The two-part HBO documentary has divided opinions. The harrowing testimony from Robson and James Safechuck is compelling but there has been a huge backlash at the lack of any other witnesses, both for and against. Filmmaker Dan Reed has dismissed criticisms: “What is the other side of the story? That Michael Jackson was a great entertainer and a great guy?” He says Robson’s original 2005 denial of abuse was rooted in his devotion to his idol. Yet, there is evidence Robson lied repeatedly in the past, was viewed as an unreliable witness by a judge and some of his latest allegations are not even based on his own memories.
UK journalist Mike Smallcombe is the author of the biography Making Michael and spoke exclusively to Express Online.
He said: “Unless you are in the Michael Jackson fan community, or a journalist who has researched the subject, you aren’t going to know about the publicly available information which would have formed part of Jackson’s defence. Viewers of the documentary are essentially the jury – but Leaving Neverland only gave them the prosecution’s side.
“In 2012, Robson had a nervous breakdown, triggered, he said, by an obsessive quest for success. His career, in his own words, began to “crumble.”
“That same year, Robson began shopping a book that claimed he was sexually abused by Michael Jackson. No publisher picked it up. In the draft version of the book, Robson called himself a ‘master of deception.'”
“Robson filed a $1.5 billion civil lawsuit/creditor’s claim in 2013. He first filed it under seal (a procedure allowing sensitive or confidential information to be filed with a court without becoming a matter of public record), in the hope of reaching a financial settlement with the Jackson Estate.
“To be clear, the judge ruled that Jackson’s companies were not liable for any possible actions by Jackson; he did not rule on the credibility of the men’s allegations. But the trial judge in Robson’s initial case against the Estate disregarded his sworn statements on a summary judgment motion.
“Jackson estate attorney Howard Weitzman said Robson was “caught lying repeatedly” in the dismissed litigations.
“Weitzman added: ‘The trial judge found one of Robson’s lies so incredible that the trial judge disregarded Robson’s sworn declaration and found that no rational trier of fact could possibly believe Robson’s sworn statements.'”
“During his lawsuit against Jackson’s Estate, Robson was ordered by the trial court to produce all documents about written communications with anyone about his supposed abuse.
“In one email, he listed over 20 different questions to his mother asking her about the specific details of his interactions with Jackson. Some of these included: ‘Can you explain all that you remember of that first night at Neverland? What happened when we drove in what did we do? And that first weekend at Neverland?’
“Despite telling the detailed story of his first night at Neverland in the documentary as if it is his own memory, at his deposition, Robson admitted that he ‘did not know’ if his memory of that night ‘came from (his) own recollection or it was told to (him) by someone else.”
“Another email showed that Robson found one particular story from the early 1990s which specifically named him and his mother. He emailed it to his mother and asked whether it was true. She replied, ‘Wow, none of that is true.’
“Weitzman said Robson was also trying to hide evidence before his cases were dismissed.
“Weitzman said: ”Robson lied under oath and stated that, other than one brief email in late 2012, he had had “no written communications” with anyone (other than his attorneys) about his newly-concocted allegations that he was abused by Jackson. This turned out to be a complete and utter lie. Robson had actually shopped a book about his allegations in the year prior to filing his lawsuit—a book he tried to hide from the Estate.’
“Weitzman said Robson’s book told a completely different story of how he was first abused by Jackson. When asked about some of these discrepancies at his deposition, Robson explained that his memories had ‘evolved’ since writing the draft of the book in late 2012 and early 2013.
“Dan Reed said Robson and Safechuck “have no financial interest in the documentary whatsoever”. But both are in debt to Jackson’s Estate by significant sums. Robson owes the Estate almost $70,000 dollars in court costs, and Safechuck owes the Estate several thousand dollars as well. Robson and Safechuck are pursuing appeals of the judgments against them, appeals that will probably be heard this year.”
MAKING MICHAEL BY MIKE SMALLCOMBE IS OUT NOW