Arguments over skin-bleaching and vitiligo, strained relationships with siblings and an elusive love life are just a few of the many distractions from Michael Jackson’s legendary legacy as an entertainer and his honorary “King Of Pop” title. In addition, accusations of sex abuse that occurred several times during the “Thriller” artist’s career have tainted his many contributions to music as we now know it.
VIBE reports on Tuesday, Dec. 19, a judge dismissed the lawsuit brought by a choreographer who alleged Michael Jackson molested him as a child, resolving one of the last major claims against the late singer’s holdings.
A ruling against now 35-year-old Wade Robson made by Judge Mitchell L. Beckloff found that the two Jackson-owned corporations, which were the remaining defendants in the case, were not liable for Robson’s exposure to Jackson. Judge Beckloff didn’t rule on the credibility of Robson’s allegations themselves and Robson’s attorney, Vince Finaldi, said he strongly disagrees and plans to appeal. He says the ruling sets a dangerous precedent by basically saying that organizations cannot be held liable for abuse that a victim may suffer by simply bringing together the victim and perpetrator, much like saying a school cannot be held liable for assault that takes place between a teacher and a student. Finaldi expressed his thoughts to The Associated Press:
“What the judge is saying is that you if own a corporation or a company, you can hire people, use these people to facilitate your sexual abuse, use them to facilitate victims.”
“So long as you’re the sole owner of that corporation, the corporation can’t be held liable.”
Jackson’s estate attorney Howard Weitzman of course disagrees and says that the accusations were based on greed more than suffering:
“In my opinion Mr. Robson’s allegations, made 20 plus years after they supposedly occurred and years after Mr. Robson testified twice under oath — including in front of a jury — that Michael Jackson had never done anything wrong to him was always about the money rather than a search for the truth.”
According to Billboard, Robson is originally from Australia and has worked with Britney Spears and ‘NSYNC as a dancer and choreographer. He met Jackson when he was 5-years-old and testified in Jackson’s defense at the singer’s 2005 criminal trial, saying he had spent the night at Jackson’s Neverland Ranch more than 20 times and usually slept in Jackson’s room, but Jackson never molested him. Jackson was acquitted in that trial.
However in 2013, about four years after the singer’s death, Robson sued the Jackson estate for what his attorneys described as molestation that spanned a seven-year period. In 2015 a court ruled that Robson had filed his lawsuit too late to receive any of Jackson’s estate. At that point, two defendants remained, both corporate entities owned by Jackson in his lifetime: MJJ Productions, Inc., and MJJ Ventures, Inc.
Finaldi shares that he believes Jackson’s estate attorneys have no interest in uncovering the truth:
“If someone’s trying to search for the truth, why not let the lawsuit proceed?”
“Why not exonerate him and let a jury decide.”
Either way, we’re sure there will be many that will continue to debate whether Jackson was capable of the behavior he was repeatedly accused of. But for now, it seems that his estate will not be held liable for whatever did or didn’t happen.