time. The fact that victims have a voice is a breakthrough. As scholars have pointed out, the Judeo-Christian influence on the western world plays a tremendous part in this achievement – Gil Bailie, for instance (Violence Unveiled – Humanity at the Crossroads, The Crossroad Publishing Company, New York, 1995, p. 20):

“There’s plenty of truth in the revised picture of Western history that the young are now routinely taught, the picture of the West’s swashbuckling appetite for power, wealth, and dominion. What’s to be noted is that it is we, and not our cultural adversaries, who are teaching it to them. It is we, the spiritual beneficiaries of that less than always edifying history, who automatically empathize more with our ancestors’ victims than with our ancestors themselves. If we are tempted to think that this amazing shift is the product of our own moral achievement, all we have to do is look around at how shamelessly we exploit it for a little power, wealth, and dominion of our own.

The fact is that the concern for victims has gradually become the principal gyroscope in the Western world. Even the most vicious campaigns of victimization – including, astonishingly, even Hitler’s – have found it necessary to base their assertion of moral legitimacy on the claim that their goal was the protection or vindication of victims. However savagely we behave, and however wickedly and selectively we wield this moral gavel, protecting or rescuing innocent victims has become the cultural imperative everywhere the Biblical influence has been felt.

However, the perversion of the achievement to listen to “the voice of the victim” threatens to silence the voice of real victims again: people pretending to be victims murderously persecute others in the name of “the victim” in order to gain power and end up making ever more victims. As French-American thinker René Girard points out (Evolution and Conversion – Dialogues on the Origins of Culture, Continuum, London, New York, 2007, p. 236):

“We have experienced various forms of totalitarianism that openly denied Christian principles. There has been the totalitarianism of the Left, which tried to outflank Christianity; and there has been totalitarianism of the Right, like Nazism, which found Christianity too soft on victims. This kind of totalitarianism is not only alive but it also has a great future. There will probably be some thinkers in the future who will reformulate this principle in a politically correct fashion, in more virulent forms, which will be more anti-Christian, albeit in an ultra-Christian caricature. When I say more Christian and more anti-Christian, I imply the figure of the Anti-Christ. The Anti-Christ is nothing but that: it is the ideology that attempts to outchristianize Christianity, that imitates Christianity in a spirit of rivalry.

[…]

You can foresee the shape of what the Anti-Christ is going to be in the future: a super-victimary machine that will keep on sacrificing in the name of the victim.

The #MeToo movement should be about a concern for real victims, also victims of false allegations. The focus, time, energy and money of a society should go to real victims, not pretenders. That’s why the #MeToo movement should be concerned about false allegations. It should not lend itself to sustain the condemnation of people in a mere trial by powerful media, especially if those people are no longer here to defend themselves and were already acquitted on all counts during their lifetime. Regarding Michael Jackson, we should focus on what can be known for a fact before speculating and jumping to conclusions.

In any case, the people who have testified against Michael Jackson in a court of law were all caught on multiple and significant lies, while the people who testified in his defense were not (apart from Wade Robson, who claims to have lied in the only criminal trial against Michael Jackson in 2005). Also, many (if not all) people who testified against Michael Jackson sold their stories to the tabloids for big money. These are facts. It is also a fact that Michael Jackson was acquitted in 2005 and declared not guilty on all counts. Despite this declaration, many still had doubts about him and Michael Jackson would suffer the consequences of this trial mentally and physically. Michael Jackson never really recovered from the 2005 trial and was virtually destroyed. He would die four years later. The HBO production Leaving Neverland, true or not, further kills the reputation of an already dead man who can no longer defend himself “in the name of the victim”.

To get a clearer picture of the “regular” experiences with Michael Jackson, as opposed to the four exceptional cases of child sexual abuse against him (the Jordan Chandler case, the Gavin Arvizo case, and the Wade Robson and James Safechuck cases), below are some voices of people who are speculated about a lot, but are rarely been listened to.

VOICES OF “NEVERLAND CHILDREN” ON BEHALF OF AN ACCUSED DEAD MAN

SEAN LENNON (son of the late John Lennon) in exclaim! March 6, 2019 – emphasis mine:

“I think that was a super strange time, but not in a dark way. In an odd way, in a unique way. It was odd because Bubbles was all dressed up in dandy outfits and we were all running around playing videogames with this chimpanzee. It was a surreal scene. It was kind of part Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, part Dr. Doolittle, and part, you know, ‘Motown’s Greatest Hits’ or something. It was a convergence of a lot of disparate universes that merged for a while. And that was a strange scene but it was really fun. I mean it was amazing to hang out with all those animals, but there was also something very eccentric about it, you know?

[…]

He was the coolest dude I’d ever met for sure. I mean people, you know, they have a lot of opinions about him and like anything else, my opinions can only be based on my experience. But he was super fun to hang out with. I mean he was like a big kid, you know?

Michael Jackson and Sean Lennon 1

So yeah, the time that I got to spend with him was – it was like Disneyland all day long. He’d set up water balloon fights and pie fights in basketball courts. Just really fun stuff where he’d like invite all his friends over and there’d be two teams and everyone would dress in garbage bags and throw pies at each other. It was like super high-level fun and it was orchestrated fun and insanity.”

Michael Jackson and Sean Lennon 2

ANTON AND FRANZISKA SCHLEITER, An Open Letter, Enough is Enough, March 4, 2019

(https://schleiter-family.com/) – emphasis mine:

“In 1995 we first met Michael at a German TV Show. That day, something that we could never have imagined in our wildest dreams happened. It was the start of a unique friendship. A friendship so normal yet so unusual and magical. One that would last until the very last day of Michael’s life and will continue forever in our hearts.

From the beginning we knew that what we were privileged to experience, was a treasure worth protecting. Especially regarding the world we live in, with media that wants to make up stories that sell, rather than seeking the truth and people who want to read shocking headlines rather than knowing the truth. Over the years we were offered over a quarter million of Euros for interviews, but no money in the world could ever materialize a value that would stand above the value of our memories with Michael. This is the reason why we have never spoken a word publicly about our friendship.

Something has changed our mind about speaking up lately. The utter shocking news of a new documentary that would portray Michael once again as a child molester. Even writing this sentence, putting his name and that word together, makes us feel sick to our stomach. Michael never behaved inappropriately towards us and we neither witnessed nor suspected him doing it to someone else ever.

We have been angry with the public treatment of Michael many times in the past, but we chose to stay silent – hoping the truth to run marathons and protecting Michael and his privacy.

And we had good reason to be angry, for example when Anton was falsely portrayed in a German tabloid as having a homosexual affair with Michael. We witnessed first hand how ugly the media can be and how they make up most terrible lies just to have a story. When our father denied to talk to an inquiring journalist on the phone, the story read something like ‘Father refuses to defend Michael’. Unfortunately scandals sell much better than anything else.

Michael Jackson and Anton Schleiter 1

Spending a lot of time with Michael, we experienced two-faced people more than once. When Michael was in the room, they acted most charming with seemingly good intentions, but once he turned his cheek they would become rude and you could sense that their intentions were not that good after all. In front of us, they didn’t care showing their real face. We were only the shy German family in the background, not worth paying attention to. But we were observing and slowly but surely we started to get a glance at the often difficult world Michael was living in. It was a world in which it was so very difficult to trust.

And yet Michael was kind to everybody he would meet and believed in the good so strongly. Some would call it naiv, to us it was just one of his character traits that made us look up to him. Giving everybody a chance, even if you’ve been fooled by people over and over, really is remarkable. And it makes us even more sad to know, that many took and still take advantage of this.

Being around Michael made us realize that everybody wanted a piece of him. We often wondered why, from all people, he would let us into his circle of trusted friends. Now we understand it was maybe the fact that we didn’t want anything from him and simply enjoyed being together. When he offered to pay for our education, our parents denied because it was too much of a gift. It was a no brainer for us then, but looking back on it now, it was probably something that Michael didn’t experience often.

Michael Jackson and Schleiter Kids

Those who wanted a piece of his fame or his money did not care about Michael as a person or about his kind heart and uplifting spirit. It is truly a shame and we almost feel bad for those people in a way, because blinded by money, they probably didn’t realize that they just had the honor to meet a person that has a uniqueness about him that the world would only witness every other century. His music, his message, his creative and genius mind was truly one of a kind.

While our friendship with Michael was very normal in a sense that we hung out, chatted on the phone, went to the movies just like friends do, it was also magical in the sense that Michael had a warmth about him that was captivating. You would immediately feel comfortable and safe around him. He was one of the most humble persons we’ve ever met, always putting the well being of others over his own.

There was never a single moment of doubt of his pure heart and intentions, which also led our parents to allow us to travel alone with Michael.

Though we’re speaking up today, we still want to protect and respect our personal stories. What we can say though, is that each and every time we had to say good bye to Michael, we all cried because we knew how much we would miss him. The times we spent together were the most fun. And while Michael was always up for a good water balloon fight, he was also a great mentor, teaching us about life and sharing his incredible knowledge. We can remember how excited he was to tell us about the Wright brothers when he learnt that we had never heard of them. He gave us books and movies of stories we could learn from and he was eager for us to develop our talents.

We understand that our story can only put a small piece of the puzzle together for those who are still in doubt of what to believe about Michael Jackson. To those who still doubt that he was innocent, we can only plea to simply do your own research. And if the fact that Michael had to endure every possible raid of privacy in his trial in 2005 and still was found NOT GUILTY on ALL CHARGES, if this fact is still not enough for you, then maybe you can simply listen to his music.

Meeting many of his fans over the years, we were astounded how much they ‘got him’ as a person, even though they never personally met him. Michael and his fans had a unique friendship of their own. He trusted them and it is no wonder why they continue to trust in his good heart. They simply listened to his music and to his words. If you listen closely you’d know all of his stories and you’d know what kind of person he was. You would know that his mission for his time on earth was not only to bring happiness in form of melodies and rhythm but also to change the world to the better.

Boy, how he could inspire us to be our best selves and to show more love and respect to each other! Yet people choose to blow up lies that threaten to overshadow all of the greatness this man has brought.

Enough is enough.


Today we speak up for Michael because he deserves better and because he was the best friend we could have ever imagined.

Anton and Franziska and our parents Marlies and Wolfgang

Michael Jackson and Schleiter Family

COREY FELDMAN  

For CNN, Piers Morgan interview, October 28, 2013 – emphasis mine:

Well, Michael was the big brother I never had quite honestly. He was everything to me as a kid. He taught me so many things. He’s taught me about loving animals, vegetarianism, animal rights, environmental issues, caring about your fans, how to treat your fans, the fact that the moment that you meet your fans may just be a fleeting moment to you and something that you’re in the middle of things that you got to take time for. But to them – they’re going to remember this moment for the rest of their lives. So how important it is with that exchange and how you treat them a lot.

[…]

We discussed everything, you know what I mean, and it was literally like a big brother, little brother relationship where we’ve talked about everything, I would talk about the abuse that I endured in school which is also in the book, the abuse with my parents and also the difficulties of having to go to work everyday instead of being able to play. You know both of us shared that similarity.

Michael Jackson and Corey Feldman

We were robbed of our childhoods. We weren’t able to just have sleepovers or go play at the arcade with other kids or take your bike down the street and do what you want. That didn’t exist for us. That wasn’t a reality. So instead we ought to, you know, go from meeting to meeting and, you know, sit in a room full of people all day and be judged and have people question you about everything that you do, again, life under the microscope, totally different, a very different perspective than most people ever have the experience of having.”

For HuffPost, November 2, 2013 – emphasis mine:

“I don’t know a lot of things that happened in the years I wasn’t around, but all I can tell you is remarking about the person that I know, the person that was my close friend, that was like a brother to me. Michael was not that guy.

He was a guy who was so innocent, so kind of sheltered, you couldn’t even swear around him. You couldn’t talk about drugs, you couldn’t talk about nude women, you couldn’t talk about sex. You couldn’t talk about anything, because he was a very religious man for much of the early stages of his life and career.

When I got arrested, I was afraid, to be honest with you, that he’d never talk to me again because he had such a clean image — that I really expected that he’d just be like, ‘see ya!’ you know? And that really showed me the value of what type of person he was.

The fact that when I did get arrested, even though his image was still squeaky clean and by all rights he could have stepped aside and moved me back, but he didn’t.

He called me. I got that message on my answering machine, which said, ‘Hi Corey, it’s Michael. Is everything ok? Call me if you need me.’ You know, he was a friend. He was supportive. And thank God for that.”

For NBC – The Today Show, Matt Lauer interview, October 30, 2017 – emphasis mine:

FELDMAN: “I told the police [the names of Hollywood pedophiles]. In fact if anyone wants to go back to 1993, when I was interviewed by the Santa Barbara Police Department. I sat there and gave them the names. They are on record. They have all of this information, but they were scanning Michael Jackson. All they cared about was trying about to find something on Michael Jackson.”

LAUER: “Who you said, by the way, did not abuse you.”

FELDMAN: “Who Michael was innocent. And that was what the interview was about with the pollice in 1993. I told them, he is not that guy. And they said, maybe you don’t understand your friend. And I said, no, I know the difference between pedophiles and somebody that is not a pedophile because I have been molested. Here’s the names, go investigate.”

KELLEY (KELLIE) PARKER, for RTL 4, Erik Mouthaan interview, July 6, 2009 – emphasis mine:

“I have nothing but amazing memories from the entire time that I knew Michael and was friends with him. I can’t say enough good things. He just had this unconditional love. He was so pure. And… I just have so many great memories.”

Kelley Parker on Michael Jackson Tweet

Michael Jackson and Kelley Parker

KEVIN MACAULAY CULKIN 

For CNN, Larry King Live, May 27, 2004 [also talking about the criminal trial back then, in which Macaulay Culkin would eventually testify on behalf of his friend Michael Jackson] – emphasis mine:

KING: “What happened at the house? That’s what all the things that people are concerned about.”

CULKIN: “That’s what’s so weird.”

KING: “What did happen?”

CULKIN: “Nothing happened. You know, nothing really. I mean, we played video games. We, you know, played at his amusement park.”

KING: “Did he sleep in the bed?”

CULKIN: “The thing is with that whole thing, oh, you slept in the same bedroom as him. It’s like, I don’t think you understand, Michael Jackson’s bedroom is two stories and it has like three bathrooms and this and that. So, when I slept in his bedroom, yes, but you understand the whole scenario. And the thing is with Michael he’s not good at explaining himself and he never really has been, because he’s not a very social person. You’re talking about someone who has been sheltered and sheltering himself also for the last like 30 years. And so, he’s not very good at communicating to people and not good at conveying what he’s actually trying to say to you. So, when he says something like that people – he doesn’t quite understand why people react the way that they do.”

KING: “Why do you think he likes young people so much?”

CULKIN: “Because the same reason why he liked me, was the fact that I didn’t care who he was. That was the thing. I talked to him like he was a normal human being and kids do that to him because he’s Michael Jackson the pop singer, but he’s not the God, the ‘king of pop’ or anything like that. He’s just a guy who is actually very kid-like himself and wants to go out there and wants to play video games with you.”

Michael Jackson and Macaulay Culkin (1991)

KING: “Did your parents encourage it?”

CULKIN: “They weren’t against it. It wasn’t like they encouraged it or pushing me upon it. I wanted to hang out with him and they were fine.”

KING: “What do you make of what he’s going through now?”

CULKIN: “Like I said, it’s unfortunate, and you know, it’s a circus.”

KING: “Do you think it’s a bad rap?”

CULKIN: “You know, I think so. Yes. Listen, look what happened the first time this happened to him. If someone had done something like that to my kid, I wouldn’t settle for some money. I’d make sure the guy was in jail. It just really goes to show as soon as they got the money they ran. I mean, that’s what really happened the first time. And so I don’t know. It’s a little crazy and I kind of have taken a step back from the whole thing, because it is a bit of a circus. And you know, if the same thing was happening to me, I wouldn’t want to drag him into it and vice versa. So I try my best to take a distance from it, but like I said he’s still a friend of mine.”

KING: “If they asked you to be a character witness, would you appear?”

CULKIN: “I guess so, but probably not. Like I said, it’s crazy, and I don’t really want to be a part of it.”

 KING: “You like him.”

CULKIN: “I like him and he’s a friend of mine. I’m not saying I wouldn’t. It hasn’t been brought up to me and I don’t think he’d want me to either. Just because, like I said, if the same thing was happening to me…”

KING: “What reaction has happened to you from all of this?”

CULKIN: “What do you mean?”

KING: “Do people inquire of you a lot about it?”

CULKIN: “Sometimes. You know, people always have their opinions. It’s funny. People always talk to me about him, because you know, I’m one of these people who will tell you anything about my life, really, to get me going. You know, so yes, I mean, I’ve openly and freely talked about him and stuff like that. But overall, you know, he’s just a good friend of mine.”

KING: “You wish him well.”

CULKIN: “Of course I do.”

On the Inside of You podcast, Michael Rosenbaum interview, January 15, 2019 – emphasis mine:

“It’s almost easy to try to say it was ‘weird’ or whatever, but it wasn’t, because it made sense.

He reached out to me ’cause a lot of things were happening big and fast with me. I think he identified with that.

[…] I think that’s one of the reasons also why we got along, is that everyone’s always thoroughly impressed by him. So the fact that somebody treated him like a normal person… It was that simple.”

EMMANUEL LEWIS, CBC Television, George Stroumboulopoulos Tonight, October 10, 2012 – emphasis mine (by the way: notice how the website “MJFacts” manipulated the following photo, adding bottles and changing a few other details):

Michael Jackson and Emmanuel Lewis (original vs manipulated)

You know this guy is great. You know Michael’s got a heart of gold. You know that he wouldn’t do any of those things that people were talking about. Later on, of course, after he died, a few of those people came forward and said, ‘You know, it never happened, we didn’t do anything, was pressured by parents, by this or that; we needed money real bad…’ and they figured that was a way to get out. And there’s people out there in the press that actually came clean. But it’s a little late, you know. Thanks a lot, you know what I mean? You put him through hell.”

 

Michael Jackson and Emmanuel Lewis 2 (Visit to Disney World, 1984)

EDDIE AND FRANK CASCIO, Oprah, December 6, 2010 – emphasis mine:

FRANK CASCIO: “We grew up with Michael, literally, since he was three and I was five, and so being around him was just normal.”

Michael Jackson with Cascio Brothers

 

 

EDDIE CASCIO: “He really just was so humble and then never really played off on the fact that he was, you know, Michael Jackson, you know. He was just Michael. He was just our friend.”

Michael Jackson with Frank Cascio

DAVE DAVE, Larry King Live, September 3, 2009 – emphasis mine:

“I believe that Michael was a great person. He has never hurt a soul and I am happy to have been his friend for all these years, and been a dedicated friend.”

Michael Jackson and Dave Dave

BRETT BARNES

Michael Jackson and Brett Barnes (Photoshoot)

Emmanuel Lewis tweets a couple of times on behalf of Michael Jackson’s defense after the airing of Leaving Neverland, the HBO production containing new allegations against the late pop star. Already on May 8, 2013, after Wade Robson goes public for the first time with his allegations against Michael Jackson, Brett Barnes tweets in Michael Jackson’s defense:

“I wish people would realise, in your last moments on this earth, all the money in the world will be of no comfort. My clear conscience will.”

Brett Barnes Tweet on Wade Robson Lies

To this day he keeps defending his late friend.

Michael Jackson and Brett Barnes

RETURNING ONCE AGAIN TO THE ALLEGATIONS AGAINST MICHAEL JACKSON

FOR MORE, SEE FACTS TO CONSIDER WHEN WATCHING “LEAVING NEVERLAND”

1993 – THE JORDAN CHANDLER CASE

In a taped phone conversation with David Schwartz (Jordan Chandler’s stepfather), Evan Chandler threatens to make allegations against Michael Jackson and his ex-wife if they continue to refuse communicating with him. Eventually, Evan indeed forces his son Jordan to make allegations of child sexual abuse against Michael Jackson. Once the allegations are made, Evan manages to make an appointment with Jackson and his lawyers. When he sees Michael Jackson on the day of the meeting, Evan walks up to him and amicably hugs the pop star – the alleged molester of Evan’s son Jordan. The hug is described by Evan’s own brother, Jordan’s uncle Ray, among others. Jackson refuses to settle for money at that point. Therefore, Evan goes public with the allegations.

Michael Jackson and his legal team relentlessly try to get the criminal trial ahead of the civil trial by filing motions, all of which are rejected by Judge David Rothman. California law at the time allows the civil trial to go ahead of the criminal trial. Michael Jackson and his legal team lose four (yes, four) motions in their attempt to postpone the civil suit until the criminal proceeding is completed. In other words, Michael Jackson is eager to go to trial to clear his name! The Chandlers, on the other hand, turn out to be only interested in a civil suit of which they want a settlement before any criminal proceedings.

Eventually, Jackson’s legal team advises him to settle the civil case for $15,331,250 so focus can be on the upcoming criminal trial. Jackson makes sure that an official statement is signed that this is not an admission of guilt. Michael Jackson’s legal team prepares for the criminal trial. The prosecution presents the case to two different Grand Juries, but the case is rejected twice. The Chandlers are not interested in cooperating with the authorities for the criminal case. Clearly they are not interested in a conviction of their son’s alleged molester.

Rolling Stone describes the end of the case as follows (January 29, 2019):

Jordan Chandler went on to attain legal emancipation from both of his parents. June Chandler testified at Jackson’s 2005 trial and said she had not spoken to her son in 11 years. Evan Chandler, who closed his dental practice in 1994, killed himself in 2009.”

People should make up their own mind about this whole matter, but to me this looks like an extortion plot set up by Evan Chandler, which destroyed his own family and the relationship between parents and son. It seems money was the driving force of the Chandlers, especially since they were not interested in pursuing criminal charges.

2005 – THE GAVIN ARVIZO CASE

Rolling Stone, April 7, 2005 (Inside the Strangest Trial on Earth, p. 36),  summarizes the case of child sexual abuse against Michael Jackson in 2005 as follows – emphasis mine:

“The prosecution’s case, seldom satisfactorily explained in the mainstream media, goes as follows. On February 6th, 2003, the Bashir documentary, in which Jackson is seen admitting that he sleeps in his bedroom with young boys, is shown on British TV. Among the children who appear in the video is his accuser in this case, a thirteen-year-old cancer survivor who had been introduced to Jackson during his chemotherapy treatments several years before.

According to the prosecution, Jackson had not molested the boy at the time the Bashir documentary aired, but he was sufficiently concerned that the boy might make such allegations that he and a band of Neverland courtiers entered into an elaborate conspiracy to “falsely imprison” the boy and his family for nearly five weeks (in luxury hotels, at Neverland ranch and other places), during which time they coerced the family into denying, on camera, that anything untoward had ever happened between Jackson and the boy.

[…]

At any rate, it was only after the filming of this so-called rebuttal video – which, incidentally, Jackson then sold to the Fox Network for $3 million – and after authorities had begun an investigation into Jackson’s relationship with the boy, that Jackson allegedly molested the child, in early March.

The prosecution’s case therefore boils down to this: In a panic over negative publicity, Jackson conspires to kidnap a boy and forces him to deny acts of molestation that in fact never happened, and then he gets over his panic just long enough to actually molest the child at the very moment when the whole world is watching.

It is a fantastic argument, a bilious exercise in circular prosecutorial logic: conspiracy to commit conspiracy, false imprisonment for the sake of it, followed by a sudden act of utter self-destructive madness. And none of it makes sense…

No wonder the prosecution’s case doesn’t stand a chance, and no wonder Michael Jackson is acquitted on all counts in 2005. And rightly so – justice is served.

Michael Jackson’s defense team catches the Arvizos lying, contradicting themselves and each other and changing their stories in significant ways.

Moreover, the Arvizos are not only caught lying in their case against Michael Jackson, they are also caught lying in other cases. They have a history of creating extortion plots.

Again, people should make up their own minds about this, but “if it looks like a duck, swims like a duck and quacks like a duck”, then it probably is a scam – once more.  

2013-2019 – THE WADE ROBSON AND JAMES SAFECHUCK CASES 

Readers should take a look at the following link to understand how both of these cases fall apart and why they were already twice rejected by a court of law:

FACTS TO CONSIDER WHEN WATCHING “LEAVING NEVERLAND”

Both Wade Robson and James Safechuck continue to seek huge monetary compensations, although a company like HBO recognizes them as victims – well are they?

All the facts that have come to light since the HBO-production Leaving Neverland aired, indicate that these cases too are scams.

CONVERSION?

The apostle Paul came to the conclusion that he had been in fact a persecutor while he was under the impression that he was defending (potential) victims. Some people have a similar audacity and spiritual humility regarding the Michael Jackson case and admit that they were wrong in persecuting Michael Jackson. This is what “conversion” looks like, also from a Christian point of view – becoming aware of your own complicity in violence, and turning away from that violence towards love:

Damien Craig Carter on Michael Jackson

I guess we all need redemption from a world that is dominated by greed and lust for power.

Conversion_on_the_Way_to_Damascus-Caravaggio_(c.1600-1)

Let’s get back to life. Back to reality.

FINAL NOTE ON MICHAEL JACKSON AS A “POWERFUL PERSON”

It is weird how some people keep describing Michael Jackson as a “powerful man”. He is dead. He cannot defend himself against the accusations that are now leveled against him by people who are backed by powerful institutions like HBO and Oprah Winfrey. Many assumptions about Michael Jackson’s so-called “power” simply aren’t true.

Michael Jackson’s properties got raided several times by police forces, his computers were meticulously investigated by the FBI, he barely had any privacy, his genitals were photographed by the police, tabloids continuously sought to publish scandalous stories about him (paying huge amounts of money for whoever wanted to tell a story), and he constantly had people around who wanted to take advantage of him (as is also testified by the Schleiters in their Open Letter). In 1993, during the first of two cases leveled against him during his lifetime, Michael Jackson and his legal team relentlessly tried to get the criminal trial ahead of the civil trial by filing motions, all of which were rejected by Judge David Rothman. California law at the time allowed the civil trial to go ahead of the criminal trial. Michael Jackson and his legal team lost four (yes, four) motions in their attempt to postpone the civil suit until the criminal proceedings were completed. In other words, Michael Jackson was eager to go to trial to clear his name, but he didn’t stand a chance. That’s how “powerful” he was.

Even when Michael Jackson was acquitted on all counts in 2005 for a case that was actually too ridiculous to go to trial at all (see above why), he had to face the fact that many people still believed in his guilt. And (tabloid) media kept feeding that perception. Michael Jackson could never defend himself against the bulk of venomous tabloid vomit. Again, that’s how “powerful” he was. Some people keep thinking Michael Jackson was acquitted in the Arvizo case because of his power and money, without looking at the case itself and its ridiculousness. Leaving Neverland of course confirms that assumption (at first sight that is). And anyone who dares to consider even the possibility that Michael Jackson is innocent of the charges leveled against him, is arrogantly labeled “a crazy, irrational fan”. And yet people who are not a fan of Michael Jackson have spoken out against Leaving Neverland and have discredited the allegations by Robson and Safechuck.

If the #MeToo movement wants us to accept that emotionally manipulative and deceitful cinematic productions by powerful media, launched to the world for big money, are more important to determine a person’s guilt than the facts that are revealed through arduous investigative proceedings – selling the former as “rational” and the latter as “irrational” -, then the #MeToo movement will eventually be more about defending grifters than about defending real victims of (child) sexual abuse.

That is not a world that I want to be a part of. This world:

MADONNA’S TESTIMONY

 

 

P.S. OTHER CASES KILLING THE #MeToo MOVEMENT

In a reaction on Facebook to this post, Leigh Fetter commented:

“Look at the recent acquittals of Oscar winning actor Geoffrey Rush, actor John Jarrett, the imminent quashing of the guilt verdict against Cardinal Pell et al. not to speak of Ms Amanda Knox and Raffaello Sollecito based on extraordinarily flimsy evidence in a time of moral panic. Accusations contagiously invoke the archaic bloodlust latent in crowds, by a drumming up crimes against the most innocent ‘victims’ such as girls and children. This enables a veneer of righteous indignation and sanctimonious fury, much like the blood-libel accusations of the Middle Ages, to shield the accuser from his own participation in the diabolical genesis of a sacrificial crisis and its desired catharsis, in the condemnation and putting away of the one called ‘diabolical; a predator’. As Girard has taught us, the existence of one voice of doubt destroys the blindness – and therefore the satisfaction and effectiveness – of the sacrifice. The number and intensity of these recent accusations speaks to a profound spiritual crisis at the heart of our ‘post-Christian’ societies and, I dare say, there will be many more victims who will be condemned as ‘rapists’, ‘homophobes’, ‘paedophiles’ etc like the terms ‘Christ killers’ and ‘kidnappers of Christian children’ that gave cover for the the fundamentally arbitrary persecutions in the Middle Ages.”

Also read Love the Enemy’s Side of the Story (Covington Kids vs Nathan Phillips).

19 comments

  1. MJJJusticeProject · July 8

    The article is great, will help people who just don’t really have a grasp of the Michael Jackson reality something to think about… Only issue I have is the photo used of MJ and Emmanuel Lewis is not the original; the bottles have been photoshopped in by mjtroll website – Buds.

    Like

    • erik buys · July 8

      I didn’t know that. Could you provide me with an original photo? That would be greatly appreciated!

      Like

    • erik buys · July 11

      Thank you very much for the comparison between the original and the manipulated photo of Michael Jackson and Emmanuel Lewis!

      People should know about this stuff.

      Thanks again!

      Like

  2. I haven’t researched it deeply. But from looking into it a bit, the accusations seem off to me. I think it’s a case of someone who is perceived as being weird and so it is assumed there must be something morally wrong with him.

    As Michael Jackson lived in reclusion late in life, it allows people to project onto him in imagining his private life. For many people, their imagination tends to go to dark places. And the corporate media loves a scandal, real or not.

    Liked by 1 person

    • shanny101 · July 10

      I fully agree. I used to believe he was guilty. Then I started looking into the other side, studying court documents, trial transcripts, fbi files, evidence, accusers backgrounds and motives, and how corrupt the media have been when it comes to Jackson. I am now convinced he was innocent. What I find so interesting is how every single accuser’s story falls apart when examined further. Each one had huge credibility issues, sometimes they would give several different versions of an alleged incident, the timelines are always off, and many have claimed absurd impossibilities. Such as Janet Arvizo madly claiming that Jackson had kidnapped them and was holding them hostage and that she planned to escape in a hot air balloon, despite there being evidence she had been on expensive shopping trips on Jackson’s expense during the alleged hostage period, or James Safechuck claiming he was abused in the Neverland train station years before it even existed.

      It should also be known each accuser had a huge financial motive to lie. Every single accuser went to civil lawyers or sold stories to tabloids for money, before even thinking of going to police. Only the Arvizo’s allegations ever lead to a criminal trial. The Arvizos first went to a civil lawyer on two occasions in an attempt to sue Jackson, but due to Californian law changing there had to be a criminal case first, but they stood to seek a huge payout if Jackson was convicted. The Arvizos had a history of fraud and had made previous false sex abuse claims for money. Their case was an utter sham that should never have gone through the courts.

      Even the former employees of Neverland who claim they witnessed abuse from Jackson have zero credibility. They previously defended him during the 1993 case and only changed their stories when Jackson fired them for things such as theft. They then tried to sue Jackson for wrongful dismissal and lost, and ended up owing him money. Only then did they change their stories claiming they were too afraid to go to police, yet had no issue selling their stories to tabloids for thousands of dollars a time.

      What is very clear here is that there is no evidence other than the accusations themselves, accusations which so easily fall apart. There is evidence however that all of Jackson’s accusers told provable lies and wanted millions of dollars.

      Like

      • erik buys · July 11

        Thank you for your reaction!

        I had the same experience: you have a certain impression, pointing clearly in the direction of guilt, until you really take a look into the cases. Then the allegations fall apart and become very ridiculous, very fast.

        Again, more people should receive this type of information before judging.

        Like

      • Gemma Jiménez Ruiz · August 1

        Thank you for the research you did and wellcome to the LiGHT and the TRUTH.

        Like

  3. Elke · July 9

    I have some issues with a couple of your logical leaps, and some of the claims you make about the ‘facts’ of this case.

    First of all, you seem to think it a fact that this case is only part of the #MeToo movement. It’s not. The #MeToo movement started in 2017 as a way to make the many victims of sexual assault, sexual intimidation and rape visible in our society, as a way to show that Harvey Weinstein’s abuse is not an isolated incident but part of the way our society looks at women and women’s bodies, men and men’s sexuality, protects the powerful and incriminates victims in their victimhood. These elements are what defines ‘rape culture’: a culture that allows a sports doctor to get away with sexually abusing over 250 girls and young women in his care, that allows a judge to not give a severe punishment for rape to a young man ‘because he has a such a promising academic carreer’ and for a man who admits liking the fact that women allow him to ‘grab them by the pussy’ because he’s famous to become the favored president of the religious right. James Safechuck and Wade Robson getting up and saying ‘Yeah, me too’, is part of that story about victims, but it’s a lot older: Robson came out with accusations against Jackson in 2013, Safechuck filed a case in 2014. That’s 4 and 3 years before the movement started.

    Elke, you’re attacking a straw man. I’m not saying that the cases of Wade Robson and James Safechuck are only part of the #MeToo movement. Of course I know they are older, I’ve done my research. I’m claiming that a film like the HBO production Leaving Neverland (truthful or not) profits from the #MeToo movement. Hence I write: “[The HBO production Leaving Neverland […] profits from the sympathy of victims of proven child sexual abuse during this #MeToo era.”

    In fact, I claim quite the opposite. I claim that Robson’s and Safechuck’s cases fit the pattern of previous cases against Michael Jackson – a history that indeed is much longer than the #MeToo movement. Again, what I do claim is that the renewed interest for the cases of Robson and Safechuck is a result of the #MeToo movement.

    Secondly, you state that the #MeToo movement should be about “a concern for real victims, also victims of false allegations.” I hope from the former that it’s clear that no, it’s not about victims of false allegations. That doesn’t mean that I deny that those exist. But the movement isn’t about them, it’s about us. Here are the stats: 1 in every 3 women and 1 in every 8 men is sexually assaulted or raped at least once in their lifetime. Of those, only 1 in 8 of women and 1 in 20 of men actually files a complaint. Of those, about a third goes to trial. Of those, about 1 in a hundred turns out to be fabricated. So thats 1% of 30% of 12,5% of rape or sexual assault cases. But our culture says the following:

    “It should not lend itself to sustain the condemnation of people in a mere trial by powerful media, especially if those people are no longer here to defend themselves and were already acquitted on all counts during their lifetime.” That, what you write here, is a part of rape culture: we must, at all costs, avoid making false accusations. It doesn’t actually matter that this makes us assume the worst about everyone stepping forward to launch a complaint. No, we would rather be certain that we do not falsely accuse that 1% of 30% of 12,5% of accused abusers, then make sure that we do not demonize and further traumatize those 99% of 30% of 12,5% of people daring to come further and allow themselves to be re-traumatized in order to seek some sort of justice, let alone the 87.5% of women and 95% of men who don’t dare to come forward and file a complaint. [All these stats come from sources in the US and the EU.]

    You go so far as to call this 1% of 30% of 12.5% ‘real victims’: “However, the perversion of the achievement to listen to “the voice of the victim” threatens to silence the voice of real victims again: people pretending to be victims murderously persecute others in the name of “the victim” in order to gain power and end up making ever more victims.”

    The #MeToo movement was in part about getting focus back on the overwhelming majority of real cases, where victims are publicly shamed about their lifestyle choices, the clothes they wear, the pictures they put on their social media and the parties they go to in front of absolute strangers and have to tell the most horrible, degrading details of their abuse again and again and again to people who disbelief and discredit them for a living, if they are determined enough to file a complaint and lucky enough to be taken seriously by law enforcement.

    Elke, this is a perverse argument. You’re in fact suggesting that the “collateral damage” of a few false allegations doesn’t outweigh the positive consequences of the #MeToo movement for real victims of sexual abuse. You’re in fact suggesting that it’s okay for a few lives to be destroyed if it helps the victims of sexual abuse. You literally claim that the #MeToo movement is a movement of polarization, of “us against them”. You indeed write: “the movement isn’t about them [the victims of false allegations], it’s about us [the victims of sexual abuse].”

    And what’s with the straw man again? You write: “That, what you write here, is a part of rape culture: we must, at all costs, avoid making false accusations. It doesn’t actually matter that this makes us assume the worst about everyone stepping forward to launch a complaint.” Apart from being a straw man, that’s also a non-sequitur (an illogical leap). The concern to investigate the veracity and credibility of allegations does not imply assuming the worst about everyone stepping forward to launch a complaint. It is a way to focus time, money, energy and resources on the real victims of child sexual abuse rather than on frauds who try to abuse the movement (and the real victims!). That’s why the #MeToo movement should be concerned about the victims of false allegations. Hence I write:

    “The #MeToo movement should be about a concern for real victims, also victims of false allegations. The focus, time, energy and money of a society should go to real victims, not pretenders. That’s why the #MeToo movement should be concerned about false allegations. It should not lend itself to sustain the condemnation of people in a mere trial by powerful media, especially if those people are no longer here to defend themselves and were already acquitted on all counts during their lifetime. Regarding Michael Jackson, we should focus on what can be known for a fact before speculating and jumping to conclusions.”

    Thirdly, the fact that there are many people who say they weren’t abused by Jackson and the possibility that these statements are all true, doesn’t mean that no children were abused and doesn’t discredit the accusation. Not all girls Marc Dutroux met ended up in his basement. I’m going into some detail about what child sexual abuse is later on in the comment, but it’s important to remember that predators rarely have more than 2 or 3 children they’re grooming for abuse, and rarely more than 1 or 2 children that are being abused, at the same time. If Jackson had a group of 20 children around him at all times over the course of 20 years, then it stands to reason that at most 20 to 30 of those children were actually abused, and the absolute majority were not.

    Elke, really, a third straw man? Your dishonesty is getting tiring. I clearly write: “I will wholeheartedly admit that this doesn’t mean that Michael Jackson didn’t molest any other children.”

    You claim that it is reasonable to assume that Michael Jackson actually abused 20 to 30 children at most. Where are they? If you reconsider the facts I refer to in this post, it is no surprise that I conclude the following (more below, in a reply to your other considerations):

    “Considering all the supportive testimonies of people who knew Michael Jackson when they were children, it is probably no coincidence that of all the alleged potential victims the only [two] cases that came out [during Michael Jackson’s lifetime] were clearly non-credible extortion attempts.”

    Fourth. “All the extremely thorough research done by legal and judicial authorities over the years, time and again exonerate Michael Jackson.” Is that true? Jackson was exonerated by a jury of his peers, but in order for the state to launch a trial, they have to also pass several hurdles. There had to have been enough material and circumstancial evidence to support a complaint in order for them to try this case, which means there WAS evidence. But the jury was not convinced beyond reasonable doubt, amongst other reasons because of the testimony of the later accusers. Just like you are now not convinced beyond a reasonable doubt by the testimony of these other children. Are they liars? No, not necessarily. But that doesn’t mean that this invalidates the accusations, at all. It only means that two of those people now say that they perjured themselves when they testified back then.
    You also completely reject the possibility that a jury verdict could ever be wrong. Which is why there are never any wrongfully convicted people, ever.

    Elke… Sigh. Straw man, again. Where do I completely reject the possibility that a jury verdict could ever be wrong? Where? Tell me. I only claim that in this case, the 2005 trial against Michael Jackson, the jury came to the right decision. For obvious reasons mentioned in the post, but I’ll repeat them here. Consider the following.

    The second case against Michael Jackson during his lifetime revolves around Gavin Arvizo, which culminates in the 2005 criminal trial. The Arvizo family turns out to have a history of (at times successful) extortion attempts. On August 27, 1998, when he is only eight years old, Gavin steals two school uniforms and two school uniform pants from a J.C. Penney department store. Strangely enough, the incident ends with a settlement between the Arvizo family and J.C. Penney in which the store pays the family $152,200. Janet Arvizo, the mother, claimed that she had been touched inappropriately by security guards. The file about the case clearly indicates her manipulative tactics.

    Apart from the Michael Jackson and the J.C. Penney cases, the Arvizos get also caught being involved in fraudulent and manipulative activities against actor and comedian Chris Tucker, comedian George Lopez, television host Jay Leno and editor Connie Keenan. Mother Janet Arvizo also committed welfare fraud.

    A very important fact is the changing of the timeline of Michael Jackson’s alleged abuse by the Arvizos. The Michael Jackson Allegations website points out the consequences of this (see also Rolling Stone’s account of the same situation):

    “Initially the Arvizos claimed that the molestation started as soon as they returned from Miami with Jackson, on February 7, 2003. This version of the story is also represented in the prosecution’s initial felony complaint, filed on December 18, 2003.

    However, later they changed this story and said that Jackson started molesting Gavin after February 20. As you will see, this timeline change was not just a minor correction. It significantly changed the narrative of the Arvizos’ initial story.

    […]

    According to the story that the Arvizos ended up with due to the timeline change, Jackson started molesting Gaving while the CPS and the police investigated, while there was a huge public attention on him and Gavin because of the Bashir documentary, and while his PR team was working overtime on damage control because of the public relations backlash resulting from the Bashir documentary. To believe the Arvizos’ story you have to believe that all the while this was happening (including a police and a CPS investigation), Jackson suddenly started molesting Gavin Arvizo, even though for three years he had not touched him and not even trusted him and his family. This is exactly the story that the Arvizo family ended up with after they were forced to change their initial timeline because of the discovery of the ‘rebuttal tape’ raw footage.”

    See also about the “evidence”:

    https://themichaeljacksonallegations.com/2019/05/27/addressing-michael-jackson-detractors-best-evidence/

    See also the conclusion about the regular media reports on the 2005 trial by award winning investigative journalist Charles Thomson:

    http://charles-thomson.net/Portfolio-Features-Michael-Jackson-Trial.html

    Fifth, you rely heavily in your ‘facts’ on two biased sources: the Jackson Estate’s own document, and an article by superfan Damien Shields of the MJ podcast. (http://www.damienshields.com/)

    Elke, I don’t know if I should laugh or cry now. Can you make one argument without using a straw man? Explain to me the following. How can I rely on the article of Damien Shields that I mention in an update of my post FACTS TO CONSIDER WHEN WATCHING LEAVING NEVERLAND when that article appeared in July 2019 and my post was written on March 19, 2019 (three months before the article by Damien Shields!)?

    And no, I don’t rely on the Jackson Estate as a source. I checked the claims in the document from independent sources – court documents most of all – and concluded that the Estate’s reply was a fair preliminary assessment of the problems regarding Leaving Neverland. Of course, since then multiple new problems regarding that HBO production have emerged. In any case, I don’t automatically care about who makes a claim. I care about what is being said, regardless of who, and check if the content of a statement is true. Claims should not be accepted on the basis of authority, but on the basis of facts. That’s one of the positive achievements of the Enlightenment.

    But here are some other facts, that you fail to mention in either of your posts. 10 to 20% of European children fall victim to child sexual. In the US, stats show that around 93% of victims know their abusers. Children are almost inevitably groomed for abuse: they are singled out for special treatment, eased into sexual intimacy by incorporating it in play or explaining it as a special way to show affection. They are made not to speak of the abuse through threats (your parents won’t want you anymore, they won’t believe you, I’ll hurt them) but more often through threats to the relationship (they’ll keep us apart, they don’t want me to love you, I won’t be able to help you anymore). The abuse is shown as normal but secret. Children often only realize that what they experienced was abuse when they start having their own sexual relationships with peers, or start suffering from the effects of trauma. This is usually around the age of 20 to 25. Victims seldomly speak out because they experience shame, guilt, loyalty to the abuser who also gave them good things and good memories, and especially the way they see others react to other people who make these claims. They protect themselves from re-victimization by not telling.
    Abusers rarely have more than one or two children that they abuse at the same time, especially if the abuse is prolonged. They often keep contact with their victims after the sexual abuse has ended as a way to make sure the child doesn’t become disloyal. They often have very good relationships with the parents (if they are not the parent or guardian of the child). They pick vulnerable children, often with learning disabilities or behavioral problems, who do not come across as too likeable, so they can discredit what the victim says.

    Hold the stories of Robson and Safechuck, told over and over again in the past 4 years and in excruciating detail over the 4 hours of the documentary, against those simple basic facts about child sexual abuse. How many of the boxes do their stories tick? And how many of the things people lay at their feet (why so late? why did you first lie in court? why now?) become slightly less easy to maintain as mere rational inquiry.

    Elke, that’s the pattern alright, followed microscopically in Leaving Neverland as well. The stories of Wade Robson and James Safechuck fit the pattern of child sexual abuse perfectly. Again, consider the following – I quote again from the post at hand:

    “With Leaving Neverland director Dan Reed finds himself in the company of people like Diane Dimond and Víctor Gutiérrez and their stories about Michael Jackson. Both Dimond and Gutiérrez are tabloid journalists of the worst kind, the latter being convicted for blatantly lying and making up stories on multiple occasions, also regarding Michael Jackson. It is now proven that Wade Robson read multiple tabloid stories while he was preparing his (ammended) complaint. He also declared reading books himself about the pattern of child sexual abuse, supposedly to make sense of his own experience. Whatever the level of truth in his own story, the tabloid stories and the books on child sexual abuse clearly helped Robson to put the pieces of his own story together. It is also proven that Robson knew about tabloid stories not being true, and yet he used them in his (ammended) complaint. As for James Safechuck, many elements of his story are so comparable to the story that Víctor Gutiérrez created in Michael Jackson Was My Lover: The Secret Diary of Jordie Chandler (Alamo Square Distributors, 1996) that they seem copy pasted from that book.

    The question to determine Michael Jackson’s guilt should not be whether or not the stories of Wade Robson and James Safechuck “fit the pattern” of child sexual abuse. The question should be whether or not the different elements of their stories, which constitute that pattern of child sexual abuse, are actual facts as opposed to lies.

    An approach to reality that reduces reality to “correspondence to a pattern” is an externalization of what Emmanuel Levinas (1906-1995) calls “totality”.

    A “pattern” is a way to approach reality. It is not reality itself. Knowledge of a pattern can be used by deceivers to “sell” a story as “truth”. Tabloid journalism excels in this respect. The testimonies (see also the Open Letter by the Schleiter Family) challenge the standard “totalitarian” story of Michael Jackson as a textbook pedophile.

    The tabloid background didn’t help the cases of Robson and Safechuck (who contacted Robson and was eventually represented by the same legal team) regarding their credibility. Several victims of child sexual abuse were outraged about Leaving Neverland and spoke out against Wade Robson and James Safechuck once they knew more about the history of their cases.”

    Sixth, the money. Oh, it always comes down to the money, doesn’t it? The argument is this: if they are real victims, then money shouldn’t be their goal because it can’t ease their pain. Wanting money, therefore means they are probably not real victims.
    Consider this: would you be willing to risk being harrassed in the street, get threatening letters, get sued for all manner of things by the rich and powerful Jackson estate, possibly ruin you family’s reputation, knowing that you will most likely never have your day in court and none of the people who enabled and profited from your abuse will ever be brought to justice? That was the promise of Jackson’s lawyers: if you accuse Michael Jackson, we will destroy you and your family. How much money would it take for you to be willing to take those risks? Does it matter if your boss fires you or you have to change phone numbers every other week, if you actually have money enough to compensate for that? To hire a good lawyer to go up against that estate? So that’s a very rational possible reason for why accusers sold their stories: for the money. Because they have a good idea of what they’re up against, and what they’ll need to survive. They’ll need money.

    As for why Robson and Safechuck would sue for money, there too is a very rational reason that’s not easily dismissed when contemplated: justice. If their accusations are true, this abuse was enabled by Jackson’s staff, and it was enabled because it allowed his entourage to make their living. That means that they are complicit. Jackson is dead, there is no justice there. And there is a group of fans who will never want to believe anything bad about him, because he is sacred to them, so he’ll never be completely removed from his pedestal. But there are people right now who are wealthy because they covered up that abuse. And most of those people are part of the Jackson estate. Punishing them through their money, the thing they sold these children’s safety and well-being for, is a very rational thing to do.

    Elke, you claim: “That was the promise of Jackson’s lawyers: if you accuse Michael Jackson, we will destroy you and your family.” And yet the vast majority of people who sold (by now proven) false stories to tabloids were never sued. Why tell lies if you could also make big money by telling truthful stories about Michael Jackson’s alleged abusive behavior? Perhaps because there are no true stories in that respect? Some people admitted at the trial in 2005 that they changed their stories about the 1993 allegations only after being offered big money by tabloids. It would be naive to think that Michael Jackson, one of the richest celebrities in the world, would not fall victim to grifters. One of the very few people who got sued was Víctor Gutiérrez, and rightly so: he made it his life to destroy people (see FACTS TO CONSIDER WHEN WATCHING LEAVING NEVERLAND to find out more about all the horrible things he was involved in and convicted for). Consider the following from the Open Letter by the Schleiter children:

    “Over the years we were offered over a quarter million of Euros for interviews, but no money in the world could ever materialize a value that would stand above the value of our memories with Michael. This is the reason why we have never spoken a word publicly about our friendship.”

    Now take a look at the two cases of child sexual abuse during Michael Jackson’s lifetime. Compare them to the cases of Robson and Safechuck, and maybe you’ll see another pattern than “Michael Jackson grooming children into abuse”. I’ll quote again from the post at hand.

    Regarding the Jordan Chandler case of 1993, people should consider the following facts. Jordan Chandler’s parents are divorced. His father, Evan, is a Hollywood dentist who wants to make it in show business. He becomes very disgruntled with his ex-wife June, his son Jordan and Michael Jackson when they don’t sustain the level of communication he expects from them. In a lengthy taped phone conversation between Evan and David Schwartz (Jordan’s stepfather) Evan reveals his plans to “destroy ex-wife June and Michael Jackson” if they don’t return to his desired level of contact. Evan Chandler suggests his plan is to level allegations of child sexual abuse against Michael Jackson. If his ex-wife and Michael Jackson do re-establish contact with him, he promises not to go through with his plan. In other words, Evan Chandler clearly aims to blackmail Michael Jackson. Whatever really happens between Michael Jackson and his son is of no importance to him. When Michael Jackson resists Evan Chandler’s extortion attempts, Evan Chandler tries everything to force his son to level allegations of child sexual abuse against Michael Jackson. Jordan Chandler denies anything inappropriate ever happened between him and Michael Jackson multiple times, until he finally succumbs to the pressure of his father. Evan Chandler threatens to go public with the allegations if Michael Jackson refuses to pay a settlement. Michael Jackson indeed refuses, after which Evan seeks monetary compensations in an official civil case against Jackson. Michael Jackson and his legal team file for the criminal case to go before the civil case so he can clear his name, but to no avail. After the civil case is settled (for $15,331,250) in which an official document makes sure that this is not an admission of guilt on the part of Michael Jackson, Evan Chandler is no longer interested in pursuing criminal charges against Michael Jackson. The criminal case goes on, though, but is rejected by two different Grand Juries – in any case, Michael Jackson did not buy his way out of court!

    After the whole circus winds down, Jordan Chandler no longer wants anything to do with his parents anymore and files for legal emancipation. At the trial against Michael Jackson in 2005, his mother declares that she hadn’t been in contact with her son for 11 years. Jordan at some point even obtains a permanent restraining order against the father who had forced him to level allegations against Michael Jackson. If there is one manipulative, abusive person in this whole situation, it is indeed Jordan Chandler’s father Evan Chandler. Not only other people become the victim of his behavior. Eventually Evan Chandler commits suicide, a few months after Michael Jackson’s passing.

    The second case against Michael Jackson during his lifetime revolves around Gavin Arvizo, which culminates in the 2005 criminal trial. The Arvizo family turns out to have a history of (at times successful) extortion attempts. On August 27, 1998, when he is only eight years old, Gavin steals two school uniforms and two school uniform pants from a J.C. Penney department store. Strangely enough, the incident ends with a settlement between the Arvizo family and J.C. Penney in which the store pays the family $152,200. Janet Arvizo, the mother, claimed that she had been touched inappropriately by security guards. The file about the case clearly indicates her manipulative tactics.

    Apart from the Michael Jackson and the J.C. Penney cases, the Arvizos get also caught being involved in fraudulent and manipulative activities against actor and comedian Chris Tucker, comedian George Lopez, television host Jay Leno and editor Connie Keenan. Mother Janet Arvizo also committed welfare fraud.

    [see above]

    Surprise, surprise? Considering all the supportive testimonies of people who knew Michael Jackson when they were children, it is probably no coincidence that of all the alleged potential victims the only cases that came out were clearly non-credible extortion attempts.

    Concerning the cases of Wade Robson and James Safechuck, the pattern to seek monetary compensations for alleged abuse repeats itself. This is a fact. Moreover, Robson and Safechuck were also caught lying on multiple occasions regarding their cases, not only by investigative journalists, but also by judges. This is a fact. It is no coincidence that their cases were already thrown out of court twice. It is probably also no coincidence that Robson first made allegations when he was experiencing financial troubles and troubles regarding his career (he was not accepted as director for a Michael Jackson Cirque du Soleil tribute show). And it is probably also no coincidence that Safechuck “suddenly realized” that he had been abused by Michael Jackson only days after the Safechuck family business got sued for nearly a million dollars.

    Finally, what bothers me the most is that you try to want to defend the #MeToo movement (and I don’t doubt your intentions there) but you do it by doing the one thing that the movement tries to fight: discrediting accusors in order to protect the reputation of a powerful man. And I’m sure you didn’t even notice you were doing it.

    Elke, how on earth can you even describe Michael Jackson as a powerful man? He is dead. He cannot defend himself against the accusations that are now leveled against him by people who are backed by powerful institutions like HBO and Oprah Winfrey. You assume a lot that simply isn’t true about his so-called “power”.

    Michael Jackson’s properties got raided several times by police forces, his computers were meticulously investigated by the FBI, he barely had any privacy, his genitals were photographed by the police, tabloids continuously sought to publish scandalous stories about him (paying huge amounts of money for whoever wanted to tell a story), and he constantly had people around who wanted to take advantage of him (as is also testified by the Schleiters in their Open Letter). In 1993, during the first of two cases leveled against him during his lifetime, Michael Jackson and his legal team relentlessly tried to get the criminal trial ahead of the civil trial by filing motions, all of which were rejected by Judge David Rothman. California law at the time allowed the civil trial to go ahead of the criminal trial. Michael Jackson and his legal team lost four (yes, four) motions in their attempt to postpone the civil suit until the criminal proceedings were completed. In other words, Michael Jackson was eager to go to trial to clear his name, but he didn’t stand a chance. That’s how “powerful” he was.

    Even when Michael Jackson was acquitted on all counts in 2005 for a case that was actually too ridiculous to go to trial at all (see above why), he had to face the fact that many people still believed in his guilt. And (tabloid) media kept feeding that perception. Michael Jackson could never defend himself against the bulk of venomous tabloid vomit. Again, that’s how “powerful” he was. Some people keep thinking Michael Jackson was acquitted in the Arvizo case because of his power and money, without looking at the case itself and its ridiculousness. Leaving Neverland of course confirms that assumption (at first sight that is). And anyone who dares to consider even the possibility that Michael Jackson is innocent of the charges leveled against him, is arrogantly labeled “a crazy, irrational fan”. And yet people who are not a fan of Michael Jackson have spoken out against Leaving Neverland and have discredited the allegations by Robson and Safechuck.

    If the #MeToo movement wants us to accept that emotionally convincing cinematic productions by powerful media, launched to the world for big money, are more important to make decisions about a person’s guilt than the facts that are revealed through arduous and official investigative proceedings – selling the former as “rational” and the latter as “irrational” -, then the #MeToo movement will eventually be more about defending grifters than about defending real victims of (child) sexual abuse.

    That is not a world that I want to be a part of.

    Like

    • erik buys · July 15

      Elke,

      I gave my replies to your comment in the comment itself. My answers are the texts with emphasis.

      Like

      • Elke Verhelst · July 29

        1) Elke, you’re attacking a straw man. I’m not saying that the cases of Wade Robson and James Safechuck are only part of the #MeToo movement.

        Erik, I did not construct a straw man, I clearly said: “you seem to think it a fact that this case is only part of the #MeToo movement.” It was unclear to me whether or not you did this on purpose, out of ignorance or whether I had simply missed something in your writings.

        Elke, you keep holding on to your straw man. You write: “You seem to think it a fact that this case is only part of the #MeToo movement.” For once and for all: NO, I do not think that, and NO, I don’t even seem to think that as my post goes back to the first allegations in 1993.

        I also used this, quite clearly, as a way to frame the rest of my commentary by clearly defining the movement as I have know and followed it for 2 years now, so that it would be clear to you within which frame of reference my comments are made. This seems important to me before engaging in a reflection on logic coherence of an argument. It is not at all an attack.

        Again, what I do claim is that the renewed interest for the cases of Robson and Safechuck is a result of the #MeToo movement.

        I would urge you then, Erik, to listen to this podcast interview with the director of the documentary Leaving Neverland about how this documentary came about. https://slate.com/news-and-politics/2019/03/dan-reed-michael-jackson-documentary-leaving-neverland.html

        Elke, I quote Dan Reed in his own words from the interview you sent me:

        “At the outset, I had no special interest in Jackson. This project came about in a kind of random way and the timing is quite random.

        I wish I could say I’d set out to make a big difference in the #MeToo movement. […]

        [The project] came about through a casual conversation with a Channel 4 executive in the UK, and we were talking about what are the big stories out there that are slightly unresolved. […] I commissioned someone to do some research and they [sic] came up with this, I think it was like a foreign page reference to these two guys I’d never heard of, Wade Robson and James Safechuck.”

        Dan Reed then goes on to say that he met each of them only once before recording their stories.

        [On a side note, Reed’s personal “research” doesn’t look very impressive, and indeed as he said in another interview, he knows “very little” about Michael Jackson].

        I don’t hear Dan Reed say that he reached out to Wade and James before the #MeToo movement. He just says that this was not his primary angle. But still, this is a quote from the summary below the interview:

        “In the interview, Dan Reed reached out to Wade Robson and James Safechuck before #MeToo exploded, but its influence is clear.”

        So it’s a mixed bag. Clearly the airing of Leaving Neverland benefits from the context of the #MeToo era and it is understood (also by the podcast you sent me) as being influenced by the movement.

        2) Elke, this is a perverse argument. You’re in fact suggesting that the “collateral damage” of a few false allegations doesn’t outweigh the positive consequences of the #MeToo movement for real victims of sexual abuse. You’re in fact suggesting that it’s okay for a few lives to be destroyed if it helps the victims of sexual abuse.

        Yes, Erik, that is indeed what I wrote. I’m glad you understood me correctly. However, I would not be inclined to call my argument ‘perverse’. ‘Perverse’ suggests that I am somehow changing or upending a natural or moral order to things, which is the opposite of what I wrote.

        NO Elke, perverse in this context means “having an effect opposite to what is intended or expected” (closer to Latin “per-vertere”). Meaning: the #MeToo movement protects victims by allowing the creation of victims. But anyway, you go on…

        We are not discussing the ideal version of how we would want the world to be. We are discussing the reality of what the world is. Each system, however refined, opens itself up to loopholes and abuse. Yes, we should always strive to make a system function to the best of its abilities. We should also start by righting the most grievous wrongs.

        The reality of what the world is, is that for centuries, victims have been marginalized in order to protect the reputation and power of perpetrators. This is what I referred to as re-victimization in my original post. This is why so few victims of sexual abuse and child sexual abuse come forward: because they are unlikely to be believed, and quite likely to be first accused of lying or manipulation before they are taken seriously.

        #MeToo is the hegelian/marxist antithesis. It’s not the endgoal, it’s the revolution that upends the existing order. What if, instead of always being extra careful to examine the claims of abuse out of fear of ruining an accused’s reputation, we start by examining the claims without treating the accusers as liars, frauds and grifters? What if we #BelieveHer? It’s no coincidence that the resurgence of the term patriarchy in public (feminist) discourse goes hand in hand with the rise of the #MeToo movement.

        It’s quite ironic, Elke, that you want to deal with reality as it is while justifying the collateral damage of the #MeToo movement with a Hegelian/Marxist straight jacket. Anyway, no one said anything about not believing victims/accusers at first (straw man?). I, for one, first believed Robson and Safechuck after seeing Leaving Neverland. But after researching their and the previous two cases against Michael Jackson, I don’t believe them any more.

        That does not mean that a dismissal of the stories of falsely accused and perpetrators is inevitable. It simply means that this movement is revolutionary in its origins and essence, and means to literally reverse the existing situation: we demand to be seen and heard before the accused are, taken seriously before the accused are, because in overwhelming numbers we did not lie or exaggerate, and in overwhelming numbers we are dismissed or revictimized.

        As I stated in the first portion of my original comment: “The #MeToo movement started in 2017 as a way to make the many victims of sexual assault, sexual intimidation and rape visible in our society, as a way to show that Harvey Weinstein’s abuse is not an isolated incident but part of the way our society looks at women and women’s bodies, men and men’s sexuality, protects the powerful and incriminates victims in their victimhood.”

        And I inadvertently made a mistake, because I stepped into your frame instead of my own knowledge of the movement: it’s actually a lot older. If you haven’t already, you should definitely watch the founder’s TED-Talk. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zP3LaAYzA3Q

        What are you talking about? My frame about the movement? Really, what are you talking about?

        If you want to write about the possible death of a movement, or how to save this movement from a perceived problem, it seems important to me to accurately understand the aim and strategies of the movement. Perhaps you take issue with its intentions and goals, and I would understand this. I’ve had many conversations with men of my acquaintance about their (legitimate but over exaggerated) fear of being falsely accused. But in that case you should have written a critique of the movement and its goals and strategies, instead of creating a straw man yourself to defend.

        I understand the aim of the #MeToo movement. But by lending credibility to an HBO production about two alleged victims of Michael Jackson, it focuses on a highly questionable (eufemism), yet high profile case which does not bolster the credibility of victims as a whole – precisely because of the numerous problems with the stories in Leaving Neverland. Thus the movement weakens itself (per-vertere in the sense described above, again). And, again, Leaving Neverland is understood (see the summary of the podcast you sent me, among others) as being influenced by the movement.

        You literally claim that the #MeToo movement is a movement of polarization, of “us against them”. You indeed write: “the movement isn’t about them [the victims of false allegations], it’s about us [the victims of sexual abuse].”

        Actually, Erik, this is a straw man. I didn’t say it’s about us vs. them (which would be polarization as you noted), I said it’s about us, not them. Black Lives Matter isn’t against white victims of police violence, it’s just not about them. Civil rights movements for LGBTQ people aren’t against cishet people, it’s just not about them.

        If you want a movement that advocates for victims of false allegations, then research those, or start one. But this is not that movement. Again: you are creating a straw man by pretending the #MeToo movement is something you would like it to be, not something it is.

        You really don’t understand or don’t want to understand what I’m saying. I literally wrote that the #MeToo movement SHOULD concern itself with the victims of false allegations. This implies that it DOES NOT concern itself with those victims. So I understand the movement perfectly well. Now, why should it concern itself with those victims of false allegations? Because the #MeToo movement wants to preoccupy itself with victims of sexual abuse, and that’s why it should not bolster frauds (but true victims). Right now it is bolstering frauds who take millions of energy, both mentally and financially, of a society (see the Carl Beech case in the UK; as you said, the #MeToo movement is a lot older than 2017, isn’t it?).

        However, it is a polarizing movement. Except the ‘them’ is the perpetrators and enablers of sexual assault and sexual violence. It’s a similar discussion to the one about culpability and apology in the Church: for decades society at large and the Church specifically have chosen to ignore, neglect, buy off or demonize accusers and protect its own reputation by protecting the accused. In the current reckoning regarding (child) sexual abuse in the Church, we see the same polarization. Does that mean that in the future a new compassion and understanding for perpetrators is something that cannot and should not be worked towards? No, it doesn’t. It merely means that right now we need to reverse the way we look at these cases completely, shift the balance so we can right these old and new wrongs.

        Okay, Elke, I take you at your word.

        ELKE, YOU WRITE: “THE ‘THEM’ IS THE PERPETRATORS AND ENABLERS OF SEXUAL ASSAULT AND SEXUAL VIOLENCE.”

        HIGH PROFILE CASES THAT TURN OUT TO BE TOO RIDICULOUS TO BE TRUE, CONTAINING A MYRIAD OF PROVABLE LIES, HURT THE OVERALL CREDIBILITY OF THE VICTIMS OF SEXUAL ASSAULT AND SEXUAL VIOLENCE.

        OVER MEDIATIZED CASES, LIKE THE CASES AROUND ACCUSER CARL BEECH OR LIKE THE CASE AROUND THE ACCUSED BUT INNOCENT SIMON WARR, CREATE A CULTURE WHEREIN REAL PERPETRATORS CAN SHED DOUBT ON THE ALLEGATIONS OF REAL VICTIMS.

        BY NOT TAKING INTO ACCOUNT WHAT HAS BEEN DECIDED ABOUT A PERSON’S GUILT IN A COURT OF LAW, AND BY ALLOWING A HIGH PROFILE MEDIA FRENZY REGARDING TWO ALLEGED VICTIMS WHOSE CASES WERE ALREADY DISMISSED TWICE BY A JUDGE, ONE FURTHER PARTICIPATES IN THE CREATION OF A CULTURE OF DOUBT CONCERNING THE ALLEGATIONS OF VICTIMS.

        THUS, IF THE #METOO MOVEMENT REFUSES TO TAKE INTO ACCOUNT HOW AN ALLEGED HIGH PROFILE PERPETRATOR WAS ACQUITTED (AND SIMPLY, LAZILY REFERS TO THE ALLEGED POWER OF THE ACCUSED AND HIS “GOOD LAWYERS”) AND ALLOWS FOR NEW ACCUSATIONS TO BE MADE WITH EASILY PROVEN LIES AND HUGE MONETARY DEMANDS, THEN THE #METOO MOVEMENT IS ITSELF AN ENABLER OF SEXUAL ASSAULT AND VIOLENCE (AS PERPETRATORS ONCE AGAIN CAN HIDE BEHIND A VEIL OF DOUBT).

        THAT’S WHY THE #METOO MOVEMENT SHOULD BE VERY TROUBLED ABOUT A FILM LIKE LEAVING NEVERLAND. IF IT IS NOT TROUBLED, THEN THE #METOO MOVEMENT IS SIMPLY, HOWEVER TRAGICALLY, ONE MORE ENABLER OF THE RAPE CULTURE IT IS TRYING TO FIGHT.

        AS ACCUSED BUT OFFICIALLY ACQUITTED PERSONS TESTIFY, THERE WILL ALWAYS BE PEOPLE WHO SIMPLY DON’T BELIEVE ONE WAS INNOCENT. THIS MAKES IT VERY EASY FOR FRAUDS TO LAUNCH NEW ALLEGATIONS AGAINST SOMEONE WHO WAS ACQUITTED BUT STILL SUFFERS FROM A BAD REPUTATION, ESPECIALLY IF THAT PERSON IS NO LONGER HERE TO DEFEND HIMSELF.

        And what’s with the straw man again? You write: “That, what you write here, is a part of rape culture: we must, at all costs, avoid making false accusations. It doesn’t actually matter that this makes us assume the worst about everyone stepping forward to launch a complaint.” Apart from being a straw man, that’s also a non-sequitur (an illogical leap). The concern to investigate the veracity and credibility of allegations does not imply assuming the worst about everyone stepping forward to launch a complaint. It is a way to focus time, money, energy and resources on the real victims of child sexual abuse rather than on frauds who try to abuse the movement (and the real victims!). That’s why the #MeToo movement should be concerned about the victims of false allegations.

        First of all, Erik, I don’t see the straw man. You literally write, once again by the way, about “real victims” as opposed to “frauds who try to abuse the movement” in an effort to “focus time, money, energy and resources”. An integral part of rape culture is a focus on weeding out false accusations from real accusations, if necessary by public re-victimization. For a case study on this, you might want to read about Anita Hill’s testimony (or start easy by watching her interview with John Oliver here https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dHiAls8loz4). So that is literally what you wrote. This implies that the frauds are so numerous, that they form an actual drain on our time, money and resources. This is why I gave you the stats: no, they do not. The overwhelming majority of cases are not false accusations. The number of grifters, frauds etc… is less than 1% of known statistics (and that means it’s even less, because most people don’t press charges).

        The problem is, Elke, that less than 1% is often high profile (Carl Beech, Wade Robson/James Safechuck) and they do take a disproportionate amount of time, energy and money (the Carl Beech case took a scandalous amount). By the way, I’ve seen other stats than that less than 1%, but okay. Your “this implies that the frauds are so numerous” is an implication you make, and thus once again a straw man. Also, see my answer in capital letters above.

        It’s also not a non sequitur, only a hasty formulation of a longer, well-known argument that I assumed you were familiar with due to you stating elsewhere you had researched this for two months. For both our benefits, I will write it in full.

        If we must at all costs avoid making a false accusations, then this means no cost is too high. This also includes the cost to the accuser: the clinical physical examination often done without an officer or nurse trained in sexual assault cases present, the lengthy interviews with accusers running through each step of their assault over and over (and over) with different interviewers present, the in-depth research into the (sexual) habits and background of the accuser, the public trial where intimate details of the accusers sex life, sexual habits, social habits as well as the rape are weighed against their probability and possibility, the re-victimization by media, etc… Since the body is the scene of the crime, the body is held under a microscope. Victims are publicly called promiscuous, a tease, a fraud, manipulative, drunk, etc…

        Elke, this part of your comment makes me think of The Accused, a movie wherein Jodie Foster plays Sarah Tobias who was gang-raped. The story is loosely based on the case of Cheryl Ann Araujo (1961-1986). Araujo became the victim of gang rape in 1983. The lawyers for the defence argued that she had somehow “seduced” her attackers. In short, this case is a clear example of victim blaming. I refer to the film and the case in my courses: https://mimeticmargins.com/2018/03/27/een-kruis-over-religie/

        So, you are absolutely right about pointing this all out. Knowing how gruesome it is for victims to tell their story in detail over and over beyond their inner circle, it is striking how in the cases of Robson and Safechuck (certainly in the case of Robson) both men have been telling their story over and over and over again in the past 6 years – publicly. In the case of Robson it seems that he willingly told his story publicly numerous times. After all, Robson first tried to shop a book deal with his story of abuse that no publisher wanted. He only filed a lawsuit afterwards. After which he told his story publicly in the Today Show, and so on. And now, finally, after his case was dismissed already twice, he once again told his story in Leaving Neverland. The recognition he receives now as a victim from powerful institutions like HBO and Oprah Winfrey apparently is still not enough. He filed for the third time, adding new elements to his story and contradicting previous versions, in order to be able to also make a monetary claim.

        Bear in mind that we know for a fact that almost all of these accusers are real victims. We are talking about less than 1% who are falsely accused.
        The focus in this process is not, and never was, on the victims. Only in very rare circumstances, like extreme child sexual abuse, are accusers actually shielded by the judicial system from this re-victimization and allowed to testify from another room, for instance, or with their testimonies pre-taped.
        If we must at all costs avoid making false accusations, then none of this trauma matters. It’s a cost well worth paying. That is what I said, and it actually follows from the initial premise, as you can see. So not a non sequitur either.

        Again, Elke, the #MeToo movement should be severely troubled about a trial by media that does not take into account, not in any way, how the guilt/acquittal in a high profile case is established. For the reasons given above (once again, see my answer in capital letters). This does not mean that victims and their allegations aren’t taken seriously. On the contrary, both Jordan Chandler and Gavin Arvizo had the opportunity to press criminal charges against Michael Jackson. Jordan Chandler refused to testify in a criminal case in 1993 and in 2005, but he was taken seriously.

        In 2005 Jackson’s lawyer Tom Mesereau had witnesses willing to testify that Chandler confided in them that nothing ever happened and that he was forced by his father to make the allegations. If you know the case and also the extortion tapes of Jordan’s father Evan Chandler, this comes as no surprise at all. It is also no surprise that Jordan filed for legal emancipation from his parents and that his mother testified in 2005 she hadn’t spoken to her son in 11 years. It is also no surprise that Jordan even got a restraining order against his abusive father at some point – the father who forced him to make the allegations in the first place. This is how Tom Mesereau sums it up in a lecture for Harvard Law School in 2005 in 30 seconds (referring to the fact that Jordan Chandler didn’t show up to testify in 2005):

        Gavin Arvizo’s allegations were also taken seriously. So the attention was on the alleged victim in 2005. But really, if the case hadn’t been about Michael Jackson, the prosecution’s case would have been considered too ridiculous to be taken seriously. As Rolling Stone concluded at the time after describing the prosecution’s case: “None of it makes any sense.” Indeed. Read the above blogpost again where the Arvizo case is summarized (twice, once in the middle and once at the end of the post).

        Statistics give information on a certain level, but at some point you must look at the specific cases at hand and the judicial process through which guilt or innocence is established. Mind you that Michael Jackson was not acquitted on procedural errors in 2005. He was acquitted because the whole case turned out to be bogus. And I challenge everyone to go through the court documents and see for themselves. The prosecution’s case was ridiculous from the get-go, though, and the accusers had a recorded and proven history of false allegations.

        I guess we need the statistics of the less than 1% in this case.

        The #MeToo movement demands attention to victims. Taking that attention away, diverting it to the accused in order to avoid false accusations and thus damage to the reputation of the accused is part of what we call rape culture.

        Well, Elke, as is clear by now the alleged victims of Michael Jackson had the attention of the media, the general public, the judicial system, psychological mentors and law enforcement for years. Again I refer to my answer in capital letters above why the attention for these specific high profile cases participates in a re-victimization of real victims.

        3) Elke, really, a third straw man? Your dishonesty is getting tiring.

        First of all, your conclusion that the fact that you see me argue against a straw man means I’m dishonest, is in itself not logical at all. I might be stupid, not fluent enough in English to understand your writings or not good enough in philosophy to make a cogent argument. In fact, your inference from your interpreting my arguments as straw men (up to now, I have shown how this is incorrect), is and ad hominem, as you are well aware.

        Okay, Elke, sorry for my inference. As you continue to show, you indeed do not seem to understand my argument at all (but, once more, read the summary of my argument in the comment in capital letters above). You were not being dishonest.

        I clearly write: “I will wholeheartedly admit that this doesn’t mean that Michael Jackson didn’t molest any other children.”

        In the context of a lengthy post reasoning that the multitude of people stepping forward to claim they were not abused somehow has any kind of bearing on whether or not those stepping forward to say they were abused are credible or should be treated as credible, this is meaningless. It’s the sophist equivalent of saying I’m not a racist because I love my baker Mohamed, but look at these 100 Moroccans who are clearly morons. Being intimately acquainted with the works of Sam Harris, I find that it’s more important to read what someone writes, rather than simply take for granted what they say they wrote.
        And this is what you did write:

        “Considering all the supportive testimonies of people who knew Michael Jackson when they were children, it is probably no coincidence that of all the alleged potential victims the only [two] cases that came out [during Michael Jackson’s lifetime] were clearly non-credible extortion attempts.”

        Thank you for handily quoting it for me. See, what you write here is: “Considering all these kids saying nothing happened, it’s no surprise that we don’t believe these two who say something did happen.”

        Elke, NO NO NO NO!!! That’s NOT AT ALL what I’m saying. I’ll take your word that you aren’t willfully dishonest in the presentation of my argument. I’ll try to explain myself better.

        Dan Reed believes that Michael Jackson was a serial pedophile, as is also claimed by Wade Robson. There are a number of people who clearly qualify as potential victims because they slept in the same room as Jackson and had a close relationship with him (Jackson could have “groomed” them). Other children, who visited Neverland Ranch under the guidance of others and as a group (often with Michael Jackson absent at the time) less easily qualify. The majority of people who qualify as potential victims have testified that they never experienced any abuse by Michael Jackson. This does not fit the pattern of the serial pedophile Dan Reed and others are so eager to establish. So what about the exceptions, the people who did level allegations against Michael Jackson? Are their stories credible? Well, they are not, for the reasons established by a criminal trial and arduous investigations over more than 10 years – see also above about the Chandler and Arvizo cases.

        NOTE that already for the 1993 case at least about 50 children were questioned by the police (some sources claim up to 100). The prosecution even sought potential victims and witnesses in Canada and the Philippines.

        The pattern of the serial pedophile that Dan Reed, Wade Robson and others try to establish should then be further investigated, since the most important element – numerous molested children – is absent. Do the different elements that constitute the typical pattern of the serial child sexual abuser correspond to actual facts? As court documents show, the different elements do not uphold themselves under scrutiny.

        In short, the pattern of the serial pedophile is not confirmed by factual evidence in the case of Michael Jackson (although Leaving Neverland surely tries to, but whenever it refers to so-called factual evidence, the actual facts contradict the allegations). Is there another pattern? Well, the cases in 1993 and 2005 were clearly succesful/unsuccesful extortion attempts (in the latter case because by 2005 a monetary settlement of a civil case could only happen after a criminal trial, unlike the law in 1993). What about the cases of Robson and Safechuck? Well, despite the lies established in a courtroom already twice, and despite the judge reprimanding Robson that “no rational fact-finder could possibly believe Robson’s sworn statement”, Robson files for a third time, again demanding huge monetary compensations – changing his story for the umptieth time in the process. There was not a word about the history of his allegations in Leaving Neverland. Neither was the fact mentioned that Safechuck “suddenly realized” he was abused when he saw Robson on television, only days after the Safechuck family business got sued for nearly a million dollars. This could be all coincidences, of course. As could be the fact that Robson filed a lawsuit after he was refused the direction over a Cirque du Soleil Michael Jackson tribute show, and he experienced financial difficulties (he sold his house).

        You accept these positive testimonies regarding Jackson’s presumed innocence of any wrongdoing as factual and truthful. You write about ‘taking these statements seriously’, but then… don’t do this for the statements of those who say something different? How is it that you spend so much time poring over the negative testimonies to find whether or not they’re credible, but with the positive ones you merely… quote them? Why did they not warrant similar scrutiny?

        Elke, what do you suggest then? That we should try to prove that Michael Jackson did molest Brett Barnes, Karlee Barnes, Omer Bhatti (O-Bee), Aaron Carter, Eddie Cascio, Frank Cascio, Kevin Macaulay Culkin, Bela Farkas, Corey Feldman, Brandi Jackson, Taj Jackson, Sean Lennon, Harriet Lester, Emmanuel Lewis, William Ray Norwood Jr. (Ray J), Danny Oliver, Kelley Parker, Alfonso Ribeiro, David Rothenberg (Dave Dave), Anton Schleiter, Franziska Schleiter? Despite them saying the opposite?

        Let me ask you a question: why should I believe the testimonies of proven liars like Blanca Francia and Mariano “Mark” Quindoy? They are Wade’s “witnesses” in his lawsuit. Read more about them here: https://themichaeljacksonallegations.com/2018/05/12/wades-witnesses-part-1/

        Why should I believe someone like Wade Robson, who lied in his lawsuit to get around the statute of limitations in order to be able to make monetary demands? Why should I believe the man who was reprimanded by the judge because of his lies?

        Why should I believe someone like James Safechuck, who convincingly told a story about being abused several times in the room of a train station that didn’t exist at the time of the alleged abuse? The earliest possibility of being abused there would have been when Safechuck was around 17-18 years old, since it was only then that he visited Neverland again when Michael Jackson was around.

        Dan Reed claims that the abuse did take place in the train station. But that destroys the narrative Reed himself defends in Leaving Neverland, as the film claims that Jackson lost interest in boys when they reached adolescence. Mind you, Jackson didn’t cut the ties with Safechuck for a “replacement” (look up, for instance, the pictures of him with Michael Jackson and Lisa Marie Presley in Hungary; Presley also defended her ex-husband after their divorce and also after his death).

        Why should I believe people like Víctor Gutiérrez, a multiple convicted tabloid journalist of the worst kind? Why should I believe people like Diane Dimond, who once described video footage of a boy being molested by Michael Jackson but never saw the actual video? She claimed a “reliable source” was in possession of that video, that source being Gutiérrez. When push came to shove, however, he couldn’t deliver the video. Why? Because it simply didn’t exist! Apart from being convicted in the States, Gutiérrez was also convicted in his homeland Chile. This is the man who once paid a street kid to make allegations of a pedophile ring against some politicians in Chile. The street kid confessed it. His lawyer claimed Gutiérrez only gave money to the boy “out of charity” but not to “bribe” him. Yeah, right.

        And if you don’t know why I’m referring to Víctor Gutiérrez and Diane Dimond regarding the cases of Chandler, Arvizo, Robson and Safechuck, then I must conclude that you almost know nothing about the allegations against Michael Jackson at all.

        Because you don’t make a similar deep dive into the credibility of these testimonials, you imply that the mere existence of them and the relative quantity of them should somehow speak to the veracity of these other claims. If that is not why you include them, then why include them at all. Clearly you seem to think they mean something. If they do not mean to reinforce the idea that these other accusations are false, then why are they there?

        As I explained above, these testimonies debunk an important element of the pattern of the classic “serial pedophile”. They were the children who qualify as potential victims (not the children who visited Neverland on a school trip for one day, en masse and under the constant guidance of supervisors).

        (Note that you frame them as non-credible extortion attempts, which is exactly what I said happens to accusers when the focus is on preventing harm to the reputation of the accused.)

        Elke, I didn’t “frame” the three taped phone conversations between Evan Chandler and David Schwartz, now did I? I didn’t “frame” the fact that Jordan Chandler demanded legal emancipation from his parents after the 1993 case and even had a restraining order against his abusive father, now did I? I didn’t “frame” the book by Evan’s brother and Jordan’s uncle Ray, wherein Ray describes the tactics Evan used to force a “confession” of his son, now did I?

        I didn’t “frame” the prosecution’s case of 2005, which was described as “not making any sense” by Rolling Stone and every other sane person who looked into the case, now did I? I didn’t “frame” the fact that the Arvizos had a recorded, proven and testified history of extortion attempts, now did I?

        You claim that it is reasonable to assume that Michael Jackson actually abused 20 to 30 children at most. Where are they?

        I did not say that I know of 20 or 30 children who were abused, I merely said it was reasonable to assume.

        4) Elke… Sigh. Straw man, again. Where do I completely reject the possibility that a jury verdict could ever be wrong? Where? Tell me. I only claim that in this case, the 2005 trial against Michael Jackson, the jury came to the right decision.

        Erik, you see straw men everywhere – but so far, you’ve imagined them all. At most what I did was draw a conclusion from the absence of any indication that you acknowledge this possibility. But please, point me to the paragraph in your text where you state clearly that you take into account the possibility that these verdicts were incorrect. I will probably have missed it.

        Elke, I’ve imagined them all? We must agree to disagree (see above). Okay, I’m repeating my question: where do I completely reject the possibility that a jury verdict could ever be wrong? Your question as a reply: “please, point me to the paragraph in your text where you state clearly that you take into account the possibility that these verdicts were incorrect.” This reply is somewhat besides the point (and, depending on your intentions it could be yet another straw man), but okay, let’s be fair. You have to know the history of my investigations. In the current post I refer to the previous blogpost (FACTS TO CONSIDER WHEN WATCHING “LEAVING NEVERLAND”) where I clearly write:

        “After seeing Leaving Neverland, I thought Michael Jackson lucked out during his lifetime for not having been convicted of child sexual abuse. I wanted to know how he lucked out, so I started reading. Gradually, I came across one surprise after another, and now I find it very hard to believe the allegations. The following article is a result of those surprises.”

        As I assumed that Michael Jackson “lucked out” during his lifetime, I equally assumed that the jury verdict was wrong in 2005.

        5) Elke, I don’t know if I should laugh or cry now. Can you make one argument without using a straw man?

        Yes, Erik, I did so for a great number of paragraphs now.

        Elke, your self-confidence in this regard is not at all warranted (see above).

        But a broken clocks must be correct twice a day, so here is your first lucky strike: I did not look at the publication date of your article. I would argue that a straw man is a willful manipulation of discourse, but whatever: I was wrong about this one.

        Claims should not be accepted on the basis of authority, but on the basis of facts. That’s one of the positive achievements of the Enlightenment.

        But I too can be pedantic: it’s actually the achievement of the renaissance to no longer use authority in pursuit of knowledge. I know this because I helped one of my 4th graders study for her history exam.

        Okay :), haha, you’re right about that.

        The question to determine Michael Jackson’s guilt should not be whether or not the stories of Wade Robson and James Safechuck “fit the pattern” of child sexual abuse. The question should be whether or not the different elements of their stories, which constitute that pattern of child sexual abuse, are actual facts as opposed to lies.

        So you are saying that the fact that the stories they tell in great detail fits the pattern of child sexual abuse to a t should be dismissed, because it’s not a fact? It could be lie?

        Nope, Elke, no. That’s not what I’m saying, but I won’t accuse you of yet another straw man. I’m not saying “it could be a lie”. I’m saying that the elements that constitute the pattern of child sexual abuse are there in the film, but they are not representing the reality of the situation.

        I could go on for hours now, but almost every statement in Leaving Neverland is contradicted by facts. I will name only a few, because it would take us too far.

        For instance, Safechuck’s mother Stephanie claims that Michael Jackson bought her a house after her son James testified on Michael’s behalf in the Chandler case. Actually, it was a loan that Jackson granted the Safechucks in 1992 (well before the Chandlers made their allegations) and he cancelled their debt in 1997 (because they were unable to pay).

        Another example. Wade Robson claims he was abused “hundreds of times” by Michael Jackson in an interview for BBC’s Victoria Derbyshire programme. The problem is that Robson didn’t meet Jackson that often, and certainly not in situations where he was completely alone with the pop star. Wade’s mother Joy testified this at the trial in 2005, and she repeated it in 2016 regarding her son’s case that began in 2013. The following is, for instance, what she says about the visits of her family to Neverland between 1991 and 1993. It is taken from the Deposition Transcript of Lynette Joy Robson – September 30, 2016; see page 52 of the pdf: https://themichaeljacksonallegationsblog.files.wordpress.com/2018/05/joy-robson-deposition-extracts.pdf):

        “We have stayed there [Neverland Ranch] maybe four or five times [from September 1991 to July of ’93], not many, but never with Michael. […] He was there in the June/July visit, but that was the only one.”

        So between 1991 and 1993 Michael Jackson was only in Neverland together with the Robsons in June/July 1993, according to Joy Robson.

        If you really start counting the testified number of meetings between the Robsons and Michael Jackson (in Neverland or elsewhere), and the number of times Jackson could have been alone with Wade, it is simply impossible that Jackson molested Wade “hundreds of times”. Moreover, the majority of the times that the Robsons visited Neverland, also after 1993, Jackson himself was almost never there. Joy Robson testified this several times already.

        Part of the narrative in Leaving Neverland is also that Michael Jackson was jealous of Wade Robson having relationships. The problem is that Michael’s niece Brandi Jackson was in a relationship with Wade for almost ten years, and that the relationship began when they were 10. Brandi says that Wade had developed a crush on her and that he had asked her uncle to set up a new meeting, which he did. So what about that so-called “jealousy”? Also, Wade spent far more time with Brandi, also in Neverland, than he would ever spend with Michael.

        And then there is the story about the “grooming process” of Wade. Once again, Michael Jackson never contacted the Robsons initially (and also later on). It was Joy Robson who tried everything to create a bond with Michael Jackson as she was eager to advance the career of her son. There is ample evidence of this that you can find elsewhere (I’m getting tired).

        See, this is what I meant with re-victimization and thinking the worst of accusers. This is exactly what the #MeToo movement goes against. This is why I concluded that without knowing it and with what I assume are the best of intentions, you are reinforcing patterns of rape culture in your writings.

        Well, as I wrote before, I started out assuming the accusers were telling the truth. I’ll repeat what I wrote in my first blogpost about Leaving Neverland:

        After seeing Leaving Neverland, I thought Michael Jackson lucked out during his lifetime for not having been convicted of child sexual abuse. I wanted to know how he lucked out, so I started reading. Gradually, I came across one surprise after another, and now I find it very hard to believe the allegations. The following article is a result of those surprises.

        A “pattern” is a way to approach reality. It is not reality itself. Knowledge of a pattern can be used by deceivers to “sell” a story as “truth”.

        This completely disregards the fact that psychology and psychiatry are sciences, and where they are descriptive rather than speculative or predictive in nature, they reveal patterns that are not ‘ways to approach reality’ but rather scientifically described ways a certain mental disorder or psychological act develops itself. The fact that someone with depression lies in bed, doesn’t brush their teeth, has sleep paralysis and doesn’t feel like doing much, isn’t ‘a way to approach reality’, it’s the way the disease unfolds. The person can lie about being depressed, sure, but we do not immediately first assume that they are lying because they fit the pattern so well.
        Also, Ockham’s razor.

        I’m not disregarding the fact that psychology and psychiatry are sciences. I’m suggesting that you can make a movie about whatever disease without the actors being sick in reality. And I do believe, for reasons mentioned above and elsewhere, that Leaving Neverland is a work of largely fiction.

        6) Elke, you claim: “That was the promise of Jackson’s lawyers: if you accuse Michael Jackson, we will destroy you and your family.” And yet the vast majority of people who sold (by now proven) false stories to tabloids were never sued. Why tell lies if you could also make big money by telling truthful stories about Michael Jackson’s alleged abusive behavior?

        I don’t see how what you write dismisses or discredits what I wrote, Erik.

        Elke, you probably refer to yet another contested segment of Leaving Neverland. Mark Geragos, one of Michael Jackson’s lawyers, claims that his words were taken out of context. His defence is quite lame, though. But back on topic: the majority of people who accused Jackson in tabloids were not “destroyed” by Jackson’s lawyers, and neither was their family.

        Perhaps because there are no true stories in that respect?

        Perhaps. But like I said, you are writing about #MeToo. The entire purpose of the movement is to no longer say ‘perhaps these are lies’ but to say ‘perhaps this is true’ and to treat accusers and accusations as such. So within the context of your writings, you are once again showing that you follow traditional patterns of dealing with accusers and victims, rather than adhering to the way the movement works. And since you seem to be writing as a way to warn the movement of imminent doom, I can only once again infer that you do not know the movement or are defending your own straw man version of it.

        Well Elke, we’re repeating ourselves here. Once again, every case against Michael Jackson was taken seriously by the judicial system, by police force, the FBI, by Children Protective Services etc. Hence the numerous investigations. Also on a personal note, remember the quote of what I wrote before:

        “After seeing Leaving Neverland, I thought Michael Jackson lucked out during his lifetime for not having been convicted of child sexual abuse. I wanted to know how he lucked out, so I started reading. Gradually, I came across one surprise after another, and now I find it very hard to believe the allegations. The following article is a result of those surprises.”

        Concerning the cases of Wade Robson and James Safechuck, the pattern to seek monetary compensations for alleged abuse repeats itself. This is a fact. Moreover, Robson and Safechuck were also caught lying on multiple occasions regarding their cases, not only by investigative journalists, but also by judges. This is a fact. It is no coincidence that their cases were already thrown out of court twice. It is probably also no coincidence that Robson first made allegations when he was experiencing financial troubles and troubles regarding his career (he was not accepted as director for a Michael Jackson Cirque du Soleil tribute show). And it is probably also no coincidence that Safechuck “suddenly realized” that he had been abused by Michael Jackson only days after the Safechuck family business got sued for nearly a million dollars.

        An accuser is stripped of all possible goodwill and scrutinized through a magnifying glass. Can you at least recognize, Erik, if only for yourself, that you are doing exactly what I described people do with accusers? That this is exactly the re-victimization I talked about? And can you then at least concede that it is logical of me to not think you an ally to the movement that wants to stop us from doing this to accusers, publicly and mercilessly, but rather opposed to it?

        Do you know any person whose life has been held under a magnifying glass like Michael Jackson’s life? We know what his genitals looked like, we know what porn sites he visited, what he had in his bedroom, and so on (for more, read this article: https://www.huffpost.com/entry/no-child-porn-found-at-neverland-thenor-now-the_b_577fdfbce4b0f06648f4a3f8). He was researched, on and off by police and FBI, for over a decade. The court documents about the cases against him are available to everybody, with every single detail of his private life exposed.

        This is not part of the solution that the #MeToo movement stands for, this is part of the problem. Now, again, you may have problems with the movement and what it stands for, but that is not what you’re writing about. Please look at the testimony of Christine Blasey Ford, and president Donald Trump’s reaction (she was drunk, she doesn’t remember much, she remembers odd details) to see this re-victimization in action. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OZ7ovA37u-0

        No, part of the problem of rape culture is that people who are held under a magnifying glass like no other, who went to trial for a ludicrous case and were (of course!) acquitted on all counts are still being “raped” by proven liars (with proven liars like Blanca Francia and Mariano “Mark” Quindoy as “witnessess”). These proven liars, already reprimanded by a judge, can count on the bad reputation of the accused and the empathy of a #MeToo movement that – apparently – doesn’t care about fair trials. The trial in 2005 wasn’t fair to begin with.

        That’s why I repeat the following.

        HIGH PROFILE CASES THAT TURN OUT TO BE TOO RIDICULOUS TO BE TRUE, CONTAINING A MYRIAD OF PROVABLE LIES, HURT THE OVERALL CREDIBILITY OF THE VICTIMS OF SEXUAL ASSAULT AND SEXUAL VIOLENCE. OVER MEDIATIZED CASES, LIKE THE CASES AROUND ACCUSER CARL BEECH OR LIKE THE CASE AROUND THE ACCUSED BUT INNOCENT SIMON WARR, CREATE A CULTURE WHEREIN REAL PERPETRATORS CAN SHED DOUBT ON THE ALLEGATIONS OF REAL VICTIMS. BY NOT TAKING INTO ACCOUNT WHAT HAS BEEN DECIDED ABOUT A PERSON’S GUILT IN A COURT OF LAW, AND BY ALLOWING A HIGH PROFILE MEDIA FRENZY REGARDING TWO ALLEGED VICTIMS WHOSE CASES WERE ALREADY DISMISSED TWICE BY A JUDGE, ONE FURTHER PARTICIPATES IN THE CREATION OF A CULTURE OF DOUBT CONCERNING THE ALLEGATIONS OF VICTIMS. THUS, IF THE #METOO MOVEMENT REFUSES TO TAKE INTO ACCOUNT HOW AN ALLEGED HIGH PROFILE PERPETRATOR WAS ACQUITTED (AND SIMPLY, LAZILY REFERS TO THE ALLEGED POWER OF THE ACCUSED AND HIS “GOOD LAWYERS”) AND ALLOWS FOR NEW ACCUSATIONS TO BE MADE WITH EASILY PROVEN LIES AND HUGE MONETARY DEMANDS, THEN THE #METOO MOVEMENT IS ITSELF AN ENABLER OF SEXUAL ASSAULT AND VIOLENCE (AS PERPETRATORS ONCE AGAIN CAN HIDE BEHIND A VEIL OF DOUBT). THAT’S WHY THE #METOO MOVEMENT SHOULD BE VERY TROUBLED ABOUT A FILM LIKE LEAVING NEVERLAND. IF IT IS NOT TROUBLED, THEN THE #METOO MOVEMENT IS SIMPLY, HOWEVER TRAGICALLY, ONE MORE ENABLER OF THE RAPE CULTURE IT IS TRYING TO FIGHT.

        AS ACCUSED BUT OFFICIALLY ACQUITTED PERSONS TESTIFY, THERE WILL ALWAYS BE PEOPLE WHO SIMPLY DON’T BELIEVE ONE WAS INNOCENT. THIS MAKES IT VERY EASY FOR FRAUDS TO LAUNCH NEW ALLEGATIONS AGAINST SOMEONE WHO WAS ACQUITTED BUT STILL SUFFERS FROM A BAD REPUTATION, ESPECIALLY IF THAT PERSON IS NO LONGER HERE TO DEFEND HIMSELF.

        7) Elke, how on earth can you even describe Michael Jackson as a powerful man? He is dead. He cannot defend himself against the accusations that are now leveled against him by people who are backed by powerful institutions like HBO and Oprah Winfrey. You assume a lot that simply isn’t true about his so-called “power”.

        As you very well know Erik, being a religious studies master yourself, power is not a static thing, nor is it something that can only be exerted by a living person over living people. Power is systemic and dynamic. MJ’s empire is still an empire, and a lot of people still gain in many different ways from his position as a musical legend, a pop icon and a philanthropist. Moreover his power is in the symbolic realm as well. He holds power as a symbol of the American Dream, of the race issues in the US as well as abroad, of many people’s hopes and aspirations. He’s rightfully called one of the last great superstars. The fact that fans are willing to pay money to discredit accusers on the side of a bus, shows the power he still holds.

        So you see, I’m not assuming anything. You are merely thinking too narrowly about what powerful means in the context of patriarchy.

        Okay Elke, do you really think that I don’t know all that? You refer to my reference of Michael Jackson holding power over “(crazy) fans” yourself, below.

        Michael Jackson’s properties got raided several times by police forces, his computers were meticulously investigated by the FBI, he barely had any privacy, his genitals were photographed by the police, tabloids continuously sought to publish scandalous stories about him (paying huge amounts of money for whoever wanted to tell a story), and he constantly had people around who wanted to take advantage of him (as is also testified by the Schleiters in their Open Letter).

        I should take this Open Letter at face value, Erik, without putting it to the same scrutiny you have put the accusers to?

        Be my guest, Elke, prove that all these people are liars regarding Michael Jackson (maybe it is as easily done as the lies the judges discovered in Robson’s and Safechuck’s lawsuits): Brett Barnes, Karlee Barnes, Omer Bhatti (O-Bee), Aaron Carter, Eddie Cascio, Frank Cascio, Kevin Macaulay Culkin, Bela Farkas, Corey Feldman, Brandi Jackson, Taj Jackson, Sean Lennon, Harriet Lester, Emmanuel Lewis, William Ray Norwood Jr. (Ray J), Danny Oliver, Kelley Parker, Alfonso Ribeiro, David Rothenberg (Dave Dave), Anton Schleiter, Franziska Schleiter.

        Also: aside from the latter two, all of these things seem normal to me in the course of a sexual assault investigation, do you not think so? You seem to think that a powerful man would escape the law indefinitely. This is not what I said. I merely stated that you were doing what the #MeToo movement rebels against: discrediting accusers in order to protect the reputation of a powerful man. The fact that he was investigated and cleared, does not mean that this is not what you are doing.

        And anyone who dares to consider even the possibility that Michael Jackson is innocent of the charges levelled against him, is arrogantly labeled “a crazy, irrational fan”.

        Erik, now you are arguing a straw man. Where did I say that?

        Elke, I was quoting from my post. And no, the post is not directed at Elke Verhelst exclusively.

        If the #MeToo movement wants us…

        Who’s polarizing now, Erik? The frame of your writings seems to imply that you want to ‘save’ the movement, further implying some sort of affinity with it or a moral sympathy for it. But now it’s us vs. the movement? We need to be convinced of something?

        If the #MeToo movement wants us to accept that emotionally convincing cinematic productions by powerful media, launched to the world for big money, are more important to make decisions about a person’s guilt than the facts that are revealed through arduous investigative proceedings – selling the former as “rational” and the latter as “irrational” -, then the #MeToo movement will eventually be more about defending grifters than about defending real victims of (child) sexual abuse. That is not a world that I want to be a part of.

        See, once again, you show that you do not understand the movement at all. In fact, the first part of your statement could have been an interesting thesis: what is the best way to tell these stories? Should that even matter? And is telling the stories the same as laying blame or talking about guilt.
        But then you launch into ad hominem hyperbole, which show that you don’t understand and/or completely disagree with the movement. I assume you saw Oprah Winfrey’s After Neverland special? She did what #MeToo is about: broaden the story, reflect it back to the audience, show people how common it is and how damaging. It’s not about Michael Jackson’s guilt or innocence, it’s not about how many details of the story are correct or incorrect. It’s about broadening the conversation, opening it up for people.

        Here’s what Robson and Safechuck did, and what you never mentioned in your entire piece: they opened up the conversation. Yes, it was on HBO. Which means millions of people saw it, together, with their families. Which means it was a moment for hundreds of them to turn to that family and say: This, this is me. Living, breathing victims who finally see an open door through which to step, a way forward to tell their story and find some measure of peace and healing. This is what that relentless four hour documentary did: it told the story of child sexual abuse, in great detail, and it opened up this story and the possibility to understand and empathize for a whole generation. And in following it up the way she did, Oprah used her voice to amplify millions who’ve been left silenced for decades.

        Silenced by the threat of scrutiny and second guessing that hangs over the head of every single accuser. Because for the love of God, let’s protect the reputation of that handful of falsely accused men. And in doing so, our society has locked millions of people – men and women, boys and girls, trans people of all ages – into a traumatic box of silence and shame and fear. And that is what #MeToo is about. That’s who we care about. We don’t care about Michael Jackson’s phantom, we care about millions of people who live with immense trauma.

        The world you live in, where watching Leaving Neverland made you research relentlessly the story of two boys claiming to have been sexually abused in order to make sure it’s true, is the world we live in, and have lived in. The world of #MeToo, the world we want to live in, is the world where my students watched the documentary and we talked it through, and some of them talked to friends they had thought maybe were victims of sexual violence, and one of them went into therapy, and donations to Child Focus and JAC and Overkop and all kinds of organizations dealing with child sexual abuse went up. That’s what it was about. But you missed it, because you were busy with Michael Jackson’s reputation.

        Elke, I couldn’t care less about Michael Jackson’s reputation. If he was a child molester, then he was a child molester. However, he had his day in court. He was more than properly investigated. His accusers were all taken seriously, also by me (as you can read in my repeated quote from my first post about Leaving Neverland). I firmly believe he was innocent, based on the information that is available.

        You are right in a sense, Elke. Leaving Neverland demonstrates what child sexual abuse is all about in a superb way, and so in that sense, it opens up the conversation. I’m sure there are other movies with good actors that do the same. If “it isn’t about Michael Jackson”, other good movies or documentaries on real cases of child sexual abuse can be used as well.

        Leaving Neverland, however, does not present itself as a work of fiction. And as it revolves around a celebrity like no other, it will detract attention from the alleged victims to Michael Jackson more times than it wants to. Moreover, as Leaving Neverland does not take into account all that has been discovered by official investigations, by a criminal trial and by judges (regarding the current lawsuits) it tends to encourage “witch hunts” that don’t bother about due process. More lies have been uncovered since it aired as well.

        Therefore, I consider it immoral to use Leaving Neverland as a vehicle to talk about child sexual abuse. #WadeAndJamesDoNotSpeakForMe is a hashtag used by victims of child sexual abuse, and I understand why (also from my personal experience, but I’ll leave it at that). They are the “us” I was talking about. And, once more, the following represents the reason why high profile cases (in this case also a trial by media case) of proven false or highly doubtful accusations hurt the #MeToo movement.

        HIGH PROFILE CASES THAT TURN OUT TO BE TOO RIDICULOUS TO BE TRUE, CONTAINING A MYRIAD OF PROVABLE LIES, HURT THE OVERALL CREDIBILITY OF THE VICTIMS OF SEXUAL ASSAULT AND SEXUAL VIOLENCE. OVER MEDIATIZED CASES, LIKE THE CASES AROUND ACCUSER CARL BEECH OR LIKE THE CASE AROUND THE ACCUSED BUT INNOCENT SIMON WARR, CREATE A CULTURE WHEREIN REAL PERPETRATORS CAN SHED DOUBT ON THE ALLEGATIONS OF REAL VICTIMS. BY NOT TAKING INTO ACCOUNT WHAT HAS BEEN DECIDED ABOUT A PERSON’S GUILT IN A COURT OF LAW, AND BY ALLOWING A HIGH PROFILE MEDIA FRENZY REGARDING TWO ALLEGED VICTIMS WHOSE CASES WERE ALREADY DISMISSED TWICE BY A JUDGE, ONE FURTHER PARTICIPATES IN THE CREATION OF A CULTURE OF DOUBT CONCERNING THE ALLEGATIONS OF VICTIMS. THUS, IF THE #METOO MOVEMENT REFUSES TO TAKE INTO ACCOUNT HOW AN ALLEGED HIGH PROFILE PERPETRATOR WAS ACQUITTED (AND SIMPLY, LAZILY REFERS TO THE ALLEGED POWER OF THE ACCUSED AND HIS “GOOD LAWYERS”) AND ALLOWS FOR NEW ACCUSATIONS TO BE MADE WITH EASILY PROVEN LIES AND HUGE MONETARY DEMANDS, THEN THE #METOO MOVEMENT IS ITSELF AN ENABLER OF SEXUAL ASSAULT AND VIOLENCE (AS PERPETRATORS ONCE AGAIN CAN HIDE BEHIND A VEIL OF DOUBT). THAT’S WHY THE #METOO MOVEMENT SHOULD BE VERY TROUBLED ABOUT A FILM LIKE LEAVING NEVERLAND. IF IT IS NOT TROUBLED, THEN THE #METOO MOVEMENT IS SIMPLY, HOWEVER TRAGICALLY, ONE MORE ENABLER OF THE RAPE CULTURE IT IS TRYING TO FIGHT.

        AS ACCUSED BUT OFFICIALLY ACQUITTED PERSONS TESTIFY, THERE WILL ALWAYS BE PEOPLE WHO SIMPLY DON’T BELIEVE ONE WAS INNOCENT. THIS MAKES IT VERY EASY FOR FRAUDS TO LAUNCH NEW ALLEGATIONS AGAINST SOMEONE WHO WAS ACQUITTED BUT STILL SUFFERS FROM A BAD REPUTATION, ESPECIALLY IF THAT PERSON IS NO LONGER HERE TO DEFEND HIMSELF.

        Like

      • erik buys · July 30

        Elke,

        Thank you for your reply.

        Again, what I write (also my quotes by you) has emphasis.

        Sincerely,

        Erik

        Like

    • erik buys · July 31

      Elke,

      at first sight, to believe that Michael Jackson was a serial pedophile is one of the easiest things to do. It also seems the most rational, even compassionate thing to do. Well, is it?

      Those who believe in Michael Jackson’s guilt often point to his “unusual behavior” as circumstantial evidence corroborating that guilt. However, they do not consider the unusual as well as fraudulent behavior and proven outright lies of accusers like Evan Chandler, Janet Arvizo, Víctor Gutiérrez, Diane Dimond, Wade Robson and James Safechuck as circumstantial evidence that indicates Michael Jackson’s innocence.

      Moreover, Michael Jackson’s accusers often refer to non-existent things as “proof” of Jackson’s guilt. Diane Dimond once referred to a non-existent videotape of Jackson molesting a boy allegedly owned by her convicted fraudulent friend Víctor Gutiérrez. Gutiérrez wrote a graphic pedo-fantasist book about the relationship between Jordan Chandler and Michael Jackson, based on a non-existent “secret diary” of Jordan Chandler. James Safechuck tells stories about Michael Jackson reminiscent of the stories in the book by Gutiérrez and claims to have been molested numerous times in a 1988 non-existent train station. Wade Robson fails to mention he started dating Brandi Jackson thanks to Michael Jackson when he was 10 years old and refers to Jackson’s non-existent jealousy regarding Robson having relationships with girls.

      And so on. In any case, the reference to non-existent things as alleged “proof” are numerous in all the tales of Michael Jackson’s accusers. Exactly why these accusers should be believed despite their apparent lies, manipulations and fantasies is never quite explained by “believers” of Michael Jackson’s guilt.

      Can you explain to me why we should believe those people?

      Thanks.

      Like

    • erik buys · July 31

      Elke, and what about the following testimony? She says about Leaving Neverland:

      “Real abuse victims like me are not believed because people do this for money. They lie and others are not believed that it really happened to them.”

      Like

    • erik buys · August 11

      Elke,

      Say one more time that I don’t know nothing about the #MeToo movement after you read the following.

      It is the EXACT SAME CASE I make in my post:

      According to a Vox/Morning Consult survey (published April 5, 2018),

      “Women who supported #MeToo were actually more concerned than women as a whole about some potential ill effects of the movement. Sixty-eight percent of #MeToo supporters were very or somewhat concerned about false accusations, for instance, compared with 63 percent of all women.”

      Why?

      According to the same survey,

      “Women’s concerns are often rooted in a desire for the movement to succeed.

      It’s not surprising that women who were supportive of #MeToo were also more likely than average to have certain concerns, said Sarah J. Jackson, a professor of communication studies at Northeastern University who studies racial and gender justice activism. People who support the movement “understand the stakes,” Jackson said.

      In her recent interviews with feminist Twitter users, she said, she found a keen awareness of the ways feminist causes can be undermined — an awareness that false rape accusations, for instance, can be portrayed in ways that harm anti-rape activism as a whole.”

      Read more here: Why women are worried about #MeToo. https://www.vox.com/2018/4/5/17157240/me-too-movement-sexual-harassment-aziz-ansari-accusation

      Like

  4. Gemma Jiménez Ruiz · August 1

    Great article exposing FACTS. Thank you.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Pingback: “Leaving Neverland”: aantoonbare riooljournalistiek die de #MeToo-beweging schaadt | Mimetic Margins
  6. Pingback: Leaving Neverland: “It’s NOT about Michael Jackson…” | Mimetic Margins
  7. Pingback: FACTS TO CONSIDER WHEN WATCHING “LEAVING NEVERLAND” | Mimetic Margins

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