Michael Jackson bus ads prompt 26 complaints to ASA

Photo by Joe Rackham
Photo by Joe Rackham

Ads from mjinnocent.com were pulled by TfL on Wednesday.

The Advertising Standards Authority is considering opening an investigation into an out-of-home ad campaign asserting that Michael Jackson is innocent of child sex abuse after 26 people complained to the body.

The ad watchdog said the complaints into the campaign, "Facts don’t lie, people do", which points viewers towards the website mjinnocent.com, said the ad was offensive because it attacked the credibility of those who have accused Jackson of abuse, or was irresponsible because it could prevent victims of abuse from coming forward.

The ads had been running on buses and bus stops in London, but TfL said on Wednesday it was taking them down. It commented: "We have reviewed our position and will be removing these advertisements. They have been rejected due to the public sensitivity and concern around their content."

The campaign followed the release of the film Leaving Neverland, a co-production between Channel 4 and HBO, which interviewed in depth two men, Wade Robson and James Safechuck, who claim they were abused as children by Jackson at his Neverland Ranch in California.

While many commentators have said they found Robson's and Safechuck’s accounts highly credible, the film has led to a backlash from defenders of Jackson, who point out that he faced similar allegations on two separate occasions while he was alive.

In 1993, a criminal investigation was dropped and Jackson reached a settlement in a civil case with the family of 13-year-old Jordan Chandler. In 2005, he was found not guilty on 14 counts relating to the alleged abuse of 13-year-old Gavin Arvizo. Jackson died in 2009.

According to gossip site Page Six, Jackson’s three children are considering filing a lawsuit against Robson and Safechuck.

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