Kanye West Has Defended Michael Jackson’s Legacy In A New Interview.
Michael Jackson’s status as one of the most celebrated pop musicians of all time has taken a battering since the airing of Leaving Neverland on HBO last year, with the documentary featuring lengthy interviews with two men – Wade Robson and James Safechuck – who both accused him of abusing them as children.
In a chat with Pharrell Williams published on the i-D magazine website, West spoke about the Thriller hitmaker’s status as an icon – and claimed media outlets and documentarians should not be allowed to attack Jackson, who died at the age of 50 in 2009.
“He kissed Elvis Presley’s daughter on MTV,” he said of what made the King of Pop unique as a black musician. “Black culture used to be… we used to be fronting all night, but Michael was doing stuff that was different to what we were programmed to understand as being what we should do. He bought The Beatles’ back catalogue. That was Mike Jackson, right there.”
Attacking the late star’s critics, West continued: “We should have something that says we can’t allow any company to tear down our heroes. Not on (the gossip website) The Shade Room, not on social media, and especially not in documentaries.”
The Jesus Walks hitmaker went on to compare Jackson’s portrayal in the media to his own treatment.
“I’m like every time the media isn’t happy with me it’s like, ‘Here they go. They’re gonna come and Wacko Jacko me.’ Which in some ways, they’ve tried to do,” the rapper mused.
Allegations of child sexual abuse against Jackson first surfaced when teenager Jordy Chandler accused him of molestation in 1993, with the singer settling a lawsuit for $23 million. He was also acquitted of abusing another boy, Gavin Arvizo, at trial in 2005 and denied all allegations until his death.
Robson and Safechuck, who befriended Jackson as children, denied they had been abused during his lifetime but subsequently filed lawsuits alleging abuse and detailed their claims in Leaving Neverland.