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Madonna Suggests Michael Jackson Is ‘Innocent Until Proven Guilty’ Amid 'Leaving Neverland' Backlash
“I don’t have a lynch mob mentality,” the Material Girl said when asked about the molestation claims against her fellow pop star.
Add Madonna to the list of celebrities who have spoken out about Michael Jackson in recent months.
Child molestation allegations concerning the late King of Pop received renewed interest after the release of HBO’s “Leaving Neverland,” a two-part documentary that chronicles the stories of two men, James Safechuck and Wade Robson, who say that Jackson molested them as children.
The film has drawn both criticism and support. Madonna, who was friendly with Jackson before his death in 2009 and who called their 1991 trip to the Oscars the "best date ever" earlier this year, weighed in on the claims against him during a new interview with British Vogue.
The 60-year-old singer told the magazine that she hasn’t seen the documentary yet but will “get around to seeing it,” according to the Independent.
“I don’t have a lynch-mob mentality, so in my mind, people are innocent until proven guilty,” she continued.
She went on to relate the situation to her own experiences, commenting, “I’ve had a thousand accusations hurled at me that are not true. So my attitude when people tell me things about people is, ‘Can you prove it?'”
As for what she considers proof, she pointed to “people recounting actual events,” but added, “of course, people sometimes lie.”
“So I always say, ‘What’s the agenda? What do people want out of this? Are there people asking for money, is there some kind of extortion thing happening?’” she continued. “I would take all of those things into consideration.”
A number of celebrities have been vocal in their disapproval of the film, with producer Will.i.Am likening the film to a “smear campaign.” Former child star Aaron Carter initially took a similarly hard stance in support of Jackson, even stating that he wanted to punch Robson in the face, before walking back his claims last month and suggesting that he has his own “truth” to tell regarding Jackson.
Jackson was acquitted of child molestation charges in 2005, and maintained his innocence up until his death. After his passing, his family continues to defend his legacy, having most recently fired back at the claims laid out in HBO’s film by appearing in a “mini documentary” that challenges the accounts of Safechuck and Robson.
His estate has already filed a lawsuit against the network for airing the film – and allegedly disparaging Jackson - and Jackson’s three children are reportedly in the beginning stages of filing a suit against Safechuck and Robson specifically.