The documentary Leaving Neverland presented a disturbing portrayal of Michael Jackson as a child molester, but the initial wave of negative publicity did not greatly diminish the image of the King of Pop or the enduring popularity of his music.
Many believe that Jackson's musical legacy is still strong as we reach the tenth anniversary of his death on June 25, 2009. The repercussion on the documentary that aired in March around the world has made New Zealand radio stations and Canada stopped playing their music. producers of The Simpsons to remove an episode that contained the voice of Jackson.
But this has been the most visible extension of the reaction.
There were no rescue honors as happened with Bill Cosby and Harvey Weinstein, or mass movements to stop playing Jackson's music, as R & B singer R. Kelly faced.
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The Simpsons took their Michael Jackson episode of distribution and streaming services in the United States in March.
Jackson is very popular Thriller The album and theatrical version of his music video still reside in the National Recording Registry of the Library of Congress. His music is still featured in commercials and is part of a Cirque Du Soleil show in Las Vegas.
Museums in Detroit and Tennessee keep images and artifacts from Jackson on display, and his memorabilia continues to sell.
"He still commands prices compared to any other celebrity," said Darren Julien, president and CEO of Julien's Auctions in Culver City, California. He said his auction house sold about $ 15 million of superstar singer's estate, including his white glove that was to $ 480,000 in 2009 and a jacket, which was recently bought for $ 75,000.
Julien said that Russia, Asia, the Middle East, Canada and America are some of the major markets where buyers are willing to spend money on Jackson's goods.
"He's the only celebrity we would have lines of people to get into whenever we had things to sell at auction," he continued. "There's only one person who compares to Marilyn Monroe collectively – and that's Michael Jackson."
Billboard's senior publisher Gail Mitchell is not surprised by Jackson's support, which she has met before. For a recent story, the veteran music journalist said she and a colleague interviewed about 30 music executives who believe the singer's legacy could withstand Leaving Neverland& # 39; controversy.
"Some saw the movie, some did not want to," she said. [Jackson] you're not here to defend yourself the way R. Kelly is here. … The jury is always probably leaving. But all the executives said their legacy will be fine.
Mitchell recently attended Janet Jackson's residency performance in Las Vegas where the singer played several songs of her brother who had "people dancing and vibrating" while the "crowd went mad" during classic songs of The Jackson 5, which she called the highlights of the show ".
"There was an aura about him," Mitchell said of Jackson. "He had energy in terms of talent and dance, and I still think the aura still exists to some degree. I know it has been spotted, but I think overall there is no denying what he brought to the table."
Jackson died at age 50 from an overdose of the anesthetic propofol on June 25, 2009. In an instant, Jackson's popularity rose after years tainted by allegations of sexual abuse and a 2005 child molestation trial that ended with his absolution. After Jackson's death, the criminal case almost became a belated reflection until Leaving Neverland It was released.
The documentary focused on two men, Wade Robson and James Safechuck, who denied Jackson had abused them while the singer was still alive. Both said that having their own children forced them to face the truth.
Jackson acknowledged having friendship with several children, including some he invited to his bed, but denied having molested any of them.
His estate also vehemently denied the claims of Robson and Safechuck, calling the documentary retread of proven falsehoods of men in search of money. A lawsuit has been filed against HBO.
Despite the documentary, Jackson's music streaming numbers continued to rise, according to Ian Drew, Billboard's consumer editorial director. He said that Jackson's estate has been smart in keeping his music relevant, but he may be down on those who are "scared" of the allegations.
Jackson's nephew said his legacy will never be destroyed.
"No lie can destroy what was given to us as a blessing from God, and that's what my uncle was," said Sigmund "Siggy" Jackson, son of Jackson's older brother Jackie Jackson. "You can never destroy his legacy with an insignificant lie.He will be here.And even after God calls us home, his legacy will remain alive and will never be overthrown."
Film producer Jodi Gomes agrees. She believes Jackson's legacy will live from this generation to the next, no matter what.
Gomes said the family was working on a documentary about the Jackson's 50th birthday. The contract was ready to be signed with a network, but she said she backed off later Leaving Neverland.
"The 50-year anniversary was planned and the whole family was attending and it was a celebration of what Jackson's entire brand started to do, and now that's lost in the confusion," said Gomes, who worked on the 2009 reality show. The Jacksons: A Family Dynasty and the 1992 miniseries The Jacksons: An American Dream.
Siggy Jackson said his uncle's legacy will continue to win despite the "enemies", but he understood the logic of some companies not affiliated with Michael Jackson.
"This is standard business. You wait until the heat burns, so you can see after the smoke falls," he said. "I do not blame anyone for backing off, but as far as the family is concerned, that does not stop them.