Women in Music 2016

Michael Jackson's Nephews File $100M Libel Suit Against 'Radar Online' Over 'Sleazy' Porn Allegations

CARL DE SOUZA/AFP/Getty Images
Michael Jackson addresses a press conference at the O2 arena in London on March 5, 2009. 

The lawsuit claims a series of stories published by the gossip website defame the late King of Pop and his three nephews.

Michael Jackson's nephews are taking Radar Online to court over stories that allege they were sexually abused by their uncle and accepted gifts to cover it up, stemming from purported documents from a 2003 raid of Neverland Ranch. 

Radar has built a business of publishing false, embarrassing and hurtful gossip for profit and its latest victims are the members of the band 3T, Taj, TJ and Taryll Jackson, according to the $100 million libel lawsuit filed Wednesday by Bert Fields. 

Michael Jackson's Daughter, Brothers Honor Him on Anniversary of His Death

"Radar has tried to profit by launching a vicious and unrelenting attack on [Jackson] based on claims that, years ago, he was guilty of sexual abuse, even though, at the time, he was found 'not guilty' of that very charge," Fields writes. "Radar represents its 'reports' as 'new' and based on official 'Detective Reports.' Not only have those Detective Reports been available to the public for many years, Radar has misrepresented what the Reports say."

In June, Radar Online posted a series of stories claiming newly discovered documents show Jackson had been "stockpiling images of pornography, animal torture, S&M and gore in a bid to seduce innocent young boys." Radar claims the documents came from Santa Barbara County Sheriff's Department reports and quotes a "private investigator with direct knowledge of the raids" saying "the report cites Michael even used sexy photos of his own nephews, who were in the band 3T, in their underwear to excite young boys.”

Fields says the statements are entirely false and argues that any reasonable reader would understand that to mean "plaintiffs knowingly allowed themselves to be photographed in salacious, lascivious poses and that they know or should have known that their photos would be, or at least could be used 'to excite young boys.'"

Michael Jackson's 2005 Child-Molestation Trial: Journalists Remember the Public Frenzy, Porn, Hijinks

According to the complaint, Radar also published that Jackson sexually abused young boys, implied that his nephews were included and that Jackson bought them a brand new car to keep them quiet.

"In doing so, Radar falsely accused plaintiffs of committing a felony by participating in the concealment of criminal activity on the part of Michael Jackson and of being bribed to do so," Fields writes, adding that the false information spread around the globe. "Based on Radar's Libelous Stories, the international media reported to the public that 'Michael Jackson molested his own nephews...and silenced them with threats and gifts.'" 

The Jacksons say the statements are entirely false and defamatory.

"None of them was ever sexually abused by Michael Jackson or ever had any sort of sexual contact with him," Fields writes. "None of plaintiffs ever, in any way, resisted any effort by detectives to inquire about Michael Jackson's supposed criminal conduct."

The complaint says the Jacksons demanded a correction of the libelous stories on July 5 and received a refusal from Radar two days later. 

In June, the estate issued a statement defending the King of Pop and referring to Radar's stories as tabloid trash. "Those who continue to shamelessly exploit Michael via sleazy internet 'click bait' ignore that he was acquitted by a jury in 2005 on every one of the 14 salacious charges brought against him in a failed witch hunt," says the statement. "Michael remains just as innocent of these smears in death as he was in life even though he isn't here to defend himself. Enough is enough."

This article was originally published by The Hollywood Reporter