Sunday, July 21, 2024

Michael Jackson Protege Changes Story, Files Sexual Molestation Claim


Both CNN and TMZ say they have papers filed with the Michael Jackson estate by Wade Robson saying he was sexually molested by Michael Jackson when he was a child. The filing is to get money from the estate posthumously. Robson, however, testified at Jackson’s child molestation trial in 2005 that nothing ever happened. His mother has also testified, and the family went on the record defending Jackson. So it’s a day late and a dollar short, as they say. But what is going on here?

Robson was the connection between Jackson and Britney Spears and NSync. Robson not only knew Jackson, but he was part of the boy band scene when he was very young. He did choreography for both Britney and Timberlake. He now works as a choreographer and for singer Demi Lovato.

The timing of Robson’s claim is curious at best. The Jackson family is suing AEG Live for all the money in the world. The trial is going on now, and both sides have warned about slinging mud.

But Robson’s claim doesn’t hold water. He has done many tributes to Jackson, and also was a guest at the Staples Center funeral in 2005.

On the stand in 2005, Robson underwent really severe questioning from Assistant District Attorney Ron Zonen about whether or nor he’d been abused by Jackson in the past. Tom Mesereau had put Robson on the stand as a defense witness.

Here’s what I wrote back then: Mesereau responded to a challenge from Deputy District Attorney Ron Zonen, who asked Robson, on cross-examination, what he thought of a person — meaning Jackson — who was obsessed with sexually explicit material.

Mesereau countered by offering that Jackson merely had copies of Playboy and Penthouse magazines. And that’s when things slipped out of control.

Zonen, looking like Monte Hall from “Let’s Make a Deal,” rushed to the clerk’s desk and began opening brown paper bags filled with magazines and books that had been confiscated from Neverland, Jackson’s home. They were graphic and of a homosexual nature.

With Robson on the stand, the usually mild-mannered Zonen started a rapid-fire presentation that was exhausting and exhilarating.

He kept bringing more and more material to the witness stand, asking Robson, in effect, over and over: “Would you let your 12-year-old son sleep with a man who owned this material?”

All of the books and magazines featured naked boys with exposed genitalia, with Zonen emphasizing the words “naked” and “genitalia.”

One book, Zonen said, “depicted a series of photos of sodomy,” which he then defined for the room. He handed Robson a book and said, “Strum through it.”

Robson, to his credit, held his own for most of the time.

Of one publication, he said, “It’s not a pornographic book,” but his resolve was shaken as the examples got worse.

One book was called “Boys Will Be Boys,” another “Men: A Sexual Study.” There was also “Hard Rock Affair” and “Before the Hand of Man.”

While Robson, with no objections from Mesereau, paged through these things, he tried to minimize the idea of Jackson, a modern Peter Pan, as a hoarder of male-oriented pornography.

Things got so bad that when the questioning returned to Mesereau, the defense lawyer actually pointed out Robson’s fiancée and said, “You’re straight, aren’t you?”

By then, all of Robson’s good intentions to help Jackson seemed like they’d faded.

Shaking his head, Robson said, “I can’t imagine people around the world are watching me do this.”

Mesereau did his best to correct the many negative impressions the jury was now suddenly saddled with.

“When you were a child, did Mr. Jackson ever show you sexually explicit material?” he asked.

The answer was no.

Had he seen any depictions in all the books Zonen had shown him of an adult having sex with a child?

Again, Robson said no.

Knowing all this, had Robson changed his mind about Jackson?

No again.

Roger Friedman
Roger Friedman
Roger Friedman began his Showbiz411 column in April 2009 after 10 years with Fox News, where he created the Fox411 column. His movie reviews are carried by Rotten Tomatoes, and he is a member of both the movie and TV branches of the Critics Choice Awards. His articles have appeared in dozens of publications over the years including New York Magazine, where he wrote the Intelligencer column in the mid 90s and covered the OJ Simpson trial, and Fox News (when it wasn't so crazy) where he covered Michael Jackson. He is also the writer and co-producer of "Only the Strong Survive," a selection of the Cannes, Sundance, and Telluride Film festivals, directed by DA Pennebaker and Chris Hegedus.

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