What's Come Out About Michael Jackson Since He Died

It was news that shocked the entire world. On June 25, 2009, CNN reported that "The King of Pop" Michael Jackson had "suffered cardiac arrest" at "his West Los Angeles home." Although paramedics "rushed" Jackson to UCLA Medical Center and made every attempt "to resuscitate him," the pop star was "pronounced dead at 2:26 p.m. PT." He was 50 years old.

In the wake of Jackson's death, millions of fans grieved "in the streets and on the internet" (per ABC News) and a televised "public memorial on July 7" raked in over "1 billion" viewers (per the Chicago Tribune). Jackson's autopsy concluded that "an overdose" ultimately led to his demise (per Newsweek). According to The New York Post, his "body was riddled with needle marks and scars," and he only weighed "112 pounds" at the time of death. The Washington Post reported that Jackson "died because of a fatal cocktail of medications in his system," including "the surgical anesthetic propofol." There were reportedly other substances in his system too, including the "muscle relaxant" Lorazepam, a "10 milligram tablet" of Valium, the "local anesthetic" Lidocaine, and the "appetite suppressant and stimulant" Ephedrine (per BBC News).

Perhaps none of the post-mortem revelations about Jackson are as troubling as the allegations made in Leaving Neverland, a 2019 documentary that finds two of Jackson's former proteges — James Safechuck and Wade Robson — claiming they endured ongoing sexual abuse from Jackson throughout the 80s and 90s. Here's what else has come out since Michael Jackson died.

​The damning accusations in Part One of 'Leaving Neverland'

Leaving Neverland director Dan Reed told Business Insider that the most troubling aspect of his film was that "Jackson played God with these kids, and then he disappeared." As CNN reports, James Safechuck (right) met Jackson when he shot "a Pepsi commercial with the pop star," while Wade Robson (left) met him because he "won a dance contest." According to Deadline, Robson and Safechuck claim their sexual "abuse" began when they "were 7 and 10 years old." (As of March 2019, Robson and Safechuck are 36 and 40, respectively.)

The allegations in Leaving Neverland were so damning, IndieWire concluded they "[prove] Michael Jackson sexually abused children." In the film, Robson and Safechuck claim Jackson plied them with alcohol and "showed them pornography" at Neverland Ranch (per The Washington Post ). Safechuck also claims Jackson bought him "a wedding ring" as part of a "mock wedding ceremony" (per People). 

Safechuck says the alleged sexual abuse took place in multiple rooms throughout Neverland Ranch, and that "it happened every day," according to CNN. "It sounds sick but when you're first dating somebody, you do a lot of it." Jackson allegedly subjected Safechuck to impromptu "drills" in case the two of them ever got caught: "He would tell me that if anybody found out, his life would be over and my life would be over," Safechuck alleged (per People).

Both men admitted they felt "replaced" when Jackson took interest in "other boys" (per CNN).

More chilling allegations in Part Two of 'Leaving Neverland'

In Part Two of Leaving Neverland, James Safechuck claimed Michael Jackson's attorneys coached him in case he was ever grilled by authorities: "They did, like, a mock interview," he alleged. Wade Robson claimed Jackson told him that "if anyone ever found out that we were doing any of these sorts of things, these sexual things, that he and I would go to jail for the rest of our lives" (per CNN).

In 1993, Michael Jackson was accused of "sexually molesting" 13-year-old Jordan "Jordy" Chandler, and he reportedly cajoled Robson and Safechuck into "[speaking] in support of Jackson to investigators," according to CNN. Jackson also allegedly "forgave a low-interest loan" to James' mom, Stephanie — but only after James got involved in the Chandler investigation. As Complex reported, Jackson "practically bought [them] the house they were living in."

Robson alleged that Jackson also instructed him to "hide evidence" of their particularly disturbing "last sexual encounter" (per Complex). In 2005, Robson testified for Jackson's "defense team" during the singer's child molestation trial, and Jackson's housekeeper alleged that she'd "seen a 10-year-old Robson in bed with Jackson" (per Esquire). Robson denied that claim in court. "Michael told me that I had to lie," he explains in Leaving Neverland.

Robson revealed the reason he decided to come clean: "I want to be able to speak the truth as loud as I had to speak the lie" (per CNN).

​Michael Jackson's estate condemned the doc

The Michael Jackson estate reportedly has a lot to lose over Leaving Neverland. According to The Washington Post, the documentary effectively put "Michael Jackson's cultural legacy and $2 billion empire in jeopardy." Ahead of its Sundance premiere on Jan. 25, 2019, the estate condemned the film in a statement, calling it "an outrageous and pathetic attempt to exploit and cash in on Michael Jackson" (via People). According to the Daily Mail, Michael's nephew Taj also kicked off a "poster campaign" in London in February 2019, showering public buses in signage that proclaimed Michael's innocence (e.g., "Facts don't lie. People do").

In February 2019, the Michael Jackson estate inevitably sued HBO for $100 million, with attorney Howard Weitzman telling Deadline that the company had "breached its agreement not to disparage Michael Jackson by producing and selling to the public a one-sided marathon of unvetted propaganda."

In a move Rolling Stone called "an attempt to divert attention from the premiere of Leaving Neverland," the estate uploaded a concert movie to Michael Jackson's official YouTube channel on March 3, 2019 — the same day Part One of Leaving Neverland was set to air on HBO. Ironically, the film chosen by the estate — Michael Jackson in Concert in Bucharest: The Dangerous Tour — reportedly premiered in 1992 on HBO. 

Following the lawsuit, HBO brass released a statement confirming they would still air the documentary: "Despite the desperate lengths taken to undermine the film, our plans remain unchanged" (per People).

​MJ fans had knives out for Oprah Winfrey

The HBO special Oprah Winfrey Presents: After Neverland was reportedly filmed in front of "some 100 sex abuse survivors" and aired on March 4, 2019, right after Part Two of Leaving Neverland (per The Hollywood Reporter). During Winfrey's one-hour interview with director Dan Reed, Wade Robson, and James Safechuck, Reed opened up about why he never reached out to Michael Jackson's family while making his film: "What is the journalistic value of interviewing someone... [who] has a gigantic vested interest, a financial interest, in smearing these two young men."

Winfrey claimed the film promoted an important discussion about sexual abuse that "transcends Michael Jackson." Discussing the "backlash" that followed the movie's January 2019 Sundance premiere, Winfrey ruefully said: "All the fans and the estate. You guys know you're gonna get it, right? I'm gonna get it." 

She wasn't wrong. Fervid Michael Jackson fans lashed out at Oprah on social media before the special even aired (per TMZ). On March 3, 2019, one aggrieved fan tweeted: "If karma is real after @Oprah is laid to rest... ppl will come out of the woodwork to lie on, betray and besmirch her name." According to the Daily Beast, a "twisted cult of Michael Jackson Truthers" eagerly undermined the film's allegations, and these fans likely informed the tense atmosphere at the Sundance premiere: Everyone in attendance was reportedly "patted down individually" before entering the Egyptian Theater, where "bomb-sniffing dogs" roved the aisles.  

MJ's family and other celebs reacted to the doc

On Feb. 27, 2019, Gayle King interviewed four members of the Jackson family — Taj, Tito, Jackie, and Marlon — on CBS This Morning, and the Jacksons used that segment to defend Michael (per Variety). "I know my brother," Jackie said. "He's not like that." Michael's nephew Taj alleged that he'd witnessed several of Michael's "sleepovers" firsthand, and insisted that nothing untoward went down: "I'm not oblivious to what it sounds like. But when you're actually there in that atmosphere ... it's very innocent."

Many celebs praised Leaving Neverland. Political commentator Bill Maher — host of Real Time on HBO — tweeted that it was "riveting." Director and comedian Judd Apatow warned that the program "takes days to recover from." In response to Oprah Winfrey Presents: After Neverland, Ellen DeGeneres tweeted: "I hope everyone watches this." 

One star who took umbrage with the documentary is Corey Feldman, who "was friends with Jackson as a youngster," according to CNN. Feldman told Page Six: "What happened with me [and Jackson] was strictly aboveboard." Regarding the allegations of Wade Robson and James Safechuck, he said: "If God forbid these things were true, then there is a completely different Michael that I knew." That same day, Feldman came to Michael's defense in an all-caps tweet storm (per CNN), writing that Jackson "NEVER TOUCHED ME INAPPROPRIATELY, & NEVER EVER SUGGESTED WE SHOULD BE LOVERS IN ANY WAY!"

​Macaulay Culkin and MJ just had 'good old fun'

On the Jan. 15, 2019 episode of the Inside of You With Michael Rosenbaum podcast (per CNN), actor Macaulay Culkin offered some insight into his friendship with Michael Jackson "in the early 1990s," which he said "people question ... only because of the fact that [Jackson] was the most famous person in the world."

Culkin was quick to describe Jackson in superlatives — "generous," "funny," "hilarious," "gentle," and "sweet" — and claimed their friendship was "so normal and mundane." He also pointed out that he and Jackson had something in common as two people who found fame at a young age: "I was a peerless person. ... [He'd] been through the exact same frickin' thing and wanted to make sure I wasn't alone."

In fact, Culkin's account of his friendship with Jackson has remained unwaveringly positive for well over a decade, and the actor "has long denied that Jackson sexually abused him," according to Vanity Fair. When he "took the stand" at Michael Jackson's 2005 trial, he reportedly said his sleepovers at Neverland Ranch were nothing but "good old fun," and said the accusations leveled at Jackson were "absolutely ridiculous" (per CNN). When Jackson's "former maid" Adrian McManus testified at that trial, she reportedly claimed she "once saw Jackson put his hand on Culkin's leg and buttocks and kiss him on the cheek," according to CNN

As Inside Edition reported, "Culkin denied that allegation," and Jackson wrote off McManus as "a disgruntled ex-employee."

Did Sony release bogus Michael Jackson songs?

The posthumous 2010 album Michael proved a controversial release. As Rolling Stone reported, three tracks from the record  — "Monster," "Breaking News," and "Keep Your Head Up" — may have been "sung by an impersonator." According to TMZ, two of Michael's kids — Paris and Prince — allegedly "stayed at [producer Eddie] Cascio's family home for 4 months in 2007." Paris was reportedly "adamant" that the vocals weren't sung by her father, and Prince claimed the tunes sounded nothing like what he'd heard at "Cascio's house." According to TMZ, many people suspected the kids had been "manipulated" by Michael's mother, Katherine. 

Other family members questioned the authenticity of the vocals, too. As The Guardian reported, Michael's brother Randy tweeted that he "immediately said it wasn't his voice" when he first heard the songs. In November 2010, Sony Music claimed to have "complete confidence ... that the vocals on the new album are [Michael's]" (via BBC News).

In 2014, an MJ fan named Vera Serova filed a "class-action lawsuit" against the Michael Jackson estate, Sony Music, and other entities (via Variety). In August 2018, several articles reported that Sony admitted to using an impersonator, but Zia Modabber, a lawyer "representing both Sony Music and the Jackson estate," confirmed that "no one has conceded that Michael Jackson did not sing on the songs." On Aug. 28, 2018, both entities were "cleared" in the lawsuit (per Variety), but that still doesn't "clear up" who actually sang on those tracks.

What were his final days like?

In her 2011 memoir Starting Over, Michael Jackson's sister La Toya Jackson (pictured, right) revealed her conspiracy theory about her brother's death (per ABC News). Apparently she's convinced that "business advisers and doctors" had been scheming "to work [Michael] to death with the 'This Is It' concerts and then profit off his estate." In the same book, La Toya shared a haunting account of Michael's last days, which was allegedly told to her by Michael's daughter, Paris (pictured, left): "'Daddy was always cold,'" Paris is quoted as saying. "'Daddy was always freezing. He would sit and fall asleep by the fireplace. ... They turned the lights out. We were in the dark ... and they cut the phones off.'"

Elsewhere in the book, La Toya revealed what Paris claimed to be Michael's last words to her: "'Stop fighting with your brother. I'm not always going to be here, and you're going to have to be the lady and watch over [your brothers].'" La Toya also claimed Michael was fanatically anti-drug before he "[became] addicted to painkillers" later in life (per ABC News). "Michael didn't believe in putting any chemicals in his body," she wrote, "and he was devoted to health food." When the two of them were still living together "at home," Michael allegedly even "became upset" when he witnessed La Toya in the process of swallowing an aspirin. He allegedly reprimanded her: "That's a drug."

The doctor implicated in MJ's death is full of tall tales

In July 2009, DEA officers "raided" the clinic of Michael Jackson's former physician Dr. Conrad Murray in search of "evidence of manslaughter," according to BBC News. (Police also searched his "Las Vegas home," looking for Michael Jackson's "medical records.") According to The New York Times, Murray was "charged with involuntary manslaughter" for allegedly giving Jackson "a dose of propofol" shortly before he died. During the trial, "Deputy District Attorney" David Walgren claimed Murray had been "playing Russian roulette with Michael Jackson's life" by giving him the "surgical anesthetic" as a sleep aid (per CNN). The physician was subsequently "sentenced to four years" in jail, but only served two of them.

In a 2013 interview with the Mirror, Murray made a number of peculiar claims, alleging that Jackson "was incontinent" and "wore condoms every night" to prevent bedwetting. Murray claims he would "put the condoms on for" Jackson, because the pop star reportedly "didn't know how." 

His strangest anecdote involves a prophecy. Jackson allegedly told Murray: "You know, for the rest of your life and my life, our names will become inseparable." When Murray asked what he was talking about, Jackson allegedly responded: "I am clairvoyant." If that sounds far-fetched, it's worth nothing that Murray penned a 2016 memoir entitled This Is It!, and the book is reportedly full of Jackson anecdotes that are "vulgar and sad, difficult to believe, and endlessly self-serving," according to AV Club.