Leaving Neverland has opened up the debate about Michael Jackson’s abuse allegations once again. In this day and age of #metoo and believing the victims, it has created a very visceral divide between people. My observation of the current debate happening online is that while the “believe the victim” side of the argument has evolved with the times, the “Michael is innocent” camp has been resorting to the same old chestnuts and logical fallacies, because God forbid that a person in a position of power would abuse said power (because that never happens!)
My position and the purpose of this article: If you were to ask me if Michael Jackson abused these men when they were boys, I’d tell you I don’t know. Short of revelations of recorded video of abuse surfacing, we’ll never know for sure. At this point in the game, the only way you could ever get a useful rebuttal would have been from Michael Jackson, but he’s been dead for over a decade.
So with that in mind, the point of this article is to point out that these blanket statements made by Jackson fans are strawman arguments. The reality of it is, this is all a very complex situation that dismissive statements like the ones below aren’t the kind of a responses for people who have given the situation much consideration. I don’t want to convince you to believe the victims, I’m not entirely sure if I can believe them myself. However, what I hope is to teach the lot of you at least have some fucking empathy for people who may have experienced a great deal of emotional and physical abuse.
5) “They changed their story, so it must be a lie!”
This argument comes from the fact that, during all the various court trials about Michael Jackson, Wade Robson and James Safechuck maintained that they were not molested by Michael Jackson. Now that he is dead, there is a perception that they are lying due ulterior motives and financial gain (see #4 for more on that).
However, it is actually quite common for a victim of sexual abuse to deny any abuse took place. First of all, a victim of rape goes through what is called rape trauma syndrome. Those who suffer from RTS often suppress memories, try to normalize what happened to them, or outright deny that anything had every happened. What doesn’t help them come to terms with their past abuse is, wait for it, people not believing them or calling them a liar. Or the perception of a continued threat to themselves. That only goes to reinforce their need to hide it. It’s also no surprise that people who suffer from RTS also suffer from Post-traumatic stress disorder.
Both RTS And PTSD are reasonable explanations for why Robson and Safechuck have suddenly changed their stories.
4) “They’re just doing it for the money!”
This is a two parter, because people say that they were in it for the money then and in it for the money now.
Back then, if this was all about money, Michael Jackson was incredibly charitable and threw money around anyway. The thing to remember is that they were part of Michael's encourage, Jackson paid for their every need and the needs of their families. If they just wanted money Michael would have willingly given it to them as he did constantly for just about everyone else he was close with. As revealed in Leaving Neverland, Jackson even bought the Safechuck family a new house. He always helped out the families he was close with. The idea that they were accusing Jackson for molestation for some blackmail scheme or to make more money is absurd. They already had a golden goose, killing it to get all the eggs at once is stupid. If this was all about money, they could have leeched off Jackson forever without making any accusations.
As to the now, a recent Forbes article recently criticised Wade Robson for having a career related nervous breakdown and that financial and personal problems were reasons to disqualify his claims. However, if you know anything about PTSD, being able to function and maintain a personal life, or manage adult things like a marriage, career and finances is near impossible. It also points out that Robson tried to get a job working on a cirque du soleil/Jackson Estate joint venture, but failed to get the job. Also that both men tried to sue the Jackson estate and had the case thrown out of court.
Also, both men have great careers. Particularly Robson who did choreography for both NYSNC and Britney Spears. Not only was that a huge money maker, but the royalties he probably gets has him living comfortably if he was able to manage his finances properly. Also, consider the risk here: He is well known in Hollywood for their choreography. To make accusations of Hollywood royalty is career suicide. If this was about money, he wouldn’t torpedo his entire career on something that is so unpopular. As for Safechuck, he’s a computer programmer. The median income for a computer programmer is 82k a year in the United States, he’s not exactly living poor either.
Still we can put a pin in this argument since a recent report has come out confirming that neither men were paid for their involvement in Leaving Neverland.
3) “I’ve known Michael Jackson for years and I never saw a thing!”
The idea that people who were closest to him saw nothing, doesn’t mean nothing happened. Like all serial killers and spree shooters, nobody who was close to those individuals could not believe that a person who was in their lives was capable of doing something so evil. The reason is that most violent criminals know what they are doing is wrong and do everything in their power to avoid getting caught. Pedophiles are no different.
Also, common-sense time, unless you’re actively looking for some sign that your closest friend, or spouse, or child is pedophile, you’re not going to see the signs. In addition to this, the people closest to the offender can set up complex denials of the reality even when the clear evidence is looking them in the face.
Take a look at some of the most notorious sexual criminals of our times: John Wayne Gacey, Robert Picton, Clifford Olson, or Ted Bundy. Now imagine these maniacs with the level of fame and fortune that Michael Jackson at their disposal. If you had a limitless source of money and resource to cover something up you’d do it. Now some of you might think I’m being unfair comparing Jackson to these horrible killers because he never killed anyone. However, if you were insanely wealthy and had the power to socially crush someone with a word, would you even need to kill your victims?
2) “Look at all the good things he has done, he couldn’t possibly have done this!”
Another argument that people use is the fact that because Michael Jackson did so much good for the world, particularly children. Michael Jackson wasn’t just the King of Pop. He was also a huge philanthropist, to the point that his charity work landed him in the Guiness Book of World Records. However, the fact that he was a philanthropist doesn’t absolve him of possibly commiting unspeakable crimes. Philanthropists are not always free of sin, for example Bill Cosby and Harvey Weinstein were also philanthropists. If you want to talk about people who give charity but molest kids, well there’s no better example as the Catholic Church.
I’m not saying every philanthropist is involved in evil deeds. What I am saying that potential monsters are not incapable of charity.
1) “Other kids weren’t molested, so these guys are lying!”
This has been one of the biggest arguments that is always brought up whenever Michael Jackson’ sexual abuse allegations come up. Former child stars such as Corey Feldman and Macaulay Culkin have both said, numerous times, that they were never abused while they were friends with Michael Jackson. That might be true, but they also might be suffering from the same psychological problems that victims suffer in a situation. Maybe they haven’t come to terms with any abuse.
However, let’s say for argument’s sake, neither were abused — that’s certainly a possibility. However, this does not mean that no abuse took place.
The logical fallacy of Jackson supporters here is the idea that Jackson couldn't have molested the alleged victims because all of the kids weren't molested. I hate to be the one to tell you, but while pedophiles are sick monsters, but they still have sexual preferences like anyone else. So when people say "Well Corey and Macauly Culkin weren't molested!" Maybe that's because they weren't Michael's type. When people say "We'll he didn't molest his own kids!", well just because you're a pedophile doesn't mean you're into incest either.
With any sex crime, the perpetrator has a type. They usually aren't indiscriminate when it comes to a victim because they usually have a very specific fantasy. And I'm not talking about physical appearance. For example, there is a reason why a rapist who attacks women jogging in a park doesn't suddenly start attacking men in a change room. With pedophiles in particular, there is also the grooming component that plays into the “type”. If they don’t fit the fantasy and they can’t be groomed, then the criminal is not going to molest them.
Bonus: “He was found not guilty!”
As an aside, people always point to the fact that during the trials in the early 90s and 2005, the authorities couldn’t find any credible evidence and that the juries of these trials found Jackson not guilty.
Here’s the thing that people don’t get about court trials is this: Just because you are found not guilty does not necessarily mean you are innocent. It means that the prosecution could not prove that you are guilty beyond a reasonable a doubt. If you want a comparable example: OJ Simpson. OJ Simpson was found not guilty of committing the murders of Nicole Brown and Ron Goldman. Pretty much everyone thinks OJ did it. Even OJ thinks he did it. Regardless, the law couldn’t prove it. Hence he was not guilty. I’m not saying the not guilty verdict means Jackson is still guilty of something. I am saying that a not guilty verdict doesn’t necessarily mean someone is innocent.
In this day and age, what we’re learning and what legal experts are saying is that rape cases are difficult to prosecute. There are a lot of reasons for that. Particularly the fact that there are difficulties finding physical evidence of abuse when there is a delay in reporting the crime. In both cases, the authorities said they found no evidence at Jackson’s Neverland Ranch. Which begs the question: What kind of evidence were they looking for? In the 1990s, forensic science and criminal psychology were not as good, or commonly used in criminal investigations. On top of this, we’re talking about LA cops from the 1990s. You know, the OJ Simpson/Rodney King/LA Riot era LAPD. They had a horrible track record back then, so now you’re trusting them because you’re a fan of Michael Jackson? You know how crazy that sounds, right?
The Question Nobody Asks
People on the Pro-Jackson side say that Michael is the real victim here. Is Jackson victimless? I don’t think so. I think he is a victim, but for entirely different reasons. If the allegations about him are true, this doesn’t necessarily absolve him of what he has done. However, it’s possible that he himself was the victim of sexual abuse. Current statistics figure that only 4% of sex offenders were abused when they were children. It’s unlikely, but it’s not impossible. What do we know about Michael Jackson? That he has been in show business since 1964 when he was six-years-old. We also know that child celebrities tend to get fucked up by the pressures put upon them by. A lot of them have been molested. Also, Michael’s father Joe Jackson, was apparently a piece of shit, considering all the abuse allegations that have been made about him — by Michael himself. Allegations that his fans don’t try to discredit might I add.
Given what we know about Jackson’s childhood, in his own words, he is lived a lonely and felt isolated during his childhood. He could have been an ideal victim for someone to abuse him when he was growing up. We probably won’t ever learn if that was the case because you know — Jackson has been dead for years. People say Jackson was just an eccentric that suffered from Peter Pan syndrome (that’s not a real diagnosis, by the way). What we can all agree on, is that his childhood was fucked up and it clearly impacted him his entire life. How is it impossible that a troubled childhood could lead to him becoming a monster?
Anyway, like I said at the start of all this, my intent was not to convince you that Jackson committed these crimes. Again, I don’t know if he did or not. What I am saying is that all of your rebuttals, upon more critical examination, are not as concrete as you think they are, much like the allegations being made by Jackson’s supposed victims.