Australian dance choreographer Wade Robson has alleged in a US TV interview how a “magical” first visit to Michael Jackson’s Neverland Ranch as a seven-year-old boy led to the pop star sexually abusing him.
Robson, now 36, and another alleged Jackson victim, American James Safechuck, 40, feature in the controversial new two-part documentary, Leaving Neverland, that recently premiered at the Sundance Film Festival.
The two have detailed the alleged extensive grooming and horrific abuse to CBS’s Gayle King in a new interview, saying Jackson taught them how to masturbate, performed oral sex on them and referred to their encounters as his “first”.
Mr Safechuck claimed that Jackson made him feel like the relationship was “loving”.
Mr Robson said Jackson instilled fear in him that if anybody ever learned of the abuse they would both go to jail.
Jackson was touring Australia when he first met five-year-old dance prodigy Mr Robson, a friendship grew and Mr Robson and his family were invited to stay at Neverland Ranch in California. As a child Mr Robson had idolised the pop star, saying he had his hair permed to look like him.
“This was just the most magical thing I’d ever seen,” Mr Robson, describing visiting Neverland for the first time, told CBS This Morning on Thursday. On a tour of the property Mr Robson alleged Jackson gave him and his sister the option of staying the night in a guest room or with him.
“And my reaction was, ‘Of course, I want stay with you’,” Mr Robson said. When it was time for Mr Robson’s family to leave the ranch and visit the Grand Canyon, Mr Robson said he and Jackson were so upset they cried.
Mr Robson said he was allowed to stay the week with Jackson alone, but the first or second night Jackson allegedly started “to touch my legs and touch my crotch over my pants”.
“For the couple of days prior the abuse, he started touching me. Hand on my leg. Lots of hugs. Kissing my forehead,” Mr Robson said.
“So there had been this development of physical closeness.”
Mr Robson described the developing relationship he felt with Jackson as “like a father”.
“Within either the first or second night of Michael and I being alone at Neverland… Michael just sort of starting to touch my legs and touch my crotch over my pants. It progressed to him performing oral sex on me, him showing me how to perform oral sex on him.” — Wade Robson pic.twitter.com/IX1BTuJlLB
— CBS This Morning (@CBSThisMorning) 28 February 2019
“[Michael Jackson] introduced me to masturbation. He said I taught him how to French kiss and then it moves onto oral sex.” — James Safechuck pic.twitter.com/1LAyKRvnU6
— CBS This Morning (@CBSThisMorning) 28 February 2019
“It progressed to him performing oral sex on me, him showing me how to perform oral sex on him,” Mr Robson alleged.
Mr Robson said Jackson told him, “God brought us together. We love each other … and this is how we show each other our love.”
“The training, Michael’s training of me, to testify, began the first night that he began abusing me.
“He started telling me that if anybody ever finds out we’ll both go to jail. Both of our lives will be over.”
Mr Safechuck, who was nine when he first met Jackson when he was cast in a Pepsi commercial, said the pop star groomed him in a similar way.
“He introduced me to masturbation. He said I taught him how to French kiss. And then it moved on to oral sex.”
Mr Safechuck said the grooming was so extensive that as a child he felt like the abuse was happening in the context of “a loving, close relationship”.
“There’s no alarm bells going off in your head or anything like that,” he said.
“Really it’s just, I love this person and we’re trying to make each other happy.
“He said I was his ‘first’. As a kid you don’t know what that means.”
Mr Safechuck said coming forward has been “difficult” and he believes there are many more victims.
He said he is “fighting back for little James. Nobody fought for me as a kid, but I’m old enough now to fight for myself.”
Jackson’s brothers Jackie, Marlon and Tito and nephew Taj have rejected the allegations, and accused Mr Robson and Mr Safechuck of being motivated by money.
Mr Robson and Mr Safechuck said they were not compensated for participating in the documentary and have no stake in it.
“It’s an old argument,”Mr Safechuck said of the family’s claims the alleged victims were motivated by greed.
Mr Robson, who went on to work with Britney Spears and boy band NSYNC, previously was a staunch supporter of Jackson, with the Australian testifying at Jackson’s 2005 criminal trial in California involving another alleged child victim. Because of this he has come under intense scrutiny from fans and supporters of Jackson.
“I wish that I could have played a role in, at that point, stopping Michael from abusing however many other kids he did after that,” Mr Robson told CBS, claiming he wasn’t ready to come forward.
Jackson was acquitted after Mr Robson testified Jackson never sexually abused him.
Jackson died in 2009 and in a surprise move, Mr Robson went public with his abuse claims and filed a civil lawsuit against the Jackson estate alleging he had been molested by the pop star from the age of seven to 14.
A Los Angeles judge tossed the case in 2015, ruling Mr Robson waited too long to file and missed the 12-month statutory deadline after Jackson’s death. The judge did not rule on the credibility of Mr Robson’s allegations.
Mr Robson and Mr Safechuck said it was not until they had their own children that they came to terms with what they claim Jackson did to them.
“If I never had a son, I might still be in silence. I think there’s a really good chance,” Mr Robson said.
Safechuck added that he never had intentions of sharing the depraved abuse Jackson put him through.
“Would I have taken this to my grave? I certainly planned on doing that.”
Leaving Neverland premieres Friday, March 8 on Network 10 and the WIN Network.
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