In a recent interview with Hot 97’s Ebro in the Morning, American singer and songwriter Akon spoke about his relationship with Michael Jackson and the accusations leveled against him in the controversial HBO documentary, Leaving Neverland. Per Complex, Akon responded to a question about Jackson’s recently tarnished image by saying it’s “hard to swallow.”
According to Akon, Jackson was taken advantage on multiple occasions during his illustrious career. He claims that the music industry tried to “push him out” many times and expressed amazement at how “cruel” big corporations can be. As for Jackson’s closeness to children, Akon doesn’t believe that it was a character flaw.
“But it weren’t even a flaw, that was all humanitarian and just him having a love for kids period.”
In regards to the allegations against Jackson, Akon suggests that they are false, claiming that those closest to Jackson would have noticed signs that he was abusing children if he was really a pedophile.
“On Mike’s behalf, these are people that was paid off, one or two people and they parents come back and recount like, you can’t even prove none of that stuff and half that stuff you can prove that they was paid off to even say those things,” he said.
The accusations against Jackson have been the source of much debate. While some believe that Wade Robson and James Safechuck — the accusers spotlighted in Leaving Neverland — should be given the benefit of the doubt, his ardent supporters and those closest to him believe that their claims are motivated by nothing other than money.
Per SKJ Bollywood News, Indian musician and actor Adnan Sami said that the recent image of Jackson doesn’t align with the person he knew.
“The Michael that I knew wouldn’t hurt a soul. He was so fragile and vulnerable himself,” he said.
Per The Inquisitr, the controversy hasn’t stopped Leaving Neverland and its director, Dan Reed, from gaining both support and critical attention. The film received five Emmy nominations — outstanding picture editing for a nonfiction program; outstanding directing for a documentary/nonfiction program; outstanding sound mixing for a nonfiction program; outstanding documentary or nonfiction special; and outstanding sound editing for a nonfiction program.
HBO has also stood by the film and despite the “desperate lengths” people have gone to in an attempt to “undermine” the movie. In the face of controversy, they have supported Robson, Safechuck, and Reed in what they claim is an attempt to give everyone the chance to “assess” it for themselves.