Madonna has slammed the public “lynch mob” that condemned Michael Jackson as a paedophile after damning accusations about the late singer were aired in a documentary.
The queen of pop spoke for the first time about the allegations made in Leaving Neverland by Wade Robson and James Safechuck who say Jackson groomed and sexually molested them as boys.
Since Leaving Neverland premiered, Jackson’s musical legacy has been called into question, with some radio stations pulling his music from the airwaves.
The singer died in 2009 and denied all allegations of paedophilia in the decades before his death.
Madonna, who rose to fame in the 1980s at the same time as Jackson, brought the Thriller singer as her date to the 1991 Oscars, later revealing the two shared a kiss on the night.
Speaking to the June issue of British Vogue, Madonna said she was yet to see Leaving Neverland but knew what it was like to have untrue accusations “hurled at me”.
“I don’t have a lynch-mob mentality, so in my mind, people are innocent until proven guilty,” she told the magazine, according to Sky News.
“I’ve had a thousand accusations hurled at me that are not true. So my attitude when people tell me things about people is, ‘Can you prove it?’”
When asked what would count as proof of Jackson guilt, Madonna answered: “I don’t know, I haven’t seen the film.
“But I guess it would be people recounting actual events — but then, of course, people sometimes lie.
“So I always say, ‘What’s the agenda? What do people want out of this? Are there people asking for money, is there some kind of extortion thing happening?’
“I would take all of those things into consideration.”
Madonna is the latest celebrity friend of Jackson’s to comment on the allegations made against him in Leaving Neverland.
In March Barbara Streisand was forced to apologise after saying Mr Safechuck and Mr Robson had been “thrilled” to spend time at Jackson’s Neverland ranch.
“(His) sexual needs were his sexual needs, coming from whatever childhood he has or whatever DNA he has,” she told UK newspaper The Times.
“You can say ‘molested’, but those children, as you heard say, they were thrilled to be there. They both married, and they both have children, so it didn’t kill them.”
This is what’s on my heart this morning. I believe and trust that Michael Jackson was and is A magnificent incredible force to me and to many others.
STOP IN THE NAME OF LOVE— Ms. Ross (@DianaRoss)
Jackson’s family has also rubbished the allegations made against the singer in Leaving Neverland.
The Michael Jackson estate is suing HBO for broadcasting the documentary, claiming it breaches a non-disparagement contract Jackson had with the cable giant
The non-disparagement agreement was made in a 1992 deal that allowed HBO to air a Jackson concert on the cable channel once.
In a court brief filed this week, HBO has argued the Jackson estate’s claims of a breach are based on an “expired and entirely unrelated” 26-year-old contract, according to The Hollywood Reporter.