Wade Robson is an Australian choreographer and dancer who made headlines in 2013 when he accused the late pop icon, Michael Jackson, of sexual abuse. Robson was thrust into the limelight again when his story was featured in the 2019 documentary “Leaving Neverland.” Robson had a long and complicated relationship with the embattled singer that began when Robson was five years old.
Robson Meets His Hero, Michael Jackson
As a child, Robson was a huge fan of Michael Jackson and gained notice competing in dance competitions where he would mimic Jackson’s famous dance moves. He first met the pop star at the age of five, when Michael was touring Australia. Two years later, Robson came to the United States to perform with Johnny Young’s Talent School in Disneyland. Jackson would later invite Wade and his family to stay with him in his Neverland Ranch home.
Robson Defends His Hero
The first allegations against Jackson surfaced in 1993 and were settled out of court without resulting in charges. Jackson was charged with child sexual abuse in 2005. Robson denied ever being abused in 1993 and testified at the 2005 trial that though he had slept in Jackson’s bedroom on several occasions, he had never been abused.
Robson Changes His Story
In 2013, Robson alleged that Jackson had sexually abused him twice when he was between the ages of seven and 14 in a civil lawsuit. He claimed his previous defense of Jackson was due to “manipulation and brainwashing.” He said he was motivated to tell the true story by becoming a father and experiencing multiple nervous breakdowns. Robson’s case was dismissed in 2015 because the statutory deadline had passed. His allegations would later be featured in the documentary “Leaving Neverland.”
Robson Faces Backlash over Michael Jackson
The backlash from fans of Michael Jackson began shortly after “Leaving Neverland” premiered on HBO. Angry Jackson supporters created websites and launched social media campaigns calling Robson a liar. Jackson’s estate called the film a, “lurid production in an outrageous and pathetic attempt to exploit and cash in on Michael Jackson.” The estate would later release a 10-page letter lambasting HBO Chief Executive Richard Plepler for greenlighting the project. Jackson’s long-time attorney, John Branca, has suggested that were Jackson alive today, he would have a good chance of winning a libel suit against Robson.
Robson’s changing accounts and relationship with Jackson over the years has lead many people to question his motivations. However, Robson continues to insist that his allegations are true.
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