The estate and family of the late Michael Jackson are claiming that Wade Robson, one of two central figures in the recently released documentary Leaving Neverland, has recently been embellishing his claims of sexual assault in comparison to previous testimony.
Insider sources from the Michael Jackson Estate and the Jackson family who allegedly spoke with entertainment news site The Blast claim that Robson’s description of the first alleged incident of abuse concerning Jackson in Leaving Neverland is drastically different from a description previously put forth by Robson during a 2016 trial against MJJ Productions and MJJ Ventures.
According to court documents from 2016, Robson alleged that the first time he was abused by Jackson was while his family was at Neverland Ranch, while his sister was sleeping upstairs in Jackson’s room.
Yet in Leaving Neverland, Robson claims that he was first abused by Jackson after Jackson convinced Robson’s mother to let Robson stay with Jackson while the rest of his family took a trip to the Grand Canyon.
The sources who spoke with The Blast claimed that the most recent version of the story, featured in Leaving Neverland, is “more dramatic” and “not the story he told under oath in his deposition.”
The Jackson estate is currently suing HBO, the producers of Leaving Neverland, for $100 million, with attorney Howard Weitzman claiming that:
“HBO could have and should have ensured that Leaving Neverland was properly sourced, fact-checked and a fair and balanced representation. Instead they chose to fund and produce a film where they knew the two subjects had for many years testified under oath and told family, friends and law enforcement that Mr. Jackson did nothing inappropriate to either of them.”
Despite Jackson having been acquitted in his famous child abuse case, The People of the State of California vs Michael Jackson, the latest accusations by Robson (and James Safechuck, whose accusations are also the focus of the Leaving Neverland documentary) featured in Leaving Neverland have sparked widespread reactionary measures from the general public. Some have moved to change or censor references to Jackson in their products or art due to the emotionally charged nature of the documentary, such as Britain’s National Football Museum removing a statue of Jackson, The Children’s Museum of Indianapolis removing items belonging to Jackson from their ‘American Pop’ exhibit, and Matt Groening, James L. Brooks, and Al Jean pulling the famous The Simpsons episode ‘Stark Raving Dad‘ from both syndication and future home releases. Multiple radio stations worldwide have voluntarily removed Jackson’s iconic music from their rotations and playlists in an effort to, as MediaWorks’ group content director for radio Leon Wratt put forth, “just merely [try] to make sure that our radio stations are going to play the music that people want to hear.”
Conversely, other institutions and creators are remaining staunch in their refusal to self-censor or bow to public pressure regarding Jackson related material. German art and culture museum Kunst- und Ausstellungshalle der Bundesrepublik Deutschland has indicated that they will continue with their exhibition, Michael Jackson: On the Wall, because as museum director Rein Wolfs stated, “I believe it’s better to have a platform that enables discussion rather than simply to extinguish a cultural memory.” The Rock & Roll Hall of Fame has stated that they will not be making any alterations to its Jackson exhibits, for as the Hall states, “Jackson was recognized for musical excellence and talent as well as having a significant impact on rock & roll, and was elected by a diverse voting body of historians, fellow musicians, and music industry professionals. ”
Robson has a storied history of legal proceedings concerning accusations of abuse against Jackson. In 2005, Robson initially testified on behalf of Jackson during Jackson’s criminal trial, stating that though he had slept in Jackson’s bedroom, he had never been molested. In 2013, Robson reversed his statements and filed suit against the Jackson Estate claiming that he had, in fact, been sexually abused over a seven year period, though the suit against Jackson himself was dismissed by a California judge due to the state’s statute of limitations regarding filing suit against someone who has since passed.
Robson would later pivot to holding the remaining two defendants, MJJ Productions and MJJ Ventures, responsible for his abuse, as Robson claimed the companies knew about the abuse but failed to take steps to prevent it, but the case would ultimately be dismissed by a judge in 2017 as the Judge stated that these business entities had no control over Jackson’s actions or decisions.