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Michael Jackson's Family Says 'Leaving Neverland' Claims Are 'All About Money'

Michael Jackson
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Michael Jackson performs in concert circa 1986.

Michael Jackson's family is defending the late singer's "sleepovers" with children as members continue to push back against claims of sexual abuse in the upcoming docuseries Leaving Neverland, set to air Sunday on HBO.

"I grew up in it, so for me it wasn't odd," Michael's nephew Taj Jackson tells Gayle King of what a member of the family called Jackson's "sleepovers" with children in a new clip released Tuesday from a interview with CBS This Morning set to air Wednesday. "You know, I think, to the outside world, yes, I think it can be odd. I mean, I'm not oblivious to what it sounds like. But when you're actually there in that atmosphere and you're around it, and you're watching movies with his kids, whether it's Little Rascals or Three Stooges, and you're watching these things, it's like, it's very innocent."

Continued Taj, "But I think the fault on my uncle was he just, he didn't have that bone in his body to look at it the other way. And I think that was the thing, is that his naiveté was his downfall in a way."

In the four-part Leaving Neverland, which premiered in January at the Sundance Film Festival, two accusers, Wade Robson and James Safechuck, allege that the singer molested them over the course of years, despite the fact that both have sworn under oath in previous circumstances that he did not sexually abuse them. Robson, a child Jackson impersonator, says the abuse began when he was 7, while Safechuck, a former child dancer with Jackson, says it began when he was 10.

On Feb. 21, Michael's estate sued HBO and Time Warner over the film, alleging it breached a non-disparagement clause dating back from a former contract.

In another clip of the interview released Tuesday, King inquires how the family can push back against the documentary when they haven't yet seen it. "Don't you need to see it?" she asks.

"No, I don't," Michael's older brother Jackie Jackson replies. "I know my brother, he's my little brother. I know my brother. He's not like that."

In other excerpts released by CBS, Marlon Jackson tells King that he doesn't need to see the film because "I trust my attorney."

Members of the Jackson family also claim that accusers Robson and Safechuck are making allegations now against the "Thriller" singer because they are looking for a payout.

"It's all about the money," Marlon tells King.

"It's always been about money. I hate to say it when it's my uncle, it's almost like they see a blank check," Taj added. "These people ... felt that they're owed something. You know, instead of working for something, they blame everything on my uncle."

When asked if Michael was ever abusive toward children, the interview subjects all resoundingly denied the claims. 

"Never inappropriate," Marlon said. 

"The people that really know him, they know the truth, too," Jackie replied.

The interview is one of several that CBS This Morning is conducting with concerned parties about Leaving Neverland; on Tuesday, director Dan Reed appeared on the program, and on Thursday, King will conduct interviews with Robson and Safechuck.

This article originally appeared in THR.com.


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