The Daily Star reports that Michael Jackson’s former doctor, Neil Ratner, revealed a story about the pop star when the pair visited a children’s HIV hospital in South Africa. Ratner claims that — despite the unfounded fears of contracting disease in the nineties — the pop star was adamant about getting close to the children.
“I remember the first time I was with him in South Africa and we went to a children’s HIV hospital and this was back in the nineties where everybody was very nervous about HIV and people wouldn’t want to touch people who had it and Michael just jumped right in there and he grabbed the kids and put them on his lap and I said to him after, ‘What are you doing man?'” Ratner said.
“And he said ‘You’re wrong, you’re wrong, you got to touch people man, these kids need to be touched too it’s okay.'”
Despite fears at the time, HIV cannot be spread through simple touching or saliva. It is contracted through HIV-infected blood or blood-contaminated body fluids, and these fluids must enter the bloodstream of an HIV-negative person via a mucous membrane, such as the mouth, vagina, or rectum, per HIV.gov.
Regardless, Ratner called the experience “eye-opening” and claims that he visited South Africa with Jackson often. He was reportedly involved with many charity projects in Africa and spent lots of time in the country, and believes that he and Jackson would have built a children’s hospital together — something the pair reportedly talked about often — had the star lived.
Per The Inquisitr, Ratner revealed in the same interview with the Daily Star that he warned Jackson about the way he interacted with children. He claims to have told the King of Pop that the interactions were “not ok,” despite the singer’s insistence that they were fine. Ratner claims that he urged Jackson to be aware of the fact that society will not accept his closeness with children, regardless of whether Jackson’s intentions were pure.
In regards to Leaving Neverland, the documentary that chronicles the allegations of sexual abuse against Jackson by Wade Robson and James Safechuck, Ratner said he didn’t know anyone involved in the project and can’t comment on their alleged experiences. However, Ratner claims that he never saw any abuse against children from Jackson, and feels bad for the late singer, who is now unable to defend himself from the accusations.
The accusations against Jackson have been tough to swallow for fans of the late pop star. As The Inquisitr previously reported, fans in France from The Michael Jackson Community, the MJ Street, and On The Line fan clubs are suing Robson and Safechuck for their allegations of sexual abuse, which they believe is a “genuine lynching” of Jackson.