145: Vindication Day Special with Brett Barnes

It is almost thirty years since Brett Barnes last spoke to a journalist. The last time he gave an interview was in 1993, aged eleven, when he took to the airwaves to defend his friend Michael Jackson against allegations that he was a molester of young boys. But the Barnes family quickly learned not to engage with the media when it came to Jackson. Attempts by tabloid reporters to hunt them down after that became so intrusive that they were driven from their home for months. When they went off grid, media outlets instead began offering tens or hundreds of thousands of dollars to anybody who was prepared to say they’d seen him behave inappropriately with young friends like Brett Barnes.

Ever since then, ugly, graphic sexual allegations about Jackson and Brett have been published in books, magazines and newspapers and have been broadcast by trashy tabloid TV shows. Rarely, if ever, has anybody sought to fact-check the stories – nor have outlets ever really seemed to care when Brett explicitly refuted them. But for almost three decades, he chose to bite his tongue rather than engage with a media industry that seemed to have its own agenda.

In 2019, Brett – by then happily settled down with his wife and their young children – had his peace shattered by a reality TV show called Leaving Neverland. Strangers on the internet began contacting him to warn him that the show included his name and likeness and strongly insinuated that Jackson had sexually abused him – something nobody involved in making the show had seen fit to inform him of. He immediately contacted its maker, HBO, to strenuously deny the claims and request that they be removed. HBO told him to get lost and the show was sold all over the world, for consumption by millions of people. 

Since then, Brett’s world has been turned upside-down. Aggressive journalists have shown up on his doorstep and told him lies to try to trick him into giving them interviews. He has been harassed and trolled on a constant basis for three years by anonymous social media accounts, accusing him of being a liar, an enemy of abuse victims and a shill for a child molester. 

After three years of relentless abuse, defamation and invasion of his privacy, Brett decided it was finally time to speak out. On May 14th, 2022, he granted Charles Thomson a world exclusive, no-holds-barred interview. No question or topic was off limits. There was only one platform he was prepared to let broadcast it: The MJCast.

For the first time ever, he spoke in depth about his relationship with Jackson, starting from the very beginning and explaining how it evolved over almost 20 years – from witnessing first-hand the 1993 police raid of Neverland Ranch, to testifying at Jackson’s 2005 criminal trial, and all the way up to his final conversation with Jackson just days before his death. Along the way, for the first time ever, he had the opportunity to give unequivocal answers to the many allegations which had been published and broadcast about him over the years – a subject which caused him to become emotional on more than one occasion.

The conversation is being released on June 13th, 2022 – the 17th anniversary of the verdicts in Jackson’s 2005 criminal trial.

This episode was edited by Charlie Carter.

Additional Links
• Charles Thomson’s article “One of the Most Shameful Episodes In Journalistic History“.
• #TheMJCast133: Vindication Day Special With Carol LaMere
• #TheMJCast103: Vindication Day Special with Larry Nimmer
• #TheMJCast081: Vindication Day Special with Aphrodite Jones
• #TheMJCast058: Vindication Day Special (Pirates in Neverland: The Michael Jackson Allegations)
• #TheMJCast033: Vindication Day Special with Scott Ross
• #TheMJCast010: Vindication Day 10th Anniversary Special with Tom Mesereau

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If you have 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.com. Keep Michaeling!