NPR

Michael Jackson: A Quarter-Century Of Sexual Abuse Allegations

The documentary Leaving Neverland has revived allegations of sexual abuse against Michael Jackson. As early as 1993, young boys and their families were accusing the megastar.
Michael Jackson, leaving the Santa Barbara County courthouse during his 2005 criminal trial. Source: Carlo Allegri

The two-part documentary Leaving Neverland, which began airing on HBO on Sunday night, tells the story of two men, Wade Robson and James Safechuck, who accuse Michael Jackson of having sexually abused them for years, beginning when they were respectively about seven and 10 years old.

Michael Jackson's estate continues to deny all allegations, as the entertainer did in his lifetime. His estate has sued HBO for distributing the Dan Reed-directed documentary, which debuted at the Sundance Film Festival in January; in its filings, the estate called Leaving Neverland a "posthumous character assassination."

It's no secret that, before and even after his death in 2009, Jackson was the subject of multiple sexual abuse accusations and police investigations as well as civil and criminal lawsuits. This timeline lays out key dates, known allegations and the main accusations the artist and his estate have faced, going back more than a quarter century.

December 1986: James Safechuck meets Michael Jackson on a Pepsi ad set

A 10-year-old California boy, James (Jimmy) Safechuck, is hired to appear in alongside Michael Jackson. In , Safechuck says that Jackson befriended him and his family after the ad began airing, that the singer was immediately generous to him and allegedly began lavishing him with gifts — including, Safechuck says, from the "Thriller" video. Safechuck and his family also say that Jackson began flying them for visits and on vacations.

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