Michael Jackson 'innocent until proven guilty' of sexual assaults, says Madonna

In an interview for the June issue of British Vogue, Madonna offered her thoughts about documentary Leaving Neverland, which profiles two adult men who claim that Michael Jackson sexually abused them as children.
In an interview for the June issue of British Vogue, Madonna offered her thoughts about documentary Leaving Neverland, which profiles two adult men who claim that Michael Jackson sexually abused them as children.PHOTO: AFP

NEW YORK (dpa) - The Queen of Pop is not ready to dethrone the King of Pop just yet - despite a global backlash caused by a recent documentary that reopened allegations that Michael Jackson sexually abused children.

In an interview for the June issue of British Vogue, Madonna offered her thoughts about documentary Leaving Neverland. It profiles two adult men who claim that the late music icon sexually abused them as children.

Jackson's music was banned from radio stations in Canada, New Zealand and Australia in the wake of the two-part film's airing.

Madonna, who once was a rival and then a friend of Jackson's, said she did not watch the film, and that she did not want to take the claims against him at face value.

"I don't have a lynch-mob mentality, so in my mind, people are innocent until proven guilty," she said.

"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 probed further about what some have interpreted as proof of Jackson's guilt in the film, she replied: "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?'" she added.

"I would take all of those things into consideration."

Madonna and Jackson achieved astronomical success in the 1980s and became two of the biggest pop culture stars in history.

In 1991, they went on a date to the Oscars, creating a paparazzi frenzy.

When Jackson died in 2009, she eulogised him during the MTV Video Music Awards special tribute.

"My God, he was so unique, so original, so rare, and there will never be anyone like him again," she shared. "He was a king."