British stand-up comedian Romesh Ranganathan recently spoke about his The Cynic’s Mixtape tour with The List and touched on everything from his children, his veganism, and the environment. He also addressed his thoughts on the allegations brought forth against Michael Jackson by Wade Robson and James Safechuck in the documentary Leaving Neverland.
According to Ranganathan, his bit about Jackson has drawn criticism from some of the late pop star’s defenders, but it doesn’t appear to faze him. In one instance, he reportedly spoke to some of the King of Pop’s supporters that stayed behind after one of his shows to discuss their concerns.
“They felt he’s being unfairly persecuted after his death, and that it’s an example of another black man being tarnished when we don’t know the facts. And this is true but they don’t know the facts either, and there’s a difference between thinking definitely that he’s innocent and just wanting him to be innocent. I can’t say that speaking to them has softened what I say about Michael Jackson but it did make me think more about it.”
The belief that Jackson is unfairly persecuted for his race is common among his supporters. According to the Jackson estate’s lawyers, John Branca and Howard Weitzman, the media has been out to punish Jackson for his fame for years. In particular, Branca claims that the media prejudice against the King of Pop has been around since the mid-’80s, and says that there is a “large segment” of the media that doesn’t care whether Jackson is innocent or guilty.
“In the end, I really believe it’s a form of racism,” he said.
Ranganathan isn’t the only comedian to speak out about the allegations against Jackson. Dave Chappelle used his Sticks & Stones special to suggest that Robson and Safechuck are lying. Meanwhile, Godfrey also said that he doesn’t believe the sexual abuse accusations but explained that he believes Jackson ultimately brought the accusations against himself by surrounding himself with children.
“That’s his own choice, you brought that on yourself. You’re too big to be doing certain things,” he said during an interview with VladTV, which is available on YouTube.
“‘Magic’ is Michael’s word. That’s what his music was about.” – Prince on Michael Jackson pic.twitter.com/K5YIsMofXZ
— Michael Jackson (@michaeljackson) October 1, 2019
Despite the controversy surrounding director Dan Reed’s Leaving Neverland, the film won a Creative Arts Emmy for Best Documentary or Non-Fiction Special. During a backstage interview at the event, Reed addressed Chappelle’s comments on the allegations and said they made him “physically sick.”
Both Robson and Safechuck have also spoken out about Chappelle’s comments and suggest that he should be using his platform to help abuse survivors come forward instead of mocking them.