Recently, many people, even my eminent colleagues, jumped from their sofas, grabbed their phones, and started a storm of comments about the documentary “Leaving Neverland”. This is my contribution to the pile of digital signatures of Thriller lovers turned into (alleged) victim-attackers and prosecutors. In my colleagues’ paper, they dig into the allegations’ context, specifically into the inconsistency of victims’ statements over time, and obvious financial incentive for making their claims as a ground for the unreliability of the allegations (https://www.trouw.nl/opinie/-leaving-neverland-bewijst-on-schuld-michael-jackson-niet~a28d04f2/). However, their overview of the context has one big blind spot - Jackson’s, mildly put, odd personality.
Jackson was an African-American who decided to change his skin color and all features of his race. He said it was due to a condition – vitiligo, right? Vitiligo, which affects the pigmentation of the skin, occurs in 1% of the population. This means that, statistically speaking, the likelihood of Jackson faking having vitiligo is 100 times more likely than the likelihood that he genuinely suffered from it. So, he was possibly a deceiver about his health, and, as you know, “those who think it’s alright to tell white lies, soon become color-blind” (O’Malley, 1858-1932).
Also, this grown man had an amusement park/residence named “Neverland”, inspired by his obsession - Peter Pan. His family claimed that Jackson was “a kid at heart” who wanted to be around children. But, instead of visiting kindergartens and schools, Jackson preferred being surrounded by them. In the privacy of his home. His room, even his bed. What about the army of people around Jackson that arranged these “sleepovers”? Why is nobody seeking those people and investigating their involvement in this mindf*ck of a situation? If you would be hired by a person to organize a bunch of kids to come and go into the house of a stranger, would you be totally chill about it?
Lastly, while questioning the influence of incentives on alleged victims to falsely accuse Jackson, it would be good to also consider Jackson’s incentives to deny all the claims since 1993. Jackson had strong motives, such as avoiding prison, losing his reputation and fortune etcetera, to discredit the allegations.
So, this part of the context could allude that Jackson was a malingerer, with a perverted fixation on children, and every possible benefit to deny the truth. But that is too bitter of a pill for Jackson’s fans to swallow. It appears that Kevin Spacey and R.Kelly have less devoted fans, or just less subjective admirers.
Irena Boskovic, lecturer at forensic psychology