Michael Jackson's family is firing back at the late singer's portrayal in Leaving Neverland, the new documentary about his alleged sexual assault.
Leaving Neverland premiered last month at the Sundance Film Festival, and was one of the venue's most-talked about entries. It will see a wider release on HBO in March. In the meantime, Jackson's brothers, Tito, Marlon and Jackie Jackson, and his nephew Taj Jackson, all appeared on CBS This Morning on Wednesday to dispute the claims that their brother molested underage boys.
“I don’t care to see it,” admitted Jackie. All four said that they have not seen Leaving Neverland, which features Wade Robson and James Safechuck describing the alleged molestation they suffered at Michael Jackson's home.
“No, because I know my brother. I don’t have to see that documentary," Jackie went on. "I know Michael. I’m the oldest brother. I know my brother. I know what he stood for. What he was all about. Bringing the world together. Making kids happy. That’s the kind of person he was.”
The brothers sat with Gayle King, who challenged their certainty and asked for concrete evidence. Marlon Jackson claimed that his late brother was "never inappropriate" with children, and pointed to the singer's own testimony in court as proof.
"The facts are public record," he said. "I mean what he testified under oath are all the different things that he said."
The brothers also felt that it was unfair to make accusations against Jackson, who passed away in 2009, while he was unable to tell his side of the story.
"Michael's not here to defend himself," said Jackie Jackson.
As for the stories of Jackson's affection for young boys and the time he spent with them, his family felt that there was never anything sexual about Neverland.
“I grew up in it, so for me it wasn’t odd,” said Taj, who is now 45. “You know, I think, to the outside world, yes, I think it can be odd. I mean, I’m not oblivious to what it sounds like. But when you’re actually there in that atmosphere and you’re around it, and you’re watching movies, whether, with his kids, whether it’s Little Rascals or Three Stooges, and you’re watching these things, it’s like, it’s very innocent.”
Jackson's estate has filed a lawsuit against HBO in the hopes of preventing Leaving Neverland from airing, according to a report by PEOPLE. However, the network said it still plans to move forward with the documentary.
Leaving Neverland premieres on Sunday, March 3 and Monday, March 4 on HBO.