“To say Michael Jackson is guilty is unfair because Michael Jackson is not here anymore to defend himself.”
It’s a true statement Michael Jackson is not here anymore to defend himself. (At least if we skip the the fact portions of the Michael Jackson fan community thinks he faked his death and is still alive. We’ll skip that argument for now.)
In an attempt to be fair to Michael Jackson this page is dedicated to present a timeline on what Michael Jackson actually said during his lifetime about the allegations.
The problem is that while Michael Jackson was alive his comments beyond about the allegations were sparse. When Michael Jackson was at trial in 2005 trial where he has serious allegations against himself he could have finally defended himself but infamously he plead the fifth amendment instead.
What is the fifth amendment?
From Merriam-Webster: “To refuse to answer questions in a court of law because the answers might be harmful to one or might show that one has committed a crime”
From Dictionary.com: “To plead the fifth means to refuse to answer a question, especially in a criminal trial, on the grounds that you might incriminate yourself.”
According to US law nobody is required to give testimony to charges against them. While it does not necessarily mean the person pleading the fifth is guilty its typically a right used by people who have charges against them the evidence against is deemed strong and further testimony could potentially harm so its better to not say anything. Most people would obviously be desperate to give their version of the story if they were charged with what they allege is a false accusation of sexually molesting a child, so keep that in mind when acknowledging Michael Jackson chose not say anything at the 2005 trial.
What about in 1993? There was no trial, but according to Ray Chandler’s book Jacksons lawyers who were discussing both a civil trial and a criminal trial had informed them Michael would plead the fifth if a lawsuit were to happen.
The 1993 settlement
Due to the multi million dollar settlement he did with the Chandlers he was also prohibited to talk about the Chandler allegations, so thats perhaps another reason he never talked specifically about the 1993 case in public (despite Evan Chandler claiming Michael Jackson did break this settlement, and sued Michael Jackson for it, but more on that below). The same probably goes for the Jason Francia settlement.
1993 allegation public statement
Michael Jackson released this public statement live from Neverland in 1993 shortly after the allegation of Jordan Chandler accusing him of molesting him broke into the news.
Speech at NAACP Image Awards January 5th 1994
Michael Jackson also responded to the allegations in a speech at the NAACP Image Awards at the Pasadena Civic Auditorium. He got standing ovations.
HIStory album (1995)
Michael Jackson signed a multi-million dollar settlement in 1993 that made both parties agree on a confidentiality agreement. Neither party could ever again talk about the case in public.
However, its largely agreed upon (by defenders of Jackson as well) that a some, if not a lot of the music Jackson wrote for the HIStory album expresses his reactions and his frustration to what he went through in this period where he was accused of child molestation.
Half of the HIStory 2-disc album is a collection of earlier hits, but the other half are 15 original songs with tracks produced right after the allegations. Many of these songs are often considered to be inspired by his personal reactions on the allegations and how he felt he was treated by the Santa Barbara Police. The most clear and infamous example is the song “D.S” which is about «a cold man» called Dom Sheldon. When you hear the lyrics sung Dom Sheldon sounds a lot like district attorney Tom Sneddon, who was responsible for charging him, raiding Neverland and for taking photographs of his private parts (which Michael found humiliating). Another is «Scream» which some think is about his frustration. «Jew me, sue me» is a line from “They Don’t Care About Us” some people think is possibly a reference to Evan Chandler (jewish) that sued Jackson.
Some of the lyrics seemed to reflect the 93 allegations so much Evan Chandler sued Jackson claiming Jackson had broken the rules of the settlement, where Michael had signed he was not supposed to ever talk about the case again. Evan “jokingly” claimed Michael should then sponsor an EVANstory album so he could express himself too. (Evan also claimed Michael Jackson broke the settlement in the Diane Sawyer interview.)
Some people claim his Ghosts music video (which is a 39 minute movie) was his artistic commentary on the allegations too, where the mayor in the music video (played by Michael Jackson himself) may or may not be another jab/reference to district attorney Tom Sneddon visiting Jackson’s “freakish” world trying to banish him from society.
Diane Sawyer interview Primetime 1995 with Lisa Marie Presley
Infamous interview from 1995 with Diane Sawyer where Michael Jackson for the first time was supposed to talk about the allegations. He also did this with his new wife Lisa Marie Presley, a relationship some people considered to be suspicious timing. In the interview Michael Jackson does talk about the allegations, his controversial sleepovers with children in his bed and how genuine the marriage with Lise Marie Presley was.
Tom Sneddon and the Santa Barbara Police were reportedly upset with many things Michael Jackson said in this interview. They claimed he was dishonest to the facts. Evan Chandler sued Michael Jackson claiming he had breached the contract of their settlement for brushing the allegation off to only be about money.
Michael Jackson Police Deposition from 1996
Leaked footage of Michael Jackson when was in deposition in 1996. Here he’s asked about his relationship with the little boys he used to hang around.
Piers Morgan interviews Michael Jackson 1999
In 1999 TV-host Piers Morgan interviews Michael Jackson in London. Its a pretty rare interview. Jackson’s comments on children: “If it wasn’t for children I would throw in the towel. I would kill myself. I wouldn’t care to live. They inspire me. Everything I do, every song I write, every dance, everything I do. They try to use it against me and its been so unfair, and I’m very upset about it, you know.” Morgan asks Michael Jackson if he could ever harm a child. Michael Jackson answers: “I would slit my wrist before I would. I could never.”
The issue here is that while most people would take it as a given sexual contact with a child is harming the child, pedophiles themselves usually don’t think of it as harm – or at least live in a strong denial that it is.
Conspiracy speech in 2001 against Sony and the record business
In 2002 Michael Jackson was very dismayed with his record company Sony after his 2001 record Invincible didn’t become as big a success as he perhaps expected it would be. At first he blamed Sony for not promoting or supporting him enough, but he went further. He then attempted to get a public movement and riot on his behalf on the grounds of racism in the music industry. In a speech in Harlem he proclaimed loudly the record business conspired against black artists. At one point he even called the then owner of Sony (and former friend) Tommy Mottola «the devil» and a racist.
Furthermore, in this speech he explained there has been a conspiracy against him that there was forces who had tried to destroy him ever since he started breaking records and surpassing white artists in sales and popularity. At one point (approx around 5:00 minute in) he even brings up the child sex allegations against him as part of this conspiracy.
Living With Michael Jackson (2003)
The controversial documentary “Living With Michael Jackson” by Martin Bashir was ironically meant to repair Michael Jackson’s somewhat erratic reputation by giving the viewers “an honest and no holds barred” look into his private world. Michael Jackson had told family members this documentary would repair his image. The documentary ended up doing the exact opposite instead.
In this documentary Jackson is asked about sleeping in bed with children which he defends as “loving” and “sweet”. He’s also in a scene with his future accuser Gavin Arvizo. At the end of the documentary a second interview by Bashir is done too where he is confronted with these questions once again.. The documentary lead to a lot of scandal, and one of Jackson’s own people described it as a “train wreck”.
(Its also implied there’s bits of the interviews where Michael Jackson talks about the 1993 case which couldn’t be used due to the settlement with the Chandlers. If Martin Bashir ever releases the raw footage of the interviews its possible there’s more.)
Take 2 – The Footage You Were Never Meant To See + Michael Jackson’s Private Home Movies (2003)
After the international scandal caused by Martin Bashir’s documentary Michael Jackson’s team did a counter-documentary in an attempt to damage control what the Martin Bashir’s documentary had caused. They called it “Living With Michael Jackson Take 2” or “The Footage You Were Never Meant To See” and they produced it on only three weeks. It includes some parts of the interviews not used in Bashir’s version. The goal of this documentary was to portray Martin Bashir as dishonest and as someone backstabbing Michael Jackson. This documentary was produced by Marc Schaffel together with Michael Jackson.
Additionally they also released “Michael Jackson’s Private Home Movies” where Michael is presenting footage of his own private video collection of himself and children playing around and having fun at Neverland. Michael himself serves as a host between the clips. While it never directly comments on the child molestation charges its quite clear (not least because of the timing of the release) the motivation of releasing this was to show how innocent and fun Michael Jackson’s relationship with children is.
60 Minutes Interview
A month after the police charges Michael Jackson of molesting Gavin Arvizo (as well as other crimes) Jackson is interviewed on Ed Bradley from 60 Minutes on 28th of December 2003. This is perhaps the most in depth interview ever we got from Jackson talking about these issues. He once again defends sleeping in bed with children. He also denies being a pedophile. Most infamously he accuses the police of police violence by dislocating his shoulder and locking him up in a room smeared full of feces for over 45 minutes. A very shocking yet strange claim which was throughly investigated and concluded to be untrue.
Public Statement before 2005 trial
Michael Jackson was allowed to make a short statement to his fans and supporters before the 2005 trial. It reminds one a lot of the statement he did in 1993.
Geraldo Rivera’s Show Interview
Michael Jackson was on Geraldo Rivera’s show in 2005 on Fox News as well right before the trial. Despite the timing the interview was not really about the trial or the allegations at all, Rivera (who always has been a big supporter of Michael Jackson) talked more about his career, but Michael Jackson does say a few lines at the end. It’s mostly a repetition of what he said in his public statement.
Written Statement Of Michael Jackson before 2005 trial
From this court document Michael Jackson also made a written statement for the court. Michael Jackson never commented on the trial or the allegations after the trial was over up until his death in 2009.