Smack in the middle of the #MeToo era comes the King of Pop.
Where alleged victims are showered with support and cries of “Believe the victim,” the case of the late Michael Jackson has left even celebrities divided.
Comedian D.L. Hughley said he “warned” folks about Jackson’s behavior long ago, while singer Stephanie Mills has referred to Jackson’s latest accusers, Wade Robson and James Safechuck, as dishonest.
Sales of Jackson’s music has nosedived since Robson and Safechuck’s stories were aired in the riveting HBO documentary, “Leaving Neverland.”
It was the third-most-watched documentary in the cable network’s history and that was followed by a sensational one-hour interview by Oprah Winfrey that not only included Robson and Safechuck and “Leaving Neverland” director Dan Reed, but also included a live audience filled with sexual abuse survivors.
Oprah received tons of backlash for doing the interview, while Jackson’s estate, seeking to protect its multibillion-dollar asset, fired off a $100 million lawsuit against HBO claiming the network entered into a non-disparagement agreement with Jackson in 1992.
The Jackson estate even tried counterprogramming, streaming live Jackson’s 1992 “Dangerous” tour during the hours the documentary was broadcast. That would be like a studio playing all of Harvey Weinstein’s greatest productions during the shamed movie mogul’s upcoming sexual abuse trial.
But fans tuned in. They also spewed hate toward Robson, Safechuck and whomever they perceived supports the two men.
Now, the organization Care2 has urged Mandalay Bay to cancel their Cirque du Soleil show, “Michael Jackson One,” which has run to great success on the famed Las Vegas Strip.
Billed as the largest online community that empowers people to lead healthy and green lifestyles while taking action on important issues such as human rights, Care2 officials said they stand against bigots, bullies, science deniers, misogynists and “other mean people.”
The organization has created a petition seeking the shuttering of “Michael Jackson One,” and within a week has approached its goal of 10,000 signatures.
“If you walk into the Mandalay Bay Casino lobby in Las Vegas, you will likely be met with an imposing sight – a 10-foot tall Michael Jackson statue staring down at you from above. The statue was created in 1994 by Diana Walczak and 10 reproductions were then sent all around the world to gin up publicity for Jackson’s upcoming ‘HIStory’ tour,” Care2 said in a statement.
“Today, it’s MJ’s history that’s in the spotlight [with] HBO’s jaw-dropping documentary ‘Leaving Neverland’ recounting the experience of Robson and Safechuck.
“The piece is so shocking and explicit that producers had counselors on hand for viewers after the showing.”
The statement continued:
“Clouds have, for decades, hung over Michael Jackson’s legacy. But light is finally breaking through, and with the credible allegations brought by Robson and Safechuck, it is time for fans to reckon with the fact that Michael Jackson may not have been the person we thought he was.
“While fans come to the shocking realization of what Michael might have truly been, businesses like the Mandalay Bay, who make millions off his image, should also do the same. It’s time Mandalay Bay and Cirque du Soleil follow in the museum’s footsteps by cutting ties with the Jackson estate once and for all.”
In a subsequent statement, Care2 director of advocacy and engagement Rebecca Gerber said if Jackson did molest children, it can’t be ignored because it sends a message to other survivors that some people matter, and some people don’t.
Cirque du Soleil officials said they cannot comment about the petition due to current legal proceedings involving one of their partners.
Care2 said it will send the signatures and comments left on the petition website to Mandalay Bay officials.
“Yeah, he made great music, but he did some really horrible things,” Gerber said.