Following the controversial premier of HBO’s Finding Neverland, a documentary that alleges Michael Jackson as a child molester, the Children’s Museum of Indianapolis has removed a pair of items belonging to the King of Pop from the display, citing that it is no longer “appropriate to be [displayed].”
The removed items include Jackson’s iconic gloves and fedoras, purchased at auction in 2017, as well as an autographed Michael Jackson poster that remained to be on display in the museum until this month, when curators at the museum decided to remove the items in the wake of the allegations against Jackson in the HBO’s Finding Neverland.
“When we put together exhibitions, we look at the objects and their association with high-profile people. Obviously, we want to put stories in front of our visitors (showing) people of high character,” the museum’s director of collections Chris Carron said in an interview.
“When you learn new stories, or you look at something historical in a different way, then sometimes we re-evaluate whether that’s appropriate to be (on display).”
According to a Rolling Stone feature on Michael Jackson, he “visited the museum in 1990, around the same time he befriended an Indianapolis teenager named Ryan White who was diagnosed with HIV following a blood transfusion. When White died that year, Jackson attended the funeral.”
FINDING NEVERLAND AND THE ALLEGED SEXUAL ABUSE
The decision of the museum to remove Jackson’s memorabilia on display follows the controversial premiere of Finding Neverland, and interview docu-series featuring the alleged victims of Jackson’s molestation. The first part of the docu-movie revolves around Wade Robson and James Safechuck who claimed to have been systematically and sexually abused by the late famous pop star. The two said that they met Michael Jackson when they were child dancers, and he groomed them with particular measures so nobody would know the sexual abuse.
“He would run drills with me where, you’d be in the hotel room, and he would pretend like somebody was coming in, and you had to get dressed as fast as possible without making noise,” Safechuck said. “So not getting caught was a big, like, just kind of fundamental. It was very much a secret, and he would tell me that if anybody found out, his life would be over and my life would be over.”
“He was one of the kindest, most gentle, loving, caring people I knew. He helped me … tremendously. He helped me with my career. He helped me with my creativity, with all of those sorts of things. And he also sexually abused me. For seven years,” Robson stated.
Safechuck and Robson both allege that Jackson’s sexual abuse spanned several years, up until they were teenagers. Safechuck also said he felt Jackson separated him from his family. “At the same time the sexual relationship is growing, he’s working on pushing you away from your parents,” Safechuck said. “Or pushing you away from everybody else, and … and it feels more like … like it’s just you and him.”
The documentary also accused the clandestine relationship between Jackson and Brett Barnes as well as with Macaulay Culkin – who both denied the allegations and have publicly defended the late King of Pop from any wrongdoings. The accusation was later denied by Barnes.
BACKLASH AGAINST MJ
While the backlash against Jackson was not as strong as that against R.Kelly and Bill Cosby, who are also facing allegations of sexual abuse, there has been some fallout from the docu-series: The Simpsons pulled an episode that was supposed to feature a character voiced by Jackson from syndication in light of the allegations thrown against the famous pop singer by Robson and Safechuck.
“It feels clearly the only choice to make,” the animated show’s longtime producer James L. Brooks said. “The documentary gave evidence of monstrous behavior.”
JACKSON’S ESTATE FILED A LAWSUIT TO STOP THE PREMIERE OF LEAVING NEVERLAND
Before the movie was aired by HBO, Jackson’s estate attempted to halt the premiere of Finding Neverland by filing a multi-million dollar lawsuit against the producers and HBO. Michael Jackson’s estate filed a $100 million lawsuit against HBO on late February over plans to air a documentary that accuses the late singer of sexually abusing two young boys.
The 53-page lawsuit, filed in Los Angeles Superior Court, claims that HBO was violating “non-disparagement” agreement by airing “Leaving Neverland,” which premiered at the Sundance Film Festival this year.
“Michael Jackson is innocent. Period,” the suit says. “In 2005, Michael Jackson was subjected to a trial — where rules of evidence and law were applied before a neutral judge and jury and where both sides were heard –, and he was exonerated by a sophisticated jury.”
“Ten years after his passing, there are still those out to profit from his enormous worldwide success and take advantage of his eccentricities,” it adds.
According to the lawsuit, HBO signed non-disparagement provisions that prevent the streaming service from harming Jackson’s reputation, to air a concert in Bucharest from Jackson’s “Dangerous” world tour in 1992.
“In violation of both basic norms of documentary journalism and the explicit terms of the agreement, HBO has disparaged Jackson’s legacy by airing a one-sided hit piece against Jackson based exclusively on the false accounts of two proven, serial perjurers,” the suit states.
The suit requests the court to compel HBO to take part in a non-confidential arbitration that could cost the company $100 million if found liable.
The King of Pop, who died on June 25, 2009, after being administered with an overdose of propofol, has been surrounded by allegations of sexual assault and child sex abuse during his entire career.
Jackson was acquitted on 2005 from a sexual assault charge, and he also paid a $15 million court settlement in 1994 over allegations involving another child. /apr