Although Michael Jackson was accused of sexual assault by Wade Robson and James Safechuck following his death in the HBO documentary Leaving Neverland, they weren’t the first of their kind. Back in 2005, the King of Pop was accused of molesting Gavin Arvizo, who was 13 years old at the time of the alleged abuse, although Jackson was eventually found not guilty.
Per The Daily Mirror, Jackson’s former bodyguard Matt Fiddes claims that the 2005 trial hit Jackson hard. He says that Jackson was a “complete mess” due to the allegations of sexual abuse and was “never the same” even after the conclusion of the trial.
“It was clear after the verdict he was never going to be able to click his fingers and be back in Michael Jackson mode again. He was like a walking deadman by the end. Eating and sleeping was a battle, he was just a complete mess.”
Although Fiddes says that Jackson began to see some improvement following the 2005 trial, he claims the late pop star began to experience paranoia.
“He was terrified about being assassinated on stage, and was making silly suggestions about wearing a bulletproof vest while performing,” he said. “We talked to him and said the public love you, you are going to have no problems, I am going to here [sic] for you with security and making sure you are looked after you [sic].”
— Matt Fiddes (@MattFiddesUK) June 14, 2012
Per The Inquisitr, Fiddes has been vocal in his support of Jackson in the wake of Leaving Neverland and was one of the people behind the documentary Michael Jackson: Chase the Truth, which seeks to discredit the controversial HBO documentary. According to Fiddes, all of the accusations against Jackson are motivated by money. In addition to Fiddes, Chase the Truth features writer and Jackson biographer Mike Smallcombe, who highlighted that both Robson and Safechuck had defended Jackson under oath in the past, which makes them perjurers.
Recent footage of Robson’s deposition fueled skeptics, and many believe it reveals the flimsiness of his accusations. But Robson and Safechuck stand by their stories and suggest that people shining doubt on their accusations — such as Dave Chappelle — are making it more difficult for people that have experienced sexual abuse to come forth with their stories.
Leaving Neverland director Dan Reed also stands by his film and claims that he went to great lengths to poke holes in Robson’s and Safechuck’s accounts of abuse. He also claims that Jackson seduced the pair over time as if they were adults — not children.