Why are we still praising an abuser?
Content warning: sexual assault
I don't care how much you love doing the "Thriller" dance or screaming along to "Billie Jean" — Michael Jackson was a sexual predator who targeted children and we need to stop listening to him right now.
I am a music junkie and have always adored classic artists like Michael Jackson. Even today, it's hard not to find his movements compelling and his melodies infectious.
However, after learning of his despicable acts, I am absolutely disturbed by the way people still hold him up as some sort of God.
I recently finished HBO's documentary "Leaving Neverland" and was astonished by how blatant Michael Jackson's pedophilia was. The documentary details the story of two men who were sexually abused by Jackson as young boys, one of whom was abused for seven years.
Not only does the documentary tell the story of the two children who remained silent, it also discusses the plights of those who tried to speak out and were crushed under the weight of Jackson's stardom. Multiple children came forward with sexual abuse allegations, one victim is a young cancer patient.
Jackson was put on trial for molestation but was eventually acquitted. This is partly due to defense from those that would later reveal they were either manipulated or oblivious.
For instance, Wade Robson, a victim of Jackson's, defended him for years, even as others came forward. He explains in the documentary how he was so poisoned by Jackson that he could not bring himself, to tell the truth.
Jackson manipulated this young boy into thinking that their sexual acts equated to love. How could a young, impressionable child know any differently?
Robson explains in the documentary that it wasn't until he had a son of his own that he realized how truly disturbing what happened to him was. This is partly what prompted him to come forward, even after the death of Jackson.
The mothers of Wade Robson and James Safechuck, another victim, even admitted to letting Jackson sleep in the same beds as their sons on several occasions for years. Their mothers assured everyone that it was innocent and they were just playing games. Umm, what? A grown man sleeping in the same bed as children? We're just going to let that go?
James's father even said he observed Jackson kissing his son on the lips, but he never found it strange. WHAT?
How could he get away with this? In the era of the Me Too Movement, maybe things would've been different. But stardom won out over justice and it continues to win out every time we stream his music.
It doesn't matter that he's dead. We as a society should not be praising someone who preyed on innocent boys.
While he rests in loving memory, his victims live on with lasting repercussions.
Both men in the documentary are still affected by what Michael did to them. And to make matters worse, they still receive death threats overcoming forward.
Now please, don't try to categorize me as a sensitive millennial with nothing better to do than destroy the things that make people happy. I, too, am very sad to learn about this. But the facts remain. And don't take my word for it, I challenge you to watch the documentary yourself.
If you don't believe me, if you didn't believe that dying child, if you don't believe the men who are still healing to this day, ask yourself: are you really trying to see, or are you content with blindness?