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15 March 2019, 10:30
HBO documentary Leaving Neverland has brought historic sex abuse claims against Michael Jackson back to the forefront of the public's consciousness, as it focuses on accusations made by Wade Robson and James Safechuck.
While the new two-part documentary also mentions Home Alone child actor Macaulay Culkin and Brett Barnes, viewers have criticised Dan Reed's film for not featuring their views on the sex abuse claims made against the 'Bad' singer.
At the time of the legal trial in 2005 and since then, Culkin has vehemently defended Michael Jackson, stating the claims were "absolutely ridiculous" and denying that he was ever sexually abused by the 'King of Pop'. Likewise, Brett Barnes denies the accusations.
Now, in the wake of Leaving Neverland, Macaulay Culkin's original testimony and old interviews have resurfaced.
Like Robson and Safeshuck, Macaulay Culkin visited the Neverland Ranch in California multiples times from the age of 9, after he starred in MJ's music video for 'Black or White' in 1991.
However, the Home Alone and Uncle Buck star has always denied claims that he was sexually abused by Michael.
Interestingly, Culkin did verify that Michael Jackson had an alarm set up to alert him of anyone approaching his bedroom on the property, which corroborates with what Wade and James have said.
Culkin testified: "There was like a walkway kind of thing, where if somebody was approaching the door, it would kind of like ‘ding-dong, ding-dong'
“When anyone would approach the room, yeah, you’d hear this kind of… soft kind of alarm, like ‘ding-dong’ kind of thing.”
At the same trial, a former Neverland Ranch chef testified that he he had witnessed Michael Jackson acting inappropriately with Culkin, saying that Jackson had put his hand down the actor's trousers.
Macaulay, now 38, refuted the claims again in a recent episode of the Inside of You podcast with Michael Rosenbaum, stating: “At the end of the day, it's almost easy to say it was weird or whatever, but it wasn't, because it made sense. We were friends.
"I couldn’t believe that, first of all, these people were saying these things or… let alone that it was out there and people were thinking that kind of thing about me.”
Michael Jackson first faced allegations of child molestation in 1993 after dentist Evan Chandler accused MJ of abusing his son Jordan "Jordy" Chandler, then 13. It was also claimed that Jackson had used a sedative in order to carry out the abuse.
In January 1994, Jackson settled the civil lawsuit with the Chandlers for $23,000,000. In September that same year, the criminal investigation against Jackson was closed.
He then received fresh allegations and went to court in 2005 over claims he'd abused 13-year-old Gavin Arvizo.
Leaving Neverland has proven to be as divisive as the 2005 trial, with Michael Jackson fans questioning the credibility of Wade Robson and James Safechuck, and others - including Oprah - publicly supporting the two alleged victims.
The series explores the allegations made by Robson and Safechuck, and their relationship with the late Michael Jackson.
According to choreographer Wade Robson, now 36, the 'Black or White' hitmaker abused him between the age of 7-14.
In 1987, when Wade was five years old, he won a competition in Brisbane, Australia, to attend a Michael Jackson concert and meet him after.
Two years later, Wade and his family were invited to Jackson's Neverland Ranch in Santa Barbara, California.
Robson recalls Michael sending his mother, siblings and grandparents to the Grand Canyon, while he stayed at the ranch.
It is during this time that Robson claims Michael Jackson began sexually abusing him.
Speaking about why he decided to do the documentary, Robson said: “I want to be able to speak the truth as loud as I had to speak the lie for so long.”
Dancer and choreographer James 'Jimmy' Safechuck also features in the documentary.
Safechuck first met Michael Jackson when he was cast in a Pepsi ad with the star.
In Leaving Neverland, James and his family describe how Jackson integrated himself into their family.
According to Safechuck, Michael abused him from the age of 10 until he was 14.
In 1993, James defended Michael in his child sex abuse trial, but refused to testify in the 2005 trial.
It was only later, following the death of Michael Jackson in 2009, that James Safechuck and Wade Robson came forward and spoke about their abuse.
In 2013, James filed a lawsuit against Jackson’s estate which was later dismissed.