Race, Fame & Abuse: 5 Of The Biggest Controversies Around Late Michael Jackson’s Life
Entertainment & Fun  

A child artist, an iconic pop star and an alleged abuser – Michael Jackson’s legacy will forever be fraught with these adjectives.


More than a decade after his death, the controversies around his personal life have not died down. The questions remain unanswered with new allegations and revelations coming out to shock fans.
We recently came across a Luminary Original podcast Telephone Stories – The Trials Of Michael Jackson and we were transported back to the early 2000s when the news reports and stories around the iconic star started getting murky.
Hosted by Brandon Ogborn and Omar Crook, Telephone Stories heads straight to the question we want answers to – guilty or innocent? Which one was it - was Michael Jackson a serial child molester or a generous protector of children, maligned for his good intentions?
But even digging through old file reports, interviews, and investigations can’t give us a straight answer.     

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Telephone Stories brought on board Michael Jackson’s defense attorneys, the investigators and prosecutors who pursued him and the writers and tabloid journalists who followed the case to dissect the trial proceedings. The details of the painstakingly public trial turn into a searching chronicle of race, fame and abuse.
Picked from the 14-episode podcast, below are some of the biggest controversies (and questions!) around the life of Late Michael Jackson that still haunts his fans:  
Sleepovers With Kids In His 30s?
What was hard for fans to digest was the fact that a 30-year-old man was having sleepovers with children as young as 8-10 years. Was he trying to vicariously relive his childhood through them or was this a part of the heinous crimes he has been accused of?
Michael Jackson had confessed that he has slept in the same bed as the 13-year-old Jordan Chandler (one of his accusers) more than 30 nights in a row. Child actor Macaulay Culkin has also been a part of Michael’s sleepovers but so far has denied any claims of sexual abuse or wrongdoings.  
Accusations of Child Sexual Abuse
First accused in 1993 by the then 13-year-old Jordan Chandler, Michael Jackson settled the case out of court by paying off the family a whopping $23 million and his family’s lawyer $5 million. 
Telephone Stories hosts Brandon Ogborn and Omar Crook share their take on this settlement and shared insights from lawyers who revealed that Michael Jackson continued maintaining his ‘not guilty’ stand.
New Accusations After The 2002 Documentary 
In 2003, after the controversial documentary Living with Michael Jackson, 12-year-old Gavin Arvizo and his family accused Michael Jackson of child sexual abuse and keeping the family captive at Neverland after receiving severe backlash and investigations following the documentary.
Shot extensively over a period of eight months at his Neverland Ranch estate in California, the documentary first shocked people when Jackson was captured discussing sleeping arrangements and holding hands with Arvizo.
The documentary presenter Martin Bashir even questioned the appropriateness of a grown man having sleepovers and sharing a bed with a young child. However, Michael Jackson dismissed them as anything sexual and called it a “beautiful thing”, revealing he had shared his bed with many children.
In the podcast, Telephone Stories, lawyers revealed gory details of the case and how Gavin accurately recollected minute details like birthmarks around Michael Jackson’s genitals.
Not just Gavin, but a total of 5 children he shared beds with have come out over the years accusing him of sexual abuse. This includes Jordan Chandler, Jason Francia, Gavin Arvizo, Wade Robson and Jimmy Safechuck. 


Neverland Ranch Estate & The Staff Statements
Michael Jackson’s lavish property in California, Neverland Ranch estate is fraught with its own controversies. The place is said to be inspired by his favourite fictional character Peter Pan and has a rail line and bronze statues of kids.
During his trial, the place was searched by the police and it is claimed that they found an extensive collection of adult erotic material that he kept in his room along with S&M bondage and photos of naked boys.
The staff at Neverland has sold their stories about catching Michael Jackson in the act, made statements and even retracted them several times through the course of the court proceedings.
In Telephone Stories, the hosts reveal how Jackson’s defense attorney Thomas Mesereau picked apart the witness’s credibility making the case weak. 
Crippling Debt And Death from Drug Overdose
Even as die-hard Michael Jackson fans thronged to see his concerts, he didn’t find many sponsors. He struggled to build his finances and reputation.
The finale episode of Telephone Stories picks up after the trial and talks about his sudden death from a drug overdose in 2009. But the Trial of Michael Jackson doesn’t end with his death. There were several court proceedings that ran years after his death as new accusers spoke up and demanded compensation.  
Intrigued by the complex life and death of Michael Jackson?



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