On Sunday, British tabloid News of the World premiered a three-minute snippet of an unaired [artist id=”1102″]Michael Jackson[/artist] video interview.
The clip — purportedly taken from a three-hour video — shows Jackson fielding a series of questions from his legal team in preparation for a 1996 lawsuit filed against him by former staff members at his Neverland Valley Ranch . The topics covered include the allegations made by Jordan Chandler — who, along with his father, Evan, accused Jackson of sexual abuse in 1993 — his relationships with minors like Macaulay Culkin, whether he bleaches his skin.
The tape has never been made public and was filmed in March 1996. In it, Jackson — wearing a fedora and black satin jacket — chuckles uncomfortably and shakes his head in frustration when asked by an off-camera attorney about a variety of allegations levied against him, including, “Were you aware that Jordan Chandler, or his family on his behalf, filed a litigation against you?” “To your knowledge, Mr. Jackson, were you ever accused of having sexually molested Brett Barnes?” and “To your knowledge, were you ever accused of having sexually molested Macaulay [Culkin]?”
A second off-camera attorney instructs Jackson not to answer the questions.
The tape was made more than two years after Jackson settled out of court with the Chandler family and nearly nine years before Jackson’s 2005 acquittal on several child-molestation charges . In that case, prosecutors claimed that a former chef at Neverland had witnessed the singer molesting Culkin, charges that the actor denied.
In the 1996 suit brought against Jackson, five Neverland employees claimed they were wrongfully dismissed and said the singer had threatened them because they witnessed him behaving inappropriately with children. Jackson later won that civil case.
Later in the video, Jackson is asked to read a handwritten statement, which detailed “crazy stories people have created” about him. He says he prepared the list because he “wanted to set the record straight.”
“If people hear a lie long enough, people believe it. People have lied on me. I’m a black American and I’m proud of it, and I’m honored of it,” he says. “The bleached skin rumor … which is a rumor, I don’t bleach my skin. They once said I wanted a white kid to play me as a child, which was a rumor. … I’m not gay. Don’t judge a person unless you have spoke to them one on one.”
Jackson then continues reading from the note, explaining the reason he surrounded himself with children and worked with various children’s charities around the world.
“Jesus said to love the children and be like children. Be youthful and be innocent and be pure and honorable,” Jackson said. “He was talking to his apostles. And they were fighting over who was the greatest among themselves, and he said, ’Whoever humbles yourself like this child is the greatest among me.’ And he always surrounded himself with children, and that’s how I was raised, to be like that and to imitate that. I don’t know what you’re trying to make out of this.”
MTV’s live coverage of the Michael Jackson public memorial service at the Staples Center in Los Angeles will begin on Tuesday at 12 p.m. ET / 9 a.m. PT.
For complete coverage of the life, career and passing of the legendary entertainer, visit “Michael Jackson Remembered.”
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