In the wake of the accusations of sexual assault leveled against Michael Jackson in Dan Reed’s HBO documentary Leaving Neverland, the late legend’s supporters have come out strongly in support of his legacy. In particular, the King of Pop’s former bodyguard, Matt Fiddes, has been one of his most ardent defenders — he was one of the figures behind the documentary Michael Jackson: Chase the Truth, which seeks to discredit James Safechuck and Wade Robson’s allegations in Leaving Neverland.
Fiddes recently took to Instagram to share a flashback photo of him helping Jackson wade through a crowd and escape a packed Hamleys store following a shopping trip. According to Fiddes, the visit was a “secret” one, suggesting that the pair have dealt with much worse when it comes to being swarmed by fans. He added that Jackson was always “happy to see fans,” which could make things a bit difficult.
In a recent interview with The Sun, Fiddes defended the “Smooth Criminal” singer in the wake of the attacks on his legacy that followed Reed’s documentary. He suggested that many of Jackson’s friendships with children were the result of parents “pushing” their kids on him.
“The parents would encourage their kids to come and meet him, and Michael would be nice,” he said. “They would have their picture taken, and then when we go to take him away – as that was our jobs – the parents would kick off.”
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Trying to get my old pal @michaeljackson out of a side exit of Hamleys store after a shopping trip with my family in London! This was a secret visit! Imagine what the public ones were like! ???????? It was never easy but Michael was always happy to see his fans! (Forgive me for my hair! It was cool back then ????????) #mattfiddes #michaeljackson #bodyguard #martialarts #mattfiddesmartialarts #kingofpop #mjfam
According to Fiddes, the parents were “never happy” and Jackson often gave in to their demands because he was “too nice for his own good.”
Jackson’s gentle nature is what some believe at least partly contributed to his downfall. Comedian and actor Godfrey used his appearance on VladTV to address the sexual assault accusations against Jackson covered in Leaving Neverland and suggested that he brought them on himself.
“That’s his own choice, you brought that on yourself. You’re too big to be doing certain things. You gotta know what the f*ck you’re doing. You know what I mean?”
Fiddes echoed Godrey’s view when speaking about Jackson’s approach to the media. Per Metro, he claimed that Jackson manipulated the media to maintain mystery around his life by sticking tape on his hands, taping his nose, or putting a mask on his face. But Fiddes said that, in the end, this approach came back to haunt him
“It’s backfired on him now, though, that’s the sad thing,” he said.