In the days after Leaving Neverland premiered on HBO, decades-old video of LaToya Jackson addressing her brother’s alleged sexual crimes resurfaced on the internet. The footage was taken in 1993, as Michael Jackson was under investigation for molesting multiple children, including 13-year-old Jordie Chandler, one of the two men the four-hour documentary focuses on.
LaToya spoke candidly about the allegations, and suggested Michael was guilty of sexual abuse. “Michael is my brother, I love him a great deal but I cannot, and will not, be a silent collaborator of his crimes against small, innocent children,” she said. “If I remain silent, then it means I fuel the guilt and humiliation these children are feeling and I think it’s very wrong.”
LaToya went on to claim to have seen large checks written out to the families of Michael’s alleged victims, suggesting the singer and his team had attempted to purchase the parents’ silence. She also said that she, too, was a victim of sexual abuse and, therefore, understood the pain the children were feeling.
“Now you stop and think for one second and you tell me, what 35-year-old man is going to take a little boy and stay with him for 30 days? And take another boy and stay with him for five days in a room and never leave the room?” she asked during the press conference. “How many of you out there are 35 years old? How many would take little kids and do that? That are nine, 10, 11 years old? I love my brother but it’s wrong. I don’t want to see these kids hurt.”
According to the Daily Mail, LaToya was estranged from her family at the time she made the allegations, and was accused of attempting to profit off of lies. LaToya retracted her statements years later, claiming her then-husband forced her to make the accusations for financial gain.
Leaving Neverland is an exhaustively in-depth documentary that explores the child molestation claims made against the late King of Pop. In the days since the documentary’s premiere, there has been a surge of Jackson boycotts: A number of radio stations have decided to pull the singer’s material from rotation, and The Simpsons have announced to remove a 1991 episode in which Michael had appeared.
The artist’s estate has continued to deny the sexual abuse allegations.