Theater Review: “Never Ever Land” Explores the Michael Jackson Allegations Through a Problematic Lens

On October 27, 2019, in Los Angeles, I attended the final performance of the world premiere staging of the play “Never Ever Land”, written by Rider Strong, directed by Michael A. Shepperd, and produced by Andrew Carlberg. Several Michael Jackson fan community members were in attendance, including Charles Thomson (investigative reporter and Legal Correspondent for The MJCast), Angela Kande, “Square One” documentary creator Danny Wu, and others.

In the play’s press release, it is described as offering “a new perspective on one of the most notorious trials of all time, as well as our culture’s obsession with celebrity.” I was compelled by this, and very curious about how they would approach this issue, and what stance they would take regarding Michael Jackson.

While the play is based on the 1993 Jackson allegations, and the characters are representative of the members of the Chandler family, I want to emphasize that this is a fictional storyline. The facts about the family and the sequence of events are intentionally distorted. This is done, I assume, for the sake of artistic freedom, and perhaps also as protection from criticisms around accuracy–or lawsuits. And also because, ultimately, this play is not truly about Michael Jackson. (Except that it is also completely about him. I will explain my problems with this contradiction later.)

The show is, according to promotional materials, about the lasting effects on one family who has been “seduced by fame and greed”. Michael Jackson’s name is not uttered once through the entire production, though all transitional scenes use slightly warped, MIDI-style versions of Jackson songs, and he is referred to as “the White Whale” several times.

Looking at this play purely from a production standpoint, it has some merits: I found the acting to be powerful, and there was something compelling about the idea of a long-term implosion of family and identity because of the choices of the parents. However, I did not find the characters particularly sympathetic, even as the audience is supposed to connect with the trauma of the adult-version of the character based on Jordan Chandler, named here “Jacob Gable”.

The story alternates between two parallel timelines: We are taken back and forth between the ‘90s and a contemporary storyline set in 2012. I felt hopeful during the first half of the production, which focuses on how the parents fall into the world of celebrity. While they are pushing one son, “Tim”, to be in commercials and criticizing him for being overweight, they are pushing the other, “Jacob”, to secure a friendship with the unnamed, famous entertainer who never had a childhood. The mother is also trying to establish her own acting career, while the controlling, heavy-drinking, rage-filled dentist father is peddling his screenplay.

Opening the play, and woven throughout it, is the 2012 story about the adult Tim, who is trying to get a job with a tabloid journalism company, which is based on TMZ. He claims that he has absolute proof that his brother lied about the allegations. As a Jackson fan, this is, of course, attention-grabbing. It seemed that the play was moving in the direction of casting doubt on the allegations as a whole.

However, the second half of the play takes a very different turn. It veers from the allegations (and avoids making any statement at all about them, which will frustrate most fans) and puts complete focus on how the family has been damaged. It becomes clear that Tim is selling his brother’s secrets as a means to have a career and, finally, a life of his own. Jacob, the character based on Jordan Chandler, clearly has massive personal problems as an adult, but the play leaves the audience in the dark about the source of his trauma. And, ultimately, Tim reveals that there may not be any deep, dark secret, after all.

Naturally, I wanted to understand the production’s stance on the allegations. That was not to be. And I can accept that. Art is, after all, about exploring ideas, evoking emotion, and encouraging discussion. It is certainly not obligated to give its audience a clear answer or opinion on any particular topic. That said, I felt abandoned by the second half of the play, and left adrift, with no real understanding of what I should be taking away from the story, especially after the high-stakes set-up in the first half. Perhaps if I had connected more with the characters, it would have been more effective. In that scenario, I can envision an ending in which I would have understood the legacy of damage set off by greedy parents and bad decisions, and could have even accepted that the production chooses to leave its representation of the allegations so ambiguous. Yet, as is, the story fizzles into nothing, and seems to lose its purpose.

But here are my two primary problems with the play:

(1) I dislike the fact that this production directly exploits Michael Jackson, using his traumatic experience for its own gains, while simultaneously refusing to comment on that situation. I simply don’t think that is right. The playwright, Rider Strong, states that this is “the story of how one family was seduced by fame and greed”—but what does that mean, in this context? What is Strong really trying to say here? Ultimately, this just feels like Jackson being used all over again.

(2) Playwright Strong also comments: “I wondered what it’s like to be known as the victim in a ridiculously famous lawsuit, especially if most people think you lied.” Common, mainstream (and uninformed) perception is that Michael Jackson settled in the ‘90s because he was guilty. Where is this idea coming from that most people think that Chandler lied? And does this mean that the underlying message of the play is really that Jackson was guilty, and the Chandler was, essentially, a double-victim? I’m left perplexed by this, and uncomfortable.

In the end, the simple truth is that I don’t know what to make of this play. It acts as if it wants to make a big statement, without making that statement. Really, I feel that this production is about the playwright’s own childhood. Strong was a child star in the ‘90s, best known for his role on “Boy Meets World”. I completely understand that he would want to explore the effects of that warped coming-of-age experience. That makes sense. But using Jackson as a vehicle is not appropriate or merited, in my view. It adds to the exact problem Strong claims he is addressing. And that simply feels wrong.

This world premiere run of “Never Ever Land” has ended, but you can learn more, including information about possible future performances here.

Article by Elise Capron.

Film Review: Danny Wu Goes Back to Square One with a Crucial Michael Jackson Allegations Documentary

“Square One” is the Michael Jackson documentary we need now.

It has been a tough year for the worldwide Michael Jackson fan community in the wake of “Leaving Neverland”. With celebrities like Oprah Winfrey hopping onto Dan Reed’s bandwagon, and almost all mainstream media purposely stifling any voice in protest of the film, or even any voice of reason, many fans have been left feeling hopeless. A select few podcasters, YouTubers, and media personalities have created great content countering “Leaving Neverland” but, as of yet, nothing has truly managed to get mainstream, lasting attention. And while the fan community awaits Taj Jackson’s docuseries (you can donate here), that project is still a long ways off.

But the tide may be changing. Just this month, three documentaries have been released in support of Michael Jackson (all of which The MJCast team discuss in #TheMJCastEp108): “Chase the Truth”, “Lies of Leaving Neverland”, and most importantly, in my view, “Square One”, by Danny Wu. After viewing the film at its premiere in Hollywood on September 28, 2019, I believe that Wu’s film has the potential to be a game-changer. It is the film we need in these times.

To give you some background on Danny Wu: Based in Vancouver, Canada, Wu is a YouTuber and up-and-coming filmmaker who grew up as an MJ fan, but who watched “Leaving Neverland” and was convinced of Jackson’s guilt. He decided to create a YouTube video presented as a compelling “Did he or didn’t he?” investigation. However, in the course of Wu’s extensive research, he realized that the facts didn’t add up, and that there could be no way that Michael Jackson was guilty of his accused crimes. Over this time, he interviewed Taj and Brandi Jackson and developed close ties with content creator Liam McEwen (who produced one of the first “Leaving Neverland” rebuttal videos, “Neverland Firsthand”). These relationships would solidify Wu’s support of Jackson’s innocence as well as his dedication to getting out the truth about the allegations. I want to emphasize that Wu “walks the walk”. His efforts are not motivated by money or attention-seeking. In fact, he has donated all of his YouTube revenue from his Jackson-related videos to Taj Jackson’s docuseries, and he self-funded “Square One”. When we interviewed him on The MJCast, he specifically recommended that anyone who wants to donate to him should give their money to Taj Jackson instead.

One might have assumed that Wu would create a film examining the lies in “Leaving Neverland”, since that has been the big focus of this year. But he took a different approach. Wu saw a video of Jackson’s 2005 defense lawyer, Tom Mesereau, in which he spoke about how, if Jordan Chandler had been called to speak in that trial, there would have been a line-up of Chandler’s friends ready to tell the opposite story. Inspired by this idea, Wu decided that he needed to find one of these friends who would be willing to speak publicly. And, in doing so, he could potentially take every allegation “back to square one”, where it all started. By focusing on the 1993 allegations and the Chandler family, he could expose the lies at their root.

With this context in mind, it was with great hope that I attended the film’s premiere on September 28, held at Grauman’s Chinese Theatre in Hollywood. It was hard to know what to expect for this event. Would the fans turn out? Would the film succeed in its goals? Wonderfully, Danny Wu’s “Square One” premiere was a night to remember, when the fan community came together to support a superb film that I believe will make a real difference. In attendance were all the stars of the film, including Danny Wu, Taj Jackson, Charles Thomson (investigative journalist and Legal Correspondent for The MJCast), Jenny Winings, Geraldine Hughes, and Josephine Zohny, who knew Jordan Chandler in college, had been on the 2005 trial witness list, and whose experiences with Chandler frame the film’s narrative. (More on that later.) The rest of the attendees represented a “who’s who” of the MJ community. It was an exciting, inspiring, and dynamic evening. Guest highlights included Tom Mesereau, Liam McEwan, John Ziegler, Tommy Organ, Thayana Sco Jackson, Edwin Costa (of @edwinsgeneration), filmmaker and podcaster Adam Green, actress Lori Petty, and many more. Fans had come from far and wide, with a few attendees flying from China for the event. There was a great energy, buzz, and a lot of love in the room in anticipation of the screening.

Now, onto the part you’re waiting for: So, how was the film?

“Square One” is a brilliant, professional, and entirely convincing film which will, in my view, speak both to fans and to a mainstream audience. When non-fans, or even casual fans, have asked me this year how to address the questions brought up by “Leaving Neverland”, I have found myself pointing to a lot of different resources, but they are typically overflowing with far more information than the average person is willing to sort through. Enter “Square One”, which is now the film to which I will direct people to understand the 1993 allegations and everything that would come after. The way in which it walks the viewer through a complex set of circumstances is impeccable: easy to absorb, concise, grounded in facts, and it lays the groundwork for precisely why things happened as they did, and how the 1993 allegations would set the stage for the Arvizo trial, Robson, Safechuck, and more. As Josephine Zohny says in the film, “Every allegation is built on the ’93 allegations”. By understanding the chain of events involving the Chandler family, the spider web of misfortunes that plagued Michael Jackson throughout the rest of his life are illuminated.

The structure of the film: First, I want to make clear that there are no surprise bombshells in this film. Serious fans will know this information already. (Though, for casual fans or non-fans, most of the facts presented in this film will be new and, I imagine, revelatory.) Its value is not in making new claims, but in presenting the information in the clearest way imaginable, and in doing so with authority. The film is framed by Zohny’s experiences with Jordan Chandler, with powerful interviews with Taj Jackson, Jenny Winings (who, like Zohny, was on the 2005 trial witness list), and Geraldine Hughes woven throughout the narrative. Caroline Fristedt also appears a few times, if briefly, and some archival audio from “Big Al” Scanlan is included. Danny Wu appears in the film to move the story along at certain points, though it is really Charles Thomson who serves as the film’s primary narrator. (It is worth noting that Thomson did not go into this project realizing that his interview would become so key to the film, and it is a testament to his encyclopedic mastery of this chronology that he can provide such a perfect explanation of the chain of events in two unscripted interviews.) Thomson essentially walks us through every step of the 1993 allegations, with the other interviewees highlighting key moments. The rest of the film is primarily made up of archival audio, video, articles and legal documents, which are all well-presented and well-edited. There is no feeling of a passionate “fan-made defense video” here. The information is serious, journalistic, grounded and credible. I particularly appreciate that the film immediately opens by clarifying a few major questions which seem to eternally emerge up in the Jackson allegation conversation: No child pornography was ever found at Neverland, and nothing was ever discovered during the extended, off-and-on investigation of Jackson by the FBI. The actual chronology of the film walks us through the history of the Chandler family, with a particular focus, of course, on Evan Chandler, and his growing rage. It establishes perfectly the sequence of events leading to Chandler’s extortion of Jackson and why Chandler filed a criminal report, when he clearly had had no intention of alerting authorities regarding the supposed abuse of his child. The film makes very clear, as well, why Jackson settled, and how this settlement never voided the possibility of a criminal trial if there had been any evidence to do so. Wu also addresses and clarifies La Toya Jackson’s support (at the time) of the allegations, Victor Gutierrez and Rodney Allen’s role in the fiasco, and concludes with a short section touching on the Arvizo case. The film’s greatest accomplishment is to put all these puzzle pieces together in a way that any viewer can comprehend. Once set in place, there is a sense of crystal-clear understanding that, as Geraldine Hughes says, “Michael Jackson was the victim of an elaborate extortion scheme which launched the allegations.”

Why Josephine Zohny? Zohny has been unfairly criticized by some people online, saying that she is not a credible source. I completely disagree with this. She, along with Jenny Winings, were on the 2005 trial witness list, and would have been part of that trial if Chandler had been brought into the case. Also, Zohny is not motivated by anything but telling the truth: She gave one statement when she was put on the 2005 witness list, but has never spoken publicly about her experiences otherwise. She has never sold her story, nor has she told conflicting or exaggerated tales. And, while it’s true that she was not a close friend of Chandler’s, just an acquaintance, she had interactions with him on multiple occasions when they were classmates together at NYU, and heard him make statements specifically related to Jackson. According to her, Chandler surrounded himself with MJ memorabilia and fan friends, and, upon the release of Martin Bashir’s “Living with Michael Jackson”, Chandler stated, in front of multiple witnesses, that Jackson was “not capable of the things he was being accused of”. In sum, Zohny has put herself in the spotlight at personal risk (she has had to deal with internet trolls and her professional website being hacked) in order to defend Michael Jackson, and I have absolutely no doubt that viewers will find her story compelling and credible.

The minuses: I have very few critiques of this film, which I hope will be widely shared across the global MJ fan community and far beyond, except to point out that it could have benefited from a bit more editing. Wu created “Square One” in just a couple of months, which is deeply impressive, so I am perfectly willing to excuse any slight imperfections. I personally wish that Charles Thomson’s narration wasn’t via a sometimes-crackly speakerphone, for example, but that is a small complaint. So many long-time fans have spent years exploring the issues around the Jackson allegations, but no one has managed to create anything quite like this, and I encourage every Jackson fan to come together to support this film in whatever way we can.

I’ll conclude with a few words from Tom Mesereau, who was interviewed by John Ziegler immediately after the film premiere:

“It’s a fabulous film. It is high quality. It was carefully investigated. It was condensed in a very professional attempt to find the truth, and it tells the truth. Michael Jackson was not a pedophile. He never should have been put through what he was put through, starting with the case in ’92-’93. And I commend Danny Wu and all of his people for the fabulous job they did, and I can’t wait to hear this circulating through society, because we live in very, very biased, troubled times. Michael Jackson was never a pedophile, never should have been accused as such, and his life was destroyed by greed, by people without integrity, by people without a conscience. This film starts the road back from some of the recent developments, which have been very troubling. [Wu] did a tremendous job in showing the truth.”

Let’s gather as a community to support this film and other quality content being released in Michael Jackson’s defense. This is our moment.

How to watch “Square One”:

October 5, 2019: Worldwide debut of “Square One” on YouTube.

London premiere: UK residents can attend a screening of the film on October 5th in London. Danny Wu will be in attendance, and possibly other stars of the film. Information here.

Learn more:

The MJCast’s interview with Danny Wu.

Danny Wu’s TwitterInstagram and Facebook pages.

Other episodes from The MJCast related to the allegations:

Episode 108 – Back to Square One

Episode 103 – Vindication Day Special with Larry Nimmer

Episode 099 – Leaving Neverland Q&A

Episode 095 – Leaving Neverland Roundtable

Episode 081 – Vindication Day Special with Aphrodite Jones

Episode 058 – Vindication Day Special (Pirates in Neverland: The Michael Jackson Allegations)

Episode 033 – Vindication Day Special with Scott Ross

Article by Elise Capron.

Episode 099 – Leaving Neverland Q&A

As Leaving Neverland continues to reverberate through the Michael Jackson community, many questions have risen to the surface. In this special Q&A episode, Jamon Bull is honored to welcome two experts to the show to answer listener-submitted questions. The MJCast Legal Correspondent, Charles Thomson, along with author, journalist and Friend of the Show, Mike Smallcombe, have both been vital advocates for Jackson during this difficult time, appearing on television interviews as well as publishing articles to spread the truth about these accusations.

Charles and Mike cover a wide range of topics in this special discussion, ranging from the history of the 1993 and 2005 allegations, the facts about Robson’s and Safechuck’s interactions with Michael Jackson and the Jackson Estate, inconsistencies in the Leaving Neverland film, how things might play out with a possible appeal, the effects on Michael Jackson’s legacy, going forward, and much more.

The MJCast team appreciates the overwhelming response in preparation for this episode, which resulted in over 200 submitted questions. They also thank listeners for understanding that not each and every question could be addressed in detail, though they did their best to curate a list which covered all topics. The team hopes that the insights from this episode are helpful, both in terms of listeners’ own understanding of this situation, and in providing guidance and guidelines when speaking to those outside the fan community.

Participants

Questions

  1. Mercedes Donis (email) – General MJ. Negating the “predator profile.” Can you briefly outline all the differences between EACH accuser and how they show differences in MO?
  2. Elsa Anderson (Email) – The 1993 case settlement has sorts of two explanations. Could you shed some light on how they fit together or what is true? Explanation a)The insurance company paid against MJ’s will,which is supported by Mesereau and Scott Ross and was brought into the 2005 trial as a legal document. It’s said to be possible to go against the client’s will, when it’s litigation and the settlement of course was on the litigation charge. Explanation b) It was MJ’s legal team that, after not being able to postpone the civil trial (until after the eventual criminal trial) and especially after Mr. Cochran joined the team, talked MJ into settling and that Cochran made sure the insurance company would pay, before settling. This is supported by Geraldine Hughes – the legal secretary of Rothman and writer of the book Redemption, who also claims an insurance company can’t do anything against their client’s will. Only thing clear is that MJ’s, Cochran’s and Weitzman’s signatures are on the settlement, as leaked to the press, early on in the Arvizo case.
  3. @tafattsbarn (Twitter) – Can Thomson explain the alleged match of Jordan’s description of Jackson’s genitalia in 1993? People who believe MJ is guilty are now completely convinced the photos matched even though I know that the narrative before was that it didn’t match. They often reference Dr. Richard Strick and Gary Spiegel as people that confirmed it matched. Moreover, if it did match, then why did the prosecution try to enter it into evidence so late in 2005, only to be declined? Wouldn’t it have been incriminating and so they should’ve entered it earlier?
  4. @Devon_DaVinci (Twitter) – I know, I may be in the very small minority, but I feel kind of bad for Jordan Chandler. I know, hear me out. From all of the sources I have studied, which was a LOT. Jordan was dragged into the accusations by his parents and was influenced to stick to it. And even when he went with his dad’s team to meet with Michael and his team, Jordan was described running up to and hugging Michael as if nothing ever happened. After the case was settled he quickly cut contact with his family and I have heard that the main reason was because of what they did to his friendship with Michael. And Jordan has gone out of his way, even leaving the country, to not testify against Michael in court. I know he was barred from talking to the media so that’s why he never made a book or documentary. He was assaulted by his father around the same time he was being asked to go to testify in the 2005 trial. I heard a rumor that the two incidents may have been related. I know this is speculation but what if Jordan is just an MJ fan that go the chance of a lifetime to meet his idol and play and hang out with him, but due to corrupt parents was dragged into a situation that found him now against his Idol and hated by the community he wants to still be apart of? Before you ask, no I’m not Jordan Chandler, lol.
  5. @ZoroastersChild (Twitter): On Evan Chandler’s suicide, Geraldine Hughes had said in the Nicole’s View interview on YouTube that she believes he was murdered. Any thoughts on that?
  6. @ZoroastersChild (Twitter): Why isn’t Geraldine Hughes invited onto mainstream platforms to speak about the 1993 case?
  7. Domna Stavridou (email)- Hello Mike and Charles, thank you so much for doing this! You are such great people! I’m still stuck in something, which I can’t quite understand. Can you please explain once again, after the Martin Bashir documentary, why did Gavin Arvizo and his mother turn their backs on Michael? I still don’t get it. Did his mother force him into it (like Even Chandler did)? Or did they both develop hate? Did they want to destroy Michael just because they felt abandoned and wanted money? What was the reason again? Thank you so much, keep doing what you are going! Many regards from Greece, Domna Stavridou!
  8. @tafattsbarn (Twitter) – Is it true that two of the legal art books that were depicting nude boys were found in “a locked filing cabinet in Jackson’s bedroom” as stated by the prosecution and later during Rosibel Smith’s testimony (page 10 onwards)? It sounds pretty suspicious.
  9. Martina van der Linden (Facebook): I’d like to know how long Michael’s FBI investigation really was. There are many versions out, from 10 years to 12 years or even 17 years. I know Charles was one of the people who back in 2009 asked for those files to be released, so he might know more about this subject and what kind of investigations the FBI did. I think it’s important to know more about what type of investigations the FBI did in order to get your argument right in case you need it.
  10. Caroline Lewis (email) – Hi MJCast!I would love to hear Mike and Charles’ position on Jim Clemente. I’ve heard a few podcasts where he says things like Jordan and Gavin’s experiences completely corroborated; that a computer was seized at Neverland that had the drive completely wiped; and that Jordan was ready to testify at the 2005 trial against Michael. Jim said that Jordan didn’t due to a family illness but that Jordan wanted to pursue a criminal case against Michael if he was acquitted, but ultimate didn’t because of the statute of limitations. Are these points credible/verifiable? Why would a former FBI agent lie? Also are there no implications for him to be going on air discussing Michael molesting Gavin as if it’s fact, when Michael was acquitted of these charges – or do the same defamation laws apply? Thank you both for your hard and thorough work! Best wishes, Caroline.
  11. @deepika1038 (Twitter) – Can you tell us what are the inconsistencies between wades own court documents and his Leaving Neverland documentary? Now we know about grand canyon, is there anything else like that?
  12. @f861c5b3a4ea4f9 (Twitter) – Also, do you think all the family members are lying? The mothers and also the siblings and the grandmother too? Or are they being lied to too, so they’re reactions are real?
  13. @drhajarat (Twitter) – What is the real story about video of [Michael] in disguise shopping for a ring with the young James Safechuck?
  14. Debbii Longshaw (Facebook) – Do you think that Dan Reed is actually complicit in all the lies (apart from lack of research) or do they think that like us, he was hoodwinked by Wade & James, and is just another unfortunate pawn in the larger game?
  15. @MJJRepository (Twitter) – What is your interpretation of Dan Reed admitting (in the Billboard interview) that the footage from Wade’s “1st take” of telling his abuse story was lost due to his camera breaking? Seems like a convenient excuse to film numerous takes and cherry pick which clips are more believable.
  16. @annettaaa (Twitter) – Could you talk about how Dan seems to try sweep important things under the rug and how we are not accusing Wade and James of perjury in 1993 or 2005 (they were telling the truth then) and that when we say they are perjurers it is in their 2012/2013 cases? He always brings that up incorrectly.
  17. @KingLeahMay (Twitter): Why are there no updates about what is happening with Wade and James? I find it interesting how *every last* detail about people like Jussie Smollett, or Nipsey Hussle, or R Kelly are leaked to the public but no word on wade and James. they’re literally gone from the scene.
  18. @Tina_the_Kitten (Twitter) – Does anybody know when the appeal is going to take place? Any dates of a new court process for James Safechuck & Wade Robson?
  19. Simon Clarke (email) – Hi Guys, question: Do you think if Wade Robson and Jimmy Safechuck lose their appeal, that could change the opinion of those who think Michael Jackson might have abused them? If they win, is it effectively game over for MJ’s legacy?
  20. @AngryAngel87 (Twitter): With all of the evidence against them coming out (plus their previously failed lawsuits) do you honestly believe they have any chance with this appeal in a court? Also if this appeal fails, again, do you think that’ll change the current narrative on MJ?
  21. Denise Lim (Facebook) – I first saw Mike Smallcombe getting the word out through The Mirror and I know about Charles Thomson on BBC radio. Even with your professions, how challenging was it to get the facts onto these public platforms, given the total anti-MJ climate previously?
  22. @TheMJAP (Twitter): My question, mainly for Mike: SO many lies and SO many inconsistencies in Leaving Neverland (compared to trial transcripts). Smoking gun, however, was the train station – tangible, physical evidence of a fraudulent claim. How did you even *think* to investigate it’s build date?
  23. @ViolaKl00485493 (Twitter): Can you name any other journalists that you think are doing a great job at scrutinizing the current allegations?
  24. @mixinghistory (Instagram): Do you agree that us, the fans, should stop supporting people like Paul McCartney and Ellen after their comments on the film?
  25. @SeanJoeFitz (Twitter): Are Michael’s kids able to sue for pain and suffering that this tv show has caused them? This will get these twoguys into court under oath.
  26. @wceliam2 (Twitter): You are walking down a street and bump into Wade. What do you say to him?
  27. Claudia Sanchez Maureira (Facebook) – There has been a theory in the fan-world that Harvey Weinstein might have financed Leaving Neverland as a strategy to deviate the attention on his own allegations. To me, that theory is a “little bit too much”. Do you know if there are concrete reasons for suspecting this or is it just because there are pictures of Oprah with him on friendly terms that some fans are saying that?
  28. Let Mino (Facebook): In the Zeitgeist we are in now, isn’t it true that we *have to* take allegations like that from alleged victims seriously? And serious allegations need serious investigations? At first, we as a society have to take them seriously and then investigate *seriously* to see if they make any sense? If we call alleged victims liars immediately, what does that do to actual victims that didn’t speak out yet? I have no answer, I am just thinking of all the abuse victims that are connected directly to the current discussions…
  29. @kustecanja (Instagram) – In your opinion, what are some of the reasons that so many people judge MJ for his eccentricities and call him a weirdo and believe literally every single lie about him, but turn a blind eye when it comes to other celebrities, who are also not perfect?
  30. @look.over.your.shoulders (Instagram) – What do you think is the concise yet effective response to people in real life who bring up the documentary or say something negative about Michael regarding these accusations?

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If you have any thoughts, opinions, or feedback on this Michael Jackson podcast episode, we’d love to hear from you. Contact us at themjcast@icloud.com or find the links to our many social networks on www.themjcast.comStay BAD!

Episode 094 – Harrison Funk Special

This week, just as The MJCast was about to release a surprise episode between seasons, news broke that the Sundance Film Festival was preparing to screen a documentary smearing Michael Jackson as a child molester.

As shockwaves rippled through the fan community and listeners sprang into action, it seemed to be an inappropriate time to release the episode.

The show’s special guest was to be Harrison Funk, renowned entertainment, fashion, and advertising photographer best known for being Michael Jackson’s personal photographer from the early 1980s through the mid-2000s. The interview with Funk had been recorded months ago, and The MJCast team had kept it in the can, ready to release as a special New Year treat for listeners. 

But, upon re-visiting the interview in light of this week’s horrifying news, the timing could hardly be more apt. Harrison spends a great deal of time during his conversation with Jamon Bull and Charles Thomson discussing the false abuse allegations which plagued Michael from 1993 onwards. He speaks movingly about the physical and psychological toll the allegations took on his friend, and how those who loved Michael rallied around him, but watched helplessly as his life and his health slowly fell apart until his eventual death in 2009.
 
As the media prepares to stick the knife into Michael one more time and give it a sharp twist, this interview with one of Michael’s closest friends makes for a sobering listen.

In addition to the allegations, Harrison discusses the kind of man Michael really was, not the lie Dan Reed, Wade Robson and Sundance are going to try and sell the world. The MJCast and Harrison explore stories around Michael’s process as a live musician, the Victory Tour, the Bad era, Harrison’s love of photography, his fascinating observations as he photographed Teddy Riley​ producing Cascio tracks in the studio and SO much more!

This episode of The MJCast is dedicated to Friend of the Show and fellow MJ podcaster Jordan King of King Jordan Radio, who recently and tragically passed away. We will always be missing you, Jordan.

We hope this episode brings some positivity and truth to an otherwise dark time for MJFam.

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If you have any thoughts, opinions, or feedback on this Michael Jackson podcast episode, we’d love to hear from you. Contact us at themjcast@icloud.com or find the links to our many social networks on www.themjcast.comKeep Michaeling!