Michael Jackson’s nephews, the pop group 3T, who rose to fame in the 1990s, filed a $100 million lawsuit against an online publication after it ran stories that accused their uncle of abusing them.
The Guardian reports that Jackson’s nephews, Taj, TJ, and Taryll Jackson, are suing Radar Online after the entertainment and gossip site published a number of stories the implied they were sexually abused by The King of Pop, and accepted gifts and money to cover it up. The publication also accused the “Thriller” singer of using photos of his nephews, clad only in their underwear, to entice young boys.
“The detectives’ report cites Michael even used sexy photos of his own nephews, who were in the band 3T, in their underwear to excite young boys.”
All three men deny the allegations. According their attorney, Ben Fields, they’re taking Radar Online to court because it continues to publish unsubstantiated stories without regard for the truth, and continues to embellish and misrepresent police reports made over 10 years ago.
“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.
“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.”
Most of Radar Online‘s latest stories on Jackson started in June, when seemingly out of nowhere, the site began publishing information regarding the 2003 raid of Jackson’s Neverland home. The publication claimed to have “newly discovered documents,” but the Santa Barbara County Sheriff’s Department stated that they did not release any new information or photos to the media.
“The Sheriff’s Office did not release any of the documents and/or photographs to the media. The Sheriff’s Office released all of its reports and the photographs as part of the required discovery process to the prosecution and the defense.
“The documents with a header titled Sheriff’s Department that contain a case number appear to be Sheriff’s Office documents. The photos that are interspersed appear to be some evidentiary photos taken by Sheriff’s investigators and others are clearly obtained from the internet.”
But it’s the accusations made about 3T that primarily sparked the lawsuit. Fields stated that not only was the information false, but that in spreading lies, the gossip site accused 3T of committing a felony.
“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….None of them was ever sexually abused by Michael Jackson or ever had any sort of sexual contact with him. None of plaintiffs ever, in any way, resisted any effort by detectives to inquire about Michael Jackson’s supposed criminal conduct.”
Although it’s unclear why Radar Online dredged up the case over a decade later, Jackson’s estate commented on the site’s “lack of ethics,” and referred to it at as “sleazy.”
“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.”
“It’s curious and revealing that plaintiffs have not attached the Radar article to their complaint. The article does NOT accuse Michael Jackson of molesting his nephews, nor does it accuse them of accepting a bribe.”
The damage, however, according to the lawsuit, is that Radar Online started a chain reaction after numerous other publications reportedly began running the same story without fact-checking. Prior to filing the claim, Jackson’s nephews contacted Radar Online and requested a demand for a correction, to which the publication apparently refused.
Radar Online only published a small fraction of what was found during at Michael Jackson’s home in 2003, singling out items including a book that had photos of naked boys swimming in a lake during the 1960s. The book, entitled, The Boy, a Photographic Essay, celebrated the daily lives of young boys via various photos of children riding bikes, playing baseball, camping out, and other various activities. According an Amazon reviewer, the book is a relic of an older time.
“For me it represents an innocence we’ve lost to political correctness, paranoia, and a change in how children spend their time, it’s a glimpse back in time.”
The site spent little time mentioning the vast amount of adult heterosexual magazines and movies found at Jackson’s home, and instead zeroed in on things that created controversy among the publication’s readers.
Radar Online painted the book and other items found to be “filthy and perverted,” and although it’s subjective, the lawsuit claims it started a ripple effect that got out control, dredging up old accusations about Michael Jackson that were proven untrue during his 2005 molestation trial in Los Angeles.
[Photo by AP/Jon Furniss/Invision]