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Tuesday 21 May 2019

‘Master manipulator’ Michael Jackson groomed the world, accusers claim

James Safechuck and Wade Robson appeared on the Victoria Derbyshire show.

Michael Jackson is the subject of a new documentary (Rich Lee/PA)
Michael Jackson is the subject of a new documentary (Rich Lee/PA)

By Alex Green, Press Association Entertainment Reporter

Michael Jackson accuser James Safechuck claimed the late singer “groomed the world” as he accused the pop star of driving a wedge between his parents to isolate him.

Safechuck, who alongside Wade Robson is the subject of the documentary Leaving Neverland, said Jackson was “meticulous” in how he embedded himself into his family.

Describing the alleged abuse by Jackson during an appearance on the BBC’s Victoria Derbyshire show, Safechuck said the singer groomed not only him but his family and the wider public.

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Michael Jackson is the subject of a controversial documentary (Yui Mok/PA)

Robson, who also appeared on the show alongside the documentary’s director Dan Reed, called Jackson a “master manipulator”.

Leaving Neverland features both men’s testimonies and has provoked a furious reaction from the Jackson estate, which is suing HBO – the US TV channel that co-produced it alongside Channel 4.

Safechuck, 40, said: “There’s a long grooming process for Michael. He inserts himself into your family and becomes part of of your family.

“He grooms the children and grooms the parents as well.

“It’s a meticulous build-up for him to be able to do that and it takes him a while to build the trust. It doesn’t happen overnight.

“Not letting our parents off or saying it’s not their fault but I think people need to understand that it just doesn’t happen right away.

“He’s also a major star. People know him already. There are years of them feeling comfortable with this star that they have seen on TV.

“It shows how Michael groomed the world.”

Jackson’s brothers Tito, Marlon and Jackie, and his nephew Taj, have dismissed the allegations, saying the controversial programme is “all about the money”.

Robson, 36, said: “Most of the time it’s not the scary guy in the van in the alleyway.

“Of course, that happens sometimes but I think it is the minority of cases.

“Most of the time it’s the coach, the uncle, the teacher, the stepfather, the father, the mother, whatever.

“Somebody who is absolutely trusted, who has gained the trust of the child first and foremost, then the whole family. This was the case.

“Michael made sure from day one that he had a really special relationship with me, and that he had a really special separate relationship with my mother and with my sister and then my father.

“Right from day one, in an unnoticeable way, he started drawing this wedge between myself and my father, my mother and my father.

“He was just a master manipulator.”

The men later appeared in New York where they were interviewed by Oprah Winfrey following a screening of the documentary in front of 100 sex abuse survivors.

During the discussion, Robson revealed he had received a death threat on Thursday, saying: “I just received another death threat last night.”

Winfrey described child sex abuse as “a scourge on humanity” before warning the pair to expect further backlash in response to the film.

She asked them: “All the fans and the estate. You guys know you’re gonna get it, right? I’m gonna get it. Are you prepared for that?”

Two-part documentary Leaving Neverland is due to air on Channel 4 on March 6 and March 7.

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