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HBO’s “Leaving Neverland” is continuing to spark furious debate online, this time with pop singer and former child star Aaron Carter wading in.
The network’s recently released two-part documentary chronicles the claims of Wade Robson and James Safechuck, who contend that late pop icon Michael Jackson repeatedly molested them during their childhoods. Jackson, who consistently denied ever abusing children before his death in 2009, was acquitted of child molestation charges in 2005, and his family continues to speak out in his defense amid the renewed attention.
Carter is the latest celeb to defend Jackson, commenting on the controversial documentary during an appearance on “TMZ Live” on Monday. He described the relationship he had with Jackson, who he said gave him encouraging career advice at 15, in positive light, recalling “having the time of [his] life” and later calling Robson out by name.
“I really idolized Michael the way you see Wade Robson and the other kid, whatever the hell his name is,” he said. “When I see someone that is like — ok, you’re a grown man and when Michael Jackson was alive, you are backing him, you are up his ass, you are kissing his ass, you are there to testify for him under oath, and then when he dies, you decide that’s a good time to come out? No, what you’re doing is, you’re actually stomping on an icon and a legend’s grave. You’re stomping on his grave.”
“I just feel like, why not do it when he was alive, man?” he continued. “Why not do it when he was being accused of all of these molestation charges? Why not do it then and actually indict a perpetrator?”
When asked if he believed that there was a chance that what Robson and Safechuck described could have happened, Carter replied, “Not based upon my experience. Because me staying with Michael Jackson, I hung out with Michael Jackson. I stayed in his house. I stayed in his bedroom. … I was 15.”
TMZ posted a screenshot of a tweet published earlier this month by an account with “Wade Robson” in the name that seems to bring Carter into the discussion. It reads, “I’m not alone, you ask @aaroncarter.”
Carter seemed to take great offense to the tweet, telling TMZ, “Wade, I’m very disappointed in, because I don’t understand. … And then he’s trying to tie my name into this sh-t? … I’m not that guy. I’m not the one. Like, I might be a pop singer, but I’m also from the f—king south. And you f—king come at me on some sour sh-t?”
“You’re lucky I got something to lose now, because I would punch you in your face. I would,” he said. “And then, maybe I’d ask you, ‘Are you telling the truth?’ But I’d punch you in your face first. Because what you’re doing is, you’re stomping on someone’s grave, someone who was there for you, taught you things, did all these kinds of things, and then you guys are sitting there, talking about how you were molested and all this stuff?”
“It’s hard for me to understand it. How am I supposed to understand it when my own personal experience with him was gentle and beautiful and loving and embracing and that was it?” he continued.
Robson’s attorney later confirmed to TMZ that the tweet Carter responded to was not actually written by his client, but was posted by a fake account, adding that Robson has become the victim of “several fraudulent postings and hackings” following the premiere of “Leaving Neverland.”
HBO’s controversial documentary has not only led to arguments online, but legal battles as well. The Jackson estate filed a lawsuit against the network last month, accusing them of violating a non-disparagement agreement from a decades-old contract by airing the documentary.
“I don’t feel that like there is anything I need to say to them except that I understand that it is really hard for them to believe,” he said. “Even though it happened to me I still couldn’t believe it and I couldn’t believe that what Michael did was a bad thing, so I understand.”
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