Sexual Misconduct Awareness-Raising Team (SMART)
As many have likely noticed, sexual misconduct allegations have become more prominent in the media. The good news is that survivors now feel more comfortable coming forward, in part due to the reinvigoration of the #MeToo movement. As a result, though, some of these big stories that we should be paying attention to are lost amongst the masses.
One of the most recent newsworthy events is the Jackson estate’s $100 million lawsuit against HBO for claiming that Michael Jackson sexually assaulted several boys in the documentary “Leaving Neverland.”
In short, several boys who had gotten close to Michael Jackson via contests or other means were sucked into his world. Often, their parents were bribed in some way to encourage keeping them close to Jackson but were not aware of what was happening to them. According to an intense article by “Vanity Fair” published March 1, “The young men who’ve sworn that Jackson showed them pornography, masturbated them or introduced them to sex when they were between the ages of seven and 12.”
Lots of evidence was presented at the time; the parents and kids came forward with what was going on, but Jackson silenced them with millions of dollars. Some of the evidence included graphic, intimate descriptions of Jackson’s body. Jackson also slept in the same bed as the boys frequently and stated that he believed that there was nothing wrong with that. Additionally, Jackson kept erotic material and pornographic magazines near the boys, and both Jackson’s and their fingerprints were found alongside each other. Two of the men who have come forward now were also part of a 2003 allegation and fought for Jackson, stating that he had not abused them. Now in 2019, they have come forward saying that he had, indeed, abused them. This change has led to assumptions being made about their honesty and questions concerning if they will have to go through civil procedure for lying under oath in 2003.
Despite all of the evidence, testimonies and lifelong trauma (not all of which was discussed above), the Jackson estate still filed an absurd lawsuit. All of this is worth looking into.
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This article was originally published in the March 8, 2019 issue.