The trial over allegations of sexual abuse against former boys of Michael Jackson, who died in ’09 (age 50), was lost by the plaintiffs in the first round, but an appeals court has ordered the case to be sent back to court.
The two plaintiffs who sued Michael’s company are now back in court, and all eyes are on the second round of the case. The U.S. TMZ reported.
On August 18 (local time), the California Court of Appeal decided to remand two lawsuits against “King of Pop” Michael’s production company. The plaintiffs, James Safechuck and Wade Robson, both claim that they were sexually abused by Michael for many years as children, and are seeking damages from Michael’s company, MJJ Productions.
The Los Angeles County Superior Court of ’21, the court of first instance, had dismissed the two men’s lawsuit on the grounds that the company had no legal duty to protect Mr. Safechuck, Mr. Robson, or anyone else from Michael’s sexual assault because it had no ability to control him.
However, the Court of Appeals took a different view and ruled to send Mr. Safechuck and Mr. Robson back to trial.
Mr. Robson, a little dancer from Australia, claims that between the ages of 7 and 14, he was sexually abused by Michael at Neverland Ranch, Michael’s dream mansion with an amusement park in Santa Barbara County, California.
Mr. Safechuck, on the other hand, claims that he was only 10 years old when he met Michael on the set where the Pepsi-Cola commercial featuring Michael was filmed, and that he was sexually victimized by Michael.
Both men say their relationship with Michaelon lasted for years. They said that they sometimes went away and sometimes stayed in Neverland for long periods of time.
The two appeared in the HBO documentary film “Leaving Neverland,” a total of four hours and two parts, which was released in ’19 and followed Michael’s alleged sexual abuse and other allegations. They claimed that Michael’s company failed to protect them.
The documentary drew a huge response, and in response, radio stations in New Zealand and other countries stopped airing Michael’s music, causing a stir.
In an interview with U.S. TV host Oprah Winfrey at the time, the two said,
At the time, I had no idea that I was being sexually abused. I had already established my image as a star before I met Michael.
They said things such as, “I didn’t know it was sexual abuse at all at the time.
Michael’s people responded by saying, “I don’t know if you’ve seen the documentary or the two exes.
Michael’s people denied the allegations, saying, “The documentary and the two former little friends just want their fame and fortune.
A lawsuit was filed against HBO claiming $100 million (about 14.5 billion yen) in damages.
In 1993, Jordan Chandler filed a lawsuit against Michael for sexually abusing a boy, and the trial continued for seven years. In 2003, Michael was arrested for alleged sexual abuse of another man, and the trial drew worldwide attention, but in June 2005, a verdict of not guilty was returned.
The lawsuit by Mr. Safechuck and Mr. Robson lost in the first trial, but now that the case has been reopened, the allegations of Michael’s sexual abuse of the boy and Michael’s responsibility to the company will once again be challenged in court.
In Japan, the issue of sexual assault by Johnny’s founder, Janie Kitagawa (87 years old), who passed away in ’19, has come to the fore. It will be interesting to see how these two “giants” of the entertainment world, both in Japan and the U.S., will be judged.
Text： Ryo Sakamoto (Writer, former head of the Culture and Society Department of Tokyo Sports Newspaper)
Writes articles on entertainment, movies, Hollywood information, etc., including the web magazine "PlusαToday". Member of the Japan Film Pen Club.