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Michael Jackson in 2004. Asked about the renewed allegations against the late superstar of child sex abuse in documentary Leaving Neverland, fellow star Madonna says: “I don’t have a lynch-mob mentality.” Photo: AP

Madonna says Michael Jackson ‘innocent until proven guilty’ of child sex assaults

  • Queen of Pop, no stranger to accusations that turn out to be untrue, says she always considers the agenda behind allegations like those in Leaving Neverland
  • ‘Is there some kind of extortion thing happening?’ she asks. The film profiling adults who make new claims about Jackson led to a backlash against late singer

The Queen of Pop isn’t ready to dethrone the King of Pop just yet – despite a global backlash caused by a recent documentary that reopened allegations Michael Jackson sexually abused children.

In a wide-ranging interview for the June issue of British Vogue, Madonna offered her thoughts about HBO’s hard-hitting film Leaving Neverland.

The Dan Reed-directed documentary – which profiles the two adult men who made new allegations that the late music icon sexually abused them as children – has been the subject of much debate since it debuted in late January on the premium cable channel. 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 friend of Jackson’s, said she didn’t watch the film, and that she didn’t 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,” the Material Girl singer told British Vogue. “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?’”

Questioned 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.

“People sometimes lie,” says Madonna of the documentary Leaving Neverland, which revives allegations against Michael Jackson of child abuse and which she confesses not to have seen. Photo: AP

“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?’. I would take all of those things into consideration.”

Madonna and Jackson, both groundbreaking artists, 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, Madonna 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.”