With the bombshell documentary Leaving Neverland reopening discussions about child molestation allegations against the late pop icon Michael Jackson, his nephew seeks to counter its narrative.
Taj Jackson has made headlines in recent months, speaking out against the controversial documentary. According to Billboard Magazine, he now wants to take things a step further by raising $777,000 to create a documentary series to counter sexual abuse claims against his uncle.
The HBO documentary, directed by filmmaker Dan Reed, featured James Safechuck and Wade Robson, who as children were two of a series of boys Jackson befriended and had as guests at his Neverland Ranch in Southern California. He faced allegations of child molestation of another boy, but was cleared of those charges in 2005. Safechuck and Robson allege that Jackson did actually molest them over the course of years and described it in graphic detail in the film.
“I knew I had to be someone out in front fighting for my uncle,” he told Billboard. “I’m not combating Leaving Neverland. I’m doing a documentary about the media’s relationship with my uncle and how they’ve reported certain things as factual that were lies. I’m going to go back all the way to 1993 with the first allegation and uncover that along with the 2005 allegations.”
Since the release of the documentary, Michael’s songs have been removed from rotation at several radio stations across the country and paraphernalia previously owned by the star has been removed from several exhibitions. Taj passionately denied the allegations made against his uncle and declared his innocence, but he seemed to be more worried about the narrative that would be left behind if he didn’t do something.
“I don’t want someone watching Leaving Neverland a hundred years from now and thinking it’s true. I want there to be a counter argument that debunks everything,” he admitted.
Taj continued to defend his uncle against the allegations and insisted that based on who Michael was, he could not have been capable of what he has been accused of. According to CNN, he has been open in the past about enduring abuse himself as a child and he credited Michael with helping him through the trauma.
“My uncle was the type that would see a kid suffering on the news and he would be on the phone anonymously donating money to the cause,” Taj Jackson said.
So far, he has raised slightly over $110,000 on GoFundMe for his counter-documentary series.