Michael Jackson estate wins victory in Wade Robson sexual abuse lawsuit
The choreographer who was featured in 'Finding Neverland' lost his latest appeal
Michael Jackson‘s large and loyal fanbase and his family claimed victory on Monday as the King of Pop’s estate has won in their latest attempt to prevent choreographer Wade Robson from filing a sexual abuse lawsuit.
Robson, who was featured in the controversial 2019 HBO documentary Leaving Neverland has been seeking to sue the Jackson estate since 2013 for the sexual abuse he says he suffered as a child from the Grammy-winning superstar. Robson, who was Michael’s niece Brandi Jackson’s boyfriend for seven years and who worked with Britney Spears and N’SYNC detailed the graphic allegations in the documentary.
The documentary was assailed by Jackson’s fanbase for its biases — only Robson and another of Jackson’s former associates, James Safechuck, was featured in the documentary. It focused on them and their allegations of abuse they say they experienced in their childhood when they and their families befriended Jackson.
Filmmaker Dan Reed didn’t call upon any other of Jackson’s friends or associates to support another view of the embattled artist, who was acquitted in a 2005 sexual abuse case brought by Gavin Arvizo, a cancer patient whose family also befriended Jackson. Celebs and others who spent time with Jackson as children including Macaulay Culkin, Aaron Carter, and more defended Jackson on social media after the documentary aired.
According to The Hollywood Reporter, Robson tried to sue Jackson’s business enterprises MJJ Productions and MJJ Ventures to say they facilitated the alleged sexual abuse. A judge agreed that Jackson’s companies had no ability to control his behavior and therefore can’t be held liable for it.
L.A. County Superior Court Judge Mark A. Young wrote in his ruling:
“There is no evidence supporting Plaintiff’s contention that Defendants exercised control over Jackson. The evidence further demonstrates that Defendants had no legal ability to control Jackson, because Jackson had complete and total ownership of the corporate defendants. Without control, there is no special relationship or duty that exists between Defendants and Plaintiff. In addition, there is no evidence of misfeasance by Defendants.”
Robson testified in Jackson’s favor in the 2005 case, saying that he was never molested. However, in 2013, Robson first attempted to sue the estate saying that becoming a father had made him aware that he’d been manipulated into believing differently. His initial lawsuit attempt was blocked as it was outside the statute of limitations but was brought again in 2020 when that was extended in California to alleged victims of child abuse, per THR.
The late Howard Weitzman and Jonathan Steinsapir represented the Jackson estate and they provided THR with a statement.
“As of today, a summary judgment AGAINST Wade Robson has been granted three different times by two different judges of the Superior Court,” says Steinsapir. “Wade Robson has spent the last 8 years pursuing frivolous claims in different lawsuits against Michael Jackson’s estate and companies associated with it. Robson has taken nearly three dozen depositions and inspected and presented hundreds of thousands of documents trying to prove his claims, yet a Judge has once again ruled that Robson’s claims have no merit whatsoever, that no trial is necessary and that his latest case is dismissed.”
However, Robson’s lawyer Vince Finaldi also provided a response saying that Robson would appeal the ruling, and if necessary, to the California Supreme Court.
“If allowed to stand,” Finaldi said in the statement, “the decision would set a dangerous precedent that would leave thousands of children working in the entertainment industry vulnerable to sexual abuse by persons in places of power. The children of our state deserve protection, and we will not stop fighting until we insure that every child is safe.”
Jackson died on June 25, 2009 in his Holmby Hills home due to acute propofol and benzodiazepine intoxication. His nephew, Taj Jackson, who led a campaign to refute Robson and Safechuck’s allegations in the documentary and to condemn the documentary itself, celebrated the ruling on Twitter, saying “We’ve been ridiculed, vilified and marginalized. Yet we still stood strong and never wavered. We withstood all peer and public pressure, because we knew the truth. Armed with passion and the facts, we never backed down. All for MJ. I’m so proud of us.”
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