The new HBO documentary “Leaving Neverland” is breathing new life into past child molestation accusations against the Michael Jackson, revealing that even some of the boys who once defended the singer are now claiming that they were in fact molested by him.
But what about the boys, now men, who still claim Jackson never did anything to them?
Brett Barnes is one such person. Back in 1993, he and Wade Robson, one of the two men at the heart of the new documentary, defended Jackson immediately after he was first was accused of molesting boys.
The first investigation started when Jordan "Jordy" Chandler, then 13, claimed that the “Thriller” singer molested him repeatedly, according to the lawsuit, later obtained and published by the Smoking Gun in 2003. According to the lawsuit, Chandler said he slept in the same bed as Jackson repeatedly and that Jackson molested him on several occasions.
Robson and Barnes both made media appearances to stand up for Jackson. Robson told CNN that he slept in bed with Jackson and that nothing happened. Barnes agreed.
“It’s this big bed … and I was on one side and he was on the other,” Barnes, then 11, said, according to the Daily Beast.
Barnes has maintained that nothing happened and he is not a fan of the upcoming documentary. He has taken to tweeting and retweeting negative comments about the upcoming HBO film, according to Vanity Fair.
“So people are getting their facts from a movie now?” he tweeted last month. “I wonder how they feel about the documentary showing the great alien invasion of ‘96. I think it was called Independence Day.”
Actor Macaulay Culkin also came to Jackson’s defense, both in the past and to this day. During Jackson’s 2005 trial for allegations that he molested then 13-year-old Gavin Arvizo, Culkin took the stand to call the allegations "absolutely ridiculous," CNN reported at the time. He testified that between the ages of 9 and 14 he slept in Jackson's bed a dozen or more times but maintained that nothing inappropriate happened.
"I've fallen asleep in the same bed with him," Culkin said. "I'd just flop down."
During cross-examination, Culkin maintained that he was never molested by the singer.
Watch The Jury Speaks: Michael Jackson on Oxygen, Saturday, March 9 at 9/8c
"I find that unlikely. I think I'd realize if something like that would be happening."
He defended the singer and said they had an understanding and a close but wholesome relationship.
Earlier this year, Culkin spoke publicly about his relationship with Jackson on the "Inside of You With Michael Rosenbaum" podcast. He called their relationship "mundane" and "so normal."
"I mean, at the end of the day, it's almost easy to try and say it was like weird or whatever, but it wasn't, because it made sense," Culkin said. "At the end of the day, we were friends."
Even though Robson defended Jackson publicly in 1993, and then again at Jackson's trial in 2005, he later changed his tune years later after he said he suffered two nervous breakdowns, one in 2011 and one in 2012, which he attributed to the alleged childhood abuse, according to the Los Angeles Times. He also claimed he had compartmentalized the trauma when he testified in favor of Jackson.
Jackson died in 2009.
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