Michael Jackson's friendship with 12-year-old was 'weird' but not sexual, reveals long-time confidante
In a new documentary, journalist J Randy Taraborrelli also said that he would have believed the allegations levelled in 'Leaving Neverland' if it was anyone other than the late pop star
One of Michael Jackson's lifelong confidantes has called the singer's friendship with children "weird".
Journalist J Randy Taraborrelli spoke about his relationship with the 'Thriller' singer after knowing him throughout his whole career in a new BBC2 documentary called 'The Real Michael Jackson'. While being interviewed, Taraborrelli was questioned about the allegations that Jackson was a pedophile.
Recalling the first time that he saw Jackson hanging around with a 12-year-old boy, Taraborrelli said, "I went out into his backyard and there’s Michael with this kid and they’re laughing and rolling around on the basketball court and wrestling."
"And it was so unusual. I asked him: 'Why are you hanging out with this little kid?' and he explained: 'Because I like him, and he is fun, and he’s a good actor, and I feel I can teach him the ropes of how it is in the entertainment business,'" Taraborrelli revealed, Metro reports.
He added how he was direct with Jackson and shared that it was "weird" for him to be hanging out with children. "Not that I thought it was sexual, it never crossed my mind that there was anything sexual about it, I just told Michael, 'I wouldn’t have a 12-year-old friend, why do you?'" he said.
He went to say that they were in their 20s and asked Jackson why he would have a friend who is 12-years-old. "When he explained it to me, I agreed it was okay," he shared.
During the show, he also addressed HBO's documentary 'Leaving Neverland', in which Wade Robson and James Safechuck have alleged that they were sexually abused by Jackson when they were younger.
"It was hard for me because I felt there was a lot of acting going on, but I know I brought my own bias when watching the show. I didn’t watch it with an open mind, I don’t know how anyone who knew Michael would sit there and watch it with an open mind," he said of the documentary.
When told that it looked as though Robson and Safechuck were telling the truth, he said, "I think I would have felt that way if it wasn’t Michael they were talking about."
Meaww previously reported that another friend of Jackson's, Rabbi Shmuley Boteach, believes that the late pop legend's accusers are telling the truth about the alleged sexual abuse. "I don't believe these men are lying, and I don't believe that the shame and guilt being experienced by their parents in general, maybe their mothers, in particular, is feigned," Boteach shared.
"There will have to now be a fundamental reassessment of the legacy of Michael Jackson, in light of this documentary." Speaking about a clip in 'Leaving Neverland' in which Jackson justifies sharing a bed with young children, Boteach said, "You cannot share a bed with someone else's child. That is immoral, that is unacceptable. It's deplorable."
"I could not believe that he had done that, and that he had said it, and that he didn't understand that there was something wrong," the rabbi added.
The documentary 'Leaving Neverland' left a big question mark over the legacy of Jackson who died in 2009 from acute propofol and benzodiazepine intoxication and suffered a cardiac arrest.