Michael Jackson’s Family Reacts to ‘Leaving Neverland’ Claims: ‘His Naiveté Was His Downfall’

Jackson Family CBS This Morning
CREDIT: COURTESY OF CBS

Jackie Jackson: No! I know my brother. He’s my little brother – AIWA! NO!

MARGEAUX SIPPELLVARIETY|In their first television interview since the HBO documentary “Leaving Neverland” debuted at the Sundance Film Festival, Tito, Marlon, Jackie and Taj Jackson are advocating for Michael Jackson’s innocence.

As part of a two-part interview special, the Jackson family sat down with Gayle King on “CBS This Morning” to respond to claims that Jackson sexually abused young children at his Neverland Ranch. Following the airing of the Jackson’s interview on Wednesday, Wade Robson and James Safechuck, the two men involved in Jackson’s 2005 trial and the subjects of the HBO documentary, will share their side of the story in an interview with King set to air on Thursday.

Since the documentary debuted at Sundance last month, the Jackson family has spoken out against the film, calling it “a public lynching.” The Jackson estate also released a formal statement referring to the movie as “a one-sided marathon of unvetted propaganda to shamelessly exploit an innocent man no longer here to defend himself.”

None of the Jacksons who sat for the interview have watched the documentary, they said in a clip of the interview released on Tuesday. “I trust my attorney,” Marlon said.

Asked if they ever found it odd that Jackson shared a bed and took part in slumber parties with young children, the family explained their reasoning for defending the late pop star.

“No. I know my brother. He’s my little brother. I know my brother. He’s not like that,” Jackie said.

WATCH: @GayleKing asks @JackieJackson5 why he doesn’t intend to watch the #LeavingNeverland documentary.

“He’s my little brother. I know my brother. He’s not like that.” https://cbsn.ws/2U8aJJG 759:09 PM – Feb 26, 201978 people are talking about thisTwitter Ads info and privacy

Jackson’s nephew Taj, who claims to have been present at many of Jackson’s sleepovers as a child, said there was never ill intentions and that Jackson’s own kids were often present.

“I grew up in it, so for me it wasn’t odd,” he said. “To the outside world, yes, I think it can be odd. I mean, I’m not oblivious to what it sounds like. But when you’re actually there in that atmosphere and you’re around it, and you’re watching movies, whether, with his kids, whether it’s ‘Little Rascals’ or ‘Three Stooges,’ and you’re watching these things, it’s like, it’s very innocent.”

Taj went on to defend his uncle further, saying, “I think the fault on my uncle was he just, he didn’t have that bone in his body to look at it the other way. And I think that was the thing, is that his naiveté was his downfall in a way.”

Last week, the Jackson estate sued HBO on grounds that the studio is in violation of a non-disparagement clause that was present in previous TV specials about Jackson. HBO has said its plans to air the documentary have not changed.

In the years since the original trial, both Robson and Safechuck have also brought lawsuits against the Jackson estate on the grounds that they were forced into lying under oath by the Jackson family — but both cases were thrown out due to the statute of limitations. They are both currently seeking appeals.

The Jackson family claims that Safechuck and Robson are coming forward for money.

“It’s always been about money,” Taj said. “I hate to say it: when it’s my uncle, it’s almost like they see a blank check.”

Marlon Jackson said the documentary “is not telling the truth,” adding that “there has not been not one piece of evidence that corroborates their story.”

Leaving Neverland” is slated to air in two parts on March 3 and 4 on HBO.

What do you want to say about your brother as #LeavingNeverland is about to hit the country?

“I want them to understand and know that this documentary is not telling the truth. There has not been not one piece of evidence that corroborates their story.” — Marlon Jackson.

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Singer R Kelly has been charged on Friday with 10 counts of aggravated criminal sexual abuse, some involving underage victims, US media report

Decades of investigative reporting couldn’t touch R. Kelly. It took a Lifetime TV series and a hashtag


R. Kelly leaves jail in Chicago after posting bond. He faces 10 counts of aggravated sexual abuse. (Scott Olson/Getty Images)

What took so long?

Margaret Sullivan
Margaret Sullivan

By Margaret Sullivan, Media columnist

The Chicago Sun-Times reported on him — for many years. Later, so did BuzzFeed News. And The Washington Post.

But R&B superstar R. Kelly seemed immune to the explosive charges that he had sexually abused teenage girls, keeping them like sex slaves in a cultlike setting where they had to ask permission to use the bathroom, often trapped by nondisclosure agreements.

Then came last month’s six-part documentary series on Lifetime, “Surviving R. Kelly.” Woman after woman faced the camera to tell her harrowing story.

And suddenly, the walls surrounding the superstar began to tumble down, as a nation of disgusted viewers turned on him, using the hashtag #MuteRKelly — which had originated in 2017 but now found a whole new life.

Last year, the streaming music service Spotify had stopped featuring his music. But now, after the Lifetime series, something much bigger happened: His record label, RCA, dropped him.

And Monday, stunningly, the Grammy-winning singer wore an orange prison jumpsuit for a hearing in a Chicago courtroom after spending the weekend in custody. He had been arrested Friday on 10 counts of aggravated sexual abuse. Of the four alleged victims, three were minors.

Kelly, who has denied the charges, called the accusers liars and even (last year, through his management ) referred to the “attempted lynching of a black man who has made extraordinary contributions to our culture.”

But there seems to be no going back now to his long-protected career.

“I honestly feel zero satisfaction,” said Jim DeRogatis, 54, the former music critic of the Chicago Sun-Times who first wrote about Kelly-as-predator in late 2000 and has been doggedly pursuing the story ever since.

DeRogatis told me by phone Monday that, despite his 18 years of reporting on Kelly, even he was late to it, since he believes Kelly’s abuses date back almost three decades.

“All of the systems failed — journalism failed, the police failed, the courts failed, the music industry failed, parents failed,” he said.

So, why did it take so long? And why did a Lifetime docuseries break through when traditional investigative journalism couldn’t?

There’s no simple answer. Part of it is that, after the #MeToo movement swept through the media and entertainment industries in 2017, time ran out for Kelly.

In 2017, Kenyette Barnes and Oronike Odeleye founded the #MuteRKelly movement, pressuring the music industry to stop giving Kelly the star treatment that had shielded him.

“It’s his money, it’s his wealth, it’s his notoriety, it’s all the connections that he has in the entertainment industry that make it hard for victims to successfully prosecute him,” Odeleye told NPR last year.

If the money dries up, their thinking went, he becomes more susceptible to justice.

Because of #MeToo, women are more likely to be believed, even the young black women who so often and so tragically are doubted, discounted and discarded as unimportant.
They are, more and more, understood to be the victims of “rape culture” — the disgusting but pervasive notion that sexual violence is something to be normalized and trivialized.

But some of what has happened was simply the power of how the story was told in the TV series, and whom it reached — a younger, more diverse audience than that of traditional journalism, told in text, whether on newsprint or online.

“The series was like a six-hour version of the New York magazine cover on Bill Cosby,” DeRogatis told me. “It had that kind of impact.”

He gives executive producer, dream hampton, much of the credit for that, and she in turn has credited his reporting. (Rogatis’s book, “Soulless: The Case Against R. Kelly,” will be published in June; he has been reporting, most recently, for the New Yorker magazine.)

Because of the simple power of the storytelling, he said, “the women were the stars — they showed their pain.”

As the series aired, the outrage was visceral. But even for hampton, seeing Kelly charged was beyond her imagining.

“I quite honestly didn’t think we’d be here,” she said Monday on “CBS This Morning.”

Kelly, who was brought up in the Chicago projects and who illegally married the 15-year-old Aaliyah in 1994, has prevailed in court before.

In 2002, he was charged with child pornography after prosecutors charged that a videotape showed him having sex with a 14-year-old girl. But he was acquitted six years later when she declined to testify.

Much has changed since then.

But, as DeRogatis points out, that will be small comfort for the vast number of Kelly’s alleged victims

“Whatever happens now,” he said, “it’s too little, too late for these women to regain their lives.”

That’s true. And it’s beyond sad.

But, thanks to a powerful TV series and the bravery of women willing to tell their truths, it’s far more likely now that some kind of justice will be done.

For more by Margaret Sullivan visit wapo.st/sullivan

Top Catholic cardinal admits church destroyed documents on clergy sexual abuse

Germany top Catholic cardinal admits church destroyed documents on clergy sexual abuse

Catholic News Agency
Cardinal Archbishop Reinhard Marx of Munich and Freising, in Rome March 12, 2013.
Catholic News AgencyCardinal Archbishop Reinhard Marx of Munich and Freising, in Rome March 12, 2013.

Catholic cardinal: Potential proof of abuse destroyed – Daniel Burke and Rosa Flores, CNN (AIWA! NO!)

Rome (CNN)In a remarkable admission, German Cardinal Reinhard Marx said Saturday that documents that could have contained proof of clergy sexual abuse in the Catholic Church were destroyed or never drawn up.

“Files that could have documented the terrible deeds and named those responsible were destroyed or not even created,” said Marx, the archbishop of Munich and president of the German Bishops’ Conference.”

The stipulated procedures and processes for the prosecution offences were deliberately not complied with,” he added, “but instead cancelled and overridden.

“Such standard practices will make it clear that it is not transparency which damages the church, but rather the acts of abuse committed, the lack of transparency, or the ensuing coverup.”

Marx’s stunning admission came on the third day of a historic Vatican summit focused on combating clergy sexual abuse. The day’s theme was transparency, which Marx said could help to tackle abuse of power. A member of Pope Francis’ inner circle of advisers, Marx is one of the most powerful men in the Catholic Church.

The four-day summit of 190 Catholic leaders, including 114 bishops from around the world, will conclude Sunday with an address by Pope Francis. On Thursday, at the beginning of the unprecedented summit, Francis urged the bishops to take “concrete measures” to combat the clergy abuse scandal.

At a press conference later Saturday, Marx said that the information about destroying files came from a study commissioned by German bishops in 2014. The study was “scientific” and did not name the particular church leaders or dioceses in Germany that destroyed the files.”

The study indicates that some documents were manipulated or did not contain what they should have contained,” Marx said. “The fact in itself cannot be denied.”Marx said he doubts the destruction of files related to clergy sexual abuse was limited to one diocese.”I assume Germany is not an isolated case.”

The report commissioned by the German bishops also revealed that “at least” 3,677 cases of child sex abuse by German clergy occurred between 1946 and 2014.

CNN’s Lauren Said-Moorhouse and Livvy Doherty contributed to this report.

Opening summit, Pope urges ‘concrete, effective measures’ on abuse

ROME: Has The Vatican finally find its divine moral voice? Pope Francis resolves cleaning up the clergy sex abuse infested church

Will Vatican snatch defeat from jaws of victory at anti-abuse summit?

Cardinal Jean-Claude Hollerich, right, leaves at the end of the first day of a sex abuse summit within the Catholic Church at the Vatican, Thursday, Feb. 19, 2019. (Credit: Giuseppe Lami/ANSA via AP.)

Will Vatican snatch defeat from jaws of victory at anti-abuse summit? – John L. Allen Jr., EDITOR, CRUX

Jezebel
Catholic Church Leaders in Pennsylvania Hid Child Sexual Abuse for 70 Years

Jezebel, Catholic Church Leaders in Pennsylvania Hid Child Sexual Abuse for 70 Years

ROME (AIWA! NO!) – Over the years, the Vatican has demonstrated a fairly remarkable capacity from a PR point of view to snatch defeat from the jaws of victory – striving to offer the world good news about the pope and the Church, only to find a way to step on that story and turn it into something else.

One thinks, for instance, about a wave of sexual abuse scandals that swept Ireland and then much of Europe in 2009 and 2010, which actually triggered real reform in Catholicism and revealed Pope Benedict XVI as an honest-to-God change agent.

Nevertheless, that storyline was basically hijacked when Italian Cardinal Angelo Sodano, the Vatican’s former Secretary of State and Dean of the College of Cardinals, called the complaints of abuse survivors “petty gossip” during an Easter Sunday homily.

It’s still early in the game, but there have already been hints during this week’s high-profile summit on clerical sexual abuse that the Vatican may find ways to take our eyes off the prize this time too.

To begin with, despite efforts in the run-up to this gathering of presidents of bishops’ conferences from around the world to lower expectations – or, as Pope Francis himself put it, to “deflate” expectations – the Vatican certainly isn’t treating this as business as usual. They’re offering daily briefings with A-list personalities, livestreaming much of the proceedings, and issuing most materials in multiple languages.

Vatican officials are investing that much energy, obviously, because they think this is a big deal – a sign of seriousness and resolve about cleaning up the mess caused by the abuse crisis, and therefore an event that ought to put the Church in a positive light.

Yet there have also been hiccups, some of which could metastasize into real distractions.

For instance, earlier this week the Vatican Press Office issued a “media kit” for coverage of the summit, which included a timeline on the abuse scandals. When the Italian version of that kit was released electronically on Wednesday, it included a reference to the criminal conviction of a senior Church official for sexual abuse that’s actually still covered by a judicial gag order in the country in which the trial took place.

Asked about it by reporters, a flummoxed spokesperson said that the media kit couldn’t be taken as an “official position” of the Vatican – as if anyone had ever asked what the Vatican’s “position” was on a point of fact rather than Church teaching – and also insisted that the Vatican had no intention of defying the gag order, despite the fact that was self-evidently what they had just done.

Very quickly, that item was redacted in the electronic edition of the media kit, eliminating any reference to the conviction. On that front the Vatican largely managed to dodge the bullet, since no one really picked up on the brief-lived faux pas.

Seemingly more serious was a series of 21 “points of reflection” the Vatican released on Thursday, described as things Francis wants the assembled bishops to think about based on input from “various episcopal commissions and conferences.”

Two points caused immediate consternation, especially among abuse survivors on hand in Rome.

One point read, “The principle of the presumption of innocence in natural and canon law must also be safeguarded until there is proof of the guilt of the accused,” recommending, therefore, against release of the names of priests accused of sexual abuse ahead of a “definitive condemnation.”

The document said it was “necessary to prevent” the publication of such lists, “even by dioceses.” If taken seriously, that could invalidate the practice in most American dioceses of releasing names when an accusation is found to be credible, even if a final verdict either hasn’t yet been reached or a legal proceeding isn’t possible.

In fairness, Francis did say these were only things to think about, not intended to “detract from the creativity needed in this meeting.” In fairness, too, Archbishop Charles Scicluna of Malta, a former Vatican prosecutor on sex abuse crimes, said Thursday that in his view releasing the names of priests facing “credible” accusations is fine, as long as it’s done responsibly.

Still, the whole idea of restricting the information flow probably won’t sit well with survivors, who generally want the Church to provide more data on accused priests rather than less. For instance, survivor Peter Isley with the activist group “Ending Clergy Abuse” complained Thursday about a lack of information as to how the pope is handling roughly 4,000 cases currently awaiting judgment at the Vatican’s Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith.

“What is he doing with them?” Isley wanted to know. “How come we don’t know who these individuals are?”

Another of the “points of reflection” concerned punishments abuser-priests ought to receive, recommending respect for “the traditional principle of proportionality of punishment with respect to the crime committed.”

To some observers, that line sounded like hesitance about defrocking all priests who sexually abuse minors, which has become more or less the standard sanction in such cases. Once again, in fairness the document also called on Church leaders to “decide that priests and bishops guilty of sexual abuse of minors leave public ministry,” but that’s not quite the same thing.

In all honesty, it’s unlikely thorny issues such as these will be taken up at this week’s summit, and it certainly is true that the very act of calling such a meeting represents a step forward – perhaps especially so for the Church in parts of the world where the abuse scandals have not yet erupted, whose bishops will at least go home with a grudging realization that they’re expected to act.

One wonders, however, if that good news story will have much traction at the end of the week, if the Vatican keeps finding other, and less flattering, narratives for enterprising journalists to pursue.

“This is a bipartisan push. People understand - religious people, individuals who may not always be in the LGBTI fight - they understand that criminalizing homosexuality is absolutely wrong,” Mr Grenell said. “It is unbelievable to believe that in today’s world a 32-year-old man in Iran can be hanged simply for being gay,” he added, in reference to the alleged execution of a man on anti-gay and kidnapping charges. US officials told NBC News that the campaign is in part aimed at denouncing Iran over its human rights record, adding that the US government would likely work with international organisations including the United Nations and the European Union to put pressue on the 71 countries that still penalise homosexuality.

Trump unaware about his own administration’s plan to decriminalize homosexuality around the world

Richard Grenell, US ambassador to Germany, with German Chancellor Angela Merkel in July 2018.Sean Gallup/Getty Images
Richard Grenell, US ambassador to Germany, with German Chancellor Angela Merkel in July 2018.Sean Gallup/Getty Images

Homosexuality is still illegal in nearly 40% of countries in the United Nations, while being gay is punishable by death in a number of US-allied countries, such as Saudi Arabia.

  • Donald Trump appeared unaware of his own administration’s plans to push for global decriminalization of homosexuality.
  • When asked about it by a reporter on Wednesday, Trump said: “I don’t know which report you’re talking about. We have many reports.”
  • NBC News reported the White House’s plans to campaign for a change in laws in dozens of countries where it is illegal to be gay.
  • LGBT activists have expressed skepticism of the campaign in light of Trump’s policies in the US, which have appeared to be anti-LGBT.

AIWA! NO!|US President Donald Trump seemed unaware of his own administration’s plans to end the criminalization of homosexuality around the world when asked about it on Wednesday.

Following reports that the Trump administration will launch a global campaign to end the criminalization of homosexuality, a reporter asked Trump in the Oval Office: “Mr. President, on your push to decriminalize homosexuality, are you doing that? And why?”Trump asked the reporter to repeat the question, and then said: “I don’t know which report you’re talking about. We have many reports.”

NBC News reported on Tuesday that the Trump White House would campaign for a change in laws in dozens of countries where it is illegal to be gay, citing administration officials.

The campaign is aimed in part at denouncing Iran’s human rights record, NBC News said.

Richard Grenell, the US ambassador to Germany, who is openly gay, plans to lead the campaign and discussed the effort with a dozen LGBTQ activists from around Europe at a dinner in Berlin on Tuesday night, The New York Times reported.

But the Times noted that the State Department in Washington has not announced a new global campaign, making it unclear how official or powerful the ambassador’s plan is, or how it differs from current US policy.In an interview with NBC News, Grenell said that the effort would be much broader than putting pressure on Iran. “This is not just about Iran,” he said. “This is about 71 countries, and Iran is one of them.”

Homosexuality is still illegal in nearly 40% of countries in the United Nations, while being gay is punishable by death in a number of US-allied countries, such as Saudi Arabia. It is not clear how much pressure the US would put on these allies.

Read more: 10 maps show how different LGBTQ rights are around the world

Grenell said that the Trump administration has the backing of Republicans to lead the efforts.

LGBT activists have expressed skepticism of the campaign in light of Trump’s policies in the US.

The Gay & Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation (GLAAD) told NBC News: “We’d believe that the Trump administration will work to protect LGBTQ people around the world if they had not attacked LGBTQ people in the US over 90 times since taking office.”

While he campaigned on a platform of helping LGBT people, Trump has faced widespread criticism for moves like banning transgender service people from the military and for promoting anti-LGBT figures to key posts in his administration.

Transgender military ban protest
New Yorkers protest after President Donald Trump first suggested banning transgender people from military service in July 2017.Michael Nigro/Pacific Press/LightRocket via Getty Images

Stuart Milk, an LGBT activist and nephew of civil rights leader Harvey Milk, who was at Grenell’s dinner in Berlin, told NBC News that he would support any campaign for decriminalization but noted that it is “unique” to have a right-leaning administration “leading the charge on an issue that does make a difference in people’s lives.”

“My criticism of the Trump administration has been steady,” Milk said. “I have actually said that policies coming out of the White House and statements have been life-negating, not just for LGBT people but for many, many communities.”

“But when any administration does something right, we’re going to be there.”

Kyle Griffin@kylegriffin1

Q: Mr. President, on your push to decriminalize homosexuality, are you doing that? And why?

TRUMP: Say it?

Q: Your push to decriminalize homosexuality around the world.

TRUMP: I don’t know which report you’re talking about. We have many reports.

Via Yahoo News4,19611:10 PM – Feb 20, 20192,650 people are talking about this