Michael Jackson Accusers Open Up About Once Testifying on His Behalf: ‘I Wish I Was Ready’ Then
Wade Robson and James Safechuck opened up about the allegations they made in new documentary Leaving Neverland, set to premiere in March
Michael Jackson‘s accusers are speaking out in a new interview.
In the documentary Leaving Neverland, one of the most buzzed-about films to debut at the Sundance Film Festival last month and set to premiere on HBO in March, Wade Robson and James Safechuck allege Jackson molested them as boys.
Robson, now 36, and Safechuck, now 40, spoke with co-host Gayle King in a CBS This Morning interview that aired Thursday morning — one day after members of Jackson’s family denounced the two men in a Wednesday interview with King.
“One of the ways I remember it starting is Michael just sort of starting to touch my legs and touch my crotch over my pants,” Robson claimed. “It progressed to him performing oral sex on me, him showing me how to perform oral sex on him.”
“As Michael started doing these sexual acts,” Robson continued later, “he started talking to me about, ‘God brought us together, we love each other and this is how we show each other our love.’ ”
When King asked if they ever found Jackson’s alleged actions “weird,” Safechuck claimed that he didn’t.
“It’s in the context of a loving, close relationship so … there’s no alarm bells going off in your head or any thoughts like that,” he said. “Really, it’s just, ‘I love this person and we’re trying to make each other happy.’ And he said I was his first. But even as a kid, you don’t even know what that means. You don’t — you don’t even question it further than that.”
“It was, again, the feeling was, ‘Out of all the kids in the world, here I am and Michael chose me’ and he also told me that, you know, ‘I’ve never done this with anybody else.’ Yeah. So that was more, too. Wow,” Robson added. “He chooses me and he loves me.”
Robson and Safechuck have both denied being molested by Jackson in the past. Robson previously appeared as a witness for Jackson’s defense during a sexual abuse trial in 2005 in which the pop star was acquitted of child molestation charges.
“Michael’s training of me to testify began the first night that he started abusing me,” Robson alleged. “He started telling me that, ‘If anybody else ever finds out, we’ll both go to jail, both of our lives will be over.’ ”
“I wish that I was ready,” Robson continued. “I wish … that I could’ve played a role in, at that point, stopping Michael from abusing however many other kids he did after that.”
RELATED VIDEO: Michael Jackson’s Family Speaks Out Against Sexual Abuse Allegations in New Documentary
In a separate interview with King, which aired on Wednesday, Jackson’s family — including Jackson’s brothers, Tito, Marlon, and Jackie Jackson, as well as Jackson’s nephew, Taj Jackson — denounced Robson and Safechuck.
“I know Michael,” Jackie, 67, said. “I’m the oldest brother. I know my brother. I know what he stood for. What he was all about. Bringing the world together. Making kids happy. That’s the kind of person he was.”
Taj, 45, claimed that he believes Robson and Safechuck are only coming forward for “money”: “It’s always been about money,” he claimed. “I hate to say it. When it’s my uncle, it’s almost like they see a blank check.”
Jackson’s estate has filed a lawsuit against HBO over the planned broadcast of Leaving Neverland.
Two co-executors of Jackson’s estate and Optimum Productions are suing the network and its parent company, Time Warner, for $100 million, claiming that airing the two-part film will violate a non-disparagement clause, according to court documents obtained by PEOPLE.
In the suit, the estate claims the film violates a clause in a 1992 contract, written up ahead of a televised concert that year — in which HBO agreed to not speak ill of Jackson.
In a statement obtained by PEOPLE, HBO said, “Despite the desperate lengths taken to undermine the film, our plans remain unchanged. HBO will move forward with the airing of Leaving Neverland, the two-part documentary, on March 3 and 4. This will allow everyone the opportunity to assess the film and the claims in it for themselves.”
In the lawsuit, the estate calls the HBO documentary a “posthumous character assassination,” violating the non-disparagement terms of the 1992 contract.
Leaving Neverland was one of the most buzzed-about films when it debuted at the Sundance Film Festival in January. A first look at the documentary was released last week, including chilling allegations by Robson and Safechuck.
Jackson’s estate issued a statement to PEOPLE in January ahead of the Sundance premiere and blasted the documentary (directed and produced by Dan Reed) as a “pathetic attempt” to make money off of the singer.
“This is yet another lurid production in an outrageous and pathetic attempt to exploit and cash in on Michael Jackson,” the statement read. “Wade Robson and James Safechuck have both testified under oath that Michael never did anything inappropriate toward them. Safechuck and Robson, the latter a self-proclaimed ‘master of deception’, filed lawsuits against Michael’s Estate, asking for millions of dollars. Both lawsuits were dismissed.”
The documentary’s director, however, rebuked these claims in a statement to PEOPLE. “Anyone who sees the film will know it is solely about hearing the stories of two specific individuals and their families in their own words, and that is a focus we are very proud of,” Reed said. “We feel no need to include the opinions of people with no direct knowledge of what happened to those individuals.”
Jackson was 50 years old when he was found dead on June 25, 2009, in his L.A. mansion. He is survived by his three children: Prince Michael, 22, Paris, 20, and 17-year-old “Blanket,” who now goes by Bigi.
Leaving Neverland premieres March 3 and 4 on HBO.