The BBC received more than 150 complaints from viewers declaring a new documentary about Michael Jackson to be “biased” against the late singer.
Airing on BBC2, The Real Michael Jackson saw documentary maker Jacques Peretti look at the late singer’s history and his own relationship to it in light of recent allegations of sexual abuse made against the singer.
As reported on the
BBC website, the airing of the feature length documentary on 30 March prompted 168 complaints for the channel, with the report citing “bias against Michael Jackson” as the main issue for viewers.
The Real Michael Jackson is Peretti’s fourth film about Jackson, but his first following the release of Leaving Neverland in 2019, which saw Wade Robson and James Safechuck allege that the singer abused them when they were young boys. Jackson’s family deny the allegations.
In the new documentary, Jackson’s friend J Randy Taraborrelli discussed the musician’s relationship with children, recalling the first time he saw Jackson spending time with a 12-year-old boy.
“I went out into his backyard and there’s Michael with this kid and they’re laughing and rolling around on the basketball court and wrestling,” he said.
“And it was so unusual. I asked him, ‘Why are you hanging out with this little kid?’ and he explained, “Because I like him, and he is fun, and he’s a good actor, and I feel I can teach him the ropes of how it is in the entertainment business.’”
Taraborrelli added: “I was straight with him and said, ‘I think it’s weird.’ Not that I thought it was sexual, it never crossed my mind that there was anything sexual about it, I just told Michael, ‘I wouldn’t have a 12-year-old friend, why do you? We’re in our twenties, why do you have a friend that is 12 years old?’”
Journalist Taraborrelli said that he found it hard to believe the sexual abuse claims made against Jackson in Leaving Neverland, but admitted that his friendship with the singer meant he couldn’t “watch it with an open mind”.
The issue has continue to generate funny and controversial discussions on twitter.