Jackson family responds to 'Leaving Neverland' in 30-minute YouTube documentary

WATCH: 'Neverland Firsthand' provides a deep dive into HBO's viral Michael Jackson exposé.

In response to HBO’s Leaving Neverland — the four-hour Michael Jackson documentary that aims to expose the late King of Pop’s alleged sexual abuse crimes — comes Neverland Firsthand: Investigating the Michael Jackson Documentary.

The 30-minute response piece explores the accusations levelled against Jackson by alleged victims Wade Robson and James Safechuck but from a defensive standpoint that aims to refute those claims.

Leaving Neverland has been criticized harshly for its one-sided perspective, which is why Neverland Firsthand was created to “shed light on information that was excluded from HBO’s broadcast,” according to the film’s description on YouTube.

Through interviews conducted with individuals once close to Jackson — including his collaborators, employees and even some of his family members — the film provides a new outlook on the ongoing controversy.

The mini-documentary was shared to YouTube on March 30. It was directed by Eli Pedraza and produced by Liam McEwan, who serves also as the narrator and key interviewer.

Michael Jackson visits Disneyland Paris with some of his young friends. For his visit, Jackson had the park closed to the public so he and his guests could enjoy it in privacy.

Michael Jackson visits Disneyland Paris with some of his young friends. For his visit, Jackson had the park closed to the public so he and his guests could enjoy it in privacy.

Jacques Langevin/Sygma/Sygma via Getty Images

READ MORE: Michael Jackson sexual abuse allegations: A timeline

Brandi Jackson (Michael’s niece) was the first of the Jackson family members to appear in Neverland Firsthand.

She shared her side of the story, claiming that Robson was never sexually involved with her uncle. Robson came forward with allegations for the first time in 2013 after previously defending the Thriller singer against multiple allegations in the mid-1990s.

Brandi, 37, and Robson, 36, allegedly met when they were young children and spent a lot of time together in Neverland Ranch, Michael’s 2,800-acre home.

She claimed that she had dated Robson for seven years. He reportedly “developed a crush” and asked her to be his boyfriend after Michael “set them up.”

“He’s saying that he was in a relationship with my uncle, that they were in love and that they were having a relationship,” said Brandi during the interview.

“He’s saying that my uncle kept him from women, which is not true,” she claimed. “We were just talking about how my uncle put us together. It would discredit the things that he’s trying to claim, and I find it fascinating that he thinks he’s able to just erase 10 years of his life.”

“He has always been a bit of an opportunist,” she told McEwan before claiming that Robson’s allegations were made as an effort to make money.

“He knows how to position himself into different situations that will benefit him in a financial way,” she said.

In a statement posted to Billboard, Robson’s attorney Vince William Finaldi refuted Brandi’s claims.

“Ms. Jackson was not with Wade and Michael Jackson when the sexual abuse occurred,” Finaldi claimed. “She has nothing relevant to say about the topic.”

(L-R) Wade Robson, Dan Reed and James Safechuck pose for a portrait to promote the HBO/Channel 4 film Leaving Neverland at the Salesforce Music Lodge during the Sundance Film Festival in Park City, Utah.

(L-R) Wade Robson, Dan Reed and James Safechuck pose for a portrait to promote the HBO/Channel 4 film Leaving Neverland at the Salesforce Music Lodge during the Sundance Film Festival in Park City, Utah.

Taylor Jewell/Invision/AP, File

READ MORE: Aaron Carter calls out Wade Robson, defends Michael Jackson

Nephew Taj Jackson also stepped into the spotlight to defend his uncle once more.

“When you have a certain niceness, people take advantage of it,” he said, referring to the singer’s reportedly kindhearted nature towards children.

Taj also revealed recently that he had been present at a number of Jackson’s sleepovers when he was a child. He claimed Michael never had the capacity to see his actions in a sexual way and that it was all “very innocent.”

“My uncle didn’t have that bone in his body to look at it the other way,” he claimed. “I think that was the thing, that his naiveté was his downfall in a way.”

Taj further claimed the accusers only wanted money from the Jackson estate.

“It’s always been about the money,” he added.

“I hate to say it, but when it’s my uncle, it’s almost like they see a blank cheque.”

Michael Jackson waves to fans after he is found not guilty on all counts in his child molestation trial at the Santa Barbara County Courthouse June 13, 2005 in Santa Maria, Calif.

Michael Jackson waves to fans after he is found not guilty on all counts in his child molestation trial at the Santa Barbara County Courthouse June 13, 2005 in Santa Maria, Calif.

Win McNamee/Getty Images

READ MORE: Paris Jackson vaguely defends father, reacts to HBO’s ‘Leaving Neverland’

Although none of them have admitted to seeing the movie, various members of the Jackson family previously spoke out against Leaving Neverland in January, claiming it was “a public lynching” against the late singer.

“This documentary is not telling the truth. There has not been one piece of evidence that has corroborated their story,” claimed 61-year-old Marlon Jackson during an interview with CBS‘ Gayle King.

Since the Smooth Criminal singer first went on trial in 1993, his family has consistently defended him, claiming that he had no ill intentions with any of the children he befriended.

It wasn’t only Jackson’s family hoping to defend him, however. The singer’s longtime technical director, Brad Sundberg, spoke to McEwan in the film, claiming that nothing suspicious ever happened between Jackson and the children with whom he was involved.

“Not in a million years did I ever see a child around Michael Jackson that looked like they had been distressed, hurt or abused,” said Sundberg. “Neverland was such a peaceful, safe, fun place.”

Since the release of Neverland Firsthand, many have been questioning the authenticity of director Brad Reed‘s “one-sided” Leaving Neverland.

READ MORE: Michael Jackson fans furious with Oprah following ‘After Neverland,’ urge people to #MuteOprah

In addition to the handful of sexual abuse allegations made against Jackson, the premieres of Living with Michael Jackson (2003), Leaving Neverland and After Neverland have contributed to the dwindling of the pop star’s persona since 1993.

WATCH: A timeline of Michael Jackson’s sexual abuse allegations

Throughout his life, Jackson denied all sexual assault and abuse accusations. The singer was never found guilty of any crime in a court of law.

adam.wallis@globalnews.ca

© 2019 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.

You May Also Like

Top Stories