Michael Jackson’s best friend Mark Lester defends him against new child sex abuse accusations in very awkward This Morning interviewJanuary 25, 2019
The former child star appeared on the show today amid fresh abuse claims by Jackson’s one-time fans Wade Robson and James Safechuck, that have come to light in a sensational new film documentary Leaving Neverland.
Mark, who played the title role in the 1968 film Oliver Twist, revealed he found the latest accusations “hard” and “awful” as he claimed Michael was simply “naïve”.
He told hosts Ruth Langsford and Eamonn Holmes: “I know neither of those guys. I can’t comment on that. I can only tell you my experience.
“My family visited Netherland many times, spending Christmas with him. These awful allegations are not the man I knew.”
When Ruth said the men, who had previously defended Michael in court, claimed they had been brainwashed by the superstar, Mark expressed shock.
Looking uncomfortable the former child star, who first met Michael when he was 18, said: “I find it hard to believe they were brainwashed.”
Defending his friend, he claimed: “With Michael, there was a general naivety and innocence about him that is hard to explain.”
Ruth then pushed Mark about why he didn’t try to tell Michael it was odd to spend time with children.
He replied: “No he didn’t get that. He didn’t understand that in today’s society it is not acceptable to behave like that.
“When I was in his presence, all that fell away.”
The interview became even more awkward as Ruth and Eamonn started quizzing him about being a sperm donor for Michael.
Mark, who in the past has claimed to be Paris’ father, seemed to backtrack claiming he had “never really thought about it”.
He said: “Regardless of who the biological father is, Michael raised them.
“It was something (the sperm) that was given and disregarded and Michael brought those kids up. He told me he had thrown it all away.”
Leaving Neverland will premiere at the Sundance Film Festival later this month and features interviews with both accusers, who are now in their 30s.
Robson and James Safechuck are expected go into detail about how they were allegedly sexually abused by the world-famous singer when they were kids.
Jackson was acquitted in 2005 of criminal molestation charges, which did not involve either Robson or Safechuck, whom he starred with in a Pepsi ad.
However, Robson testified at that trial, saying he had slept in Jackson's room many times, but the star had never molested him.
Safechuck made similar statements to investigators when he was still a young boy.
Then in 2013 Robson filed a lawsuit that said stress and trauma had forced him to face the truth that he was sexually abused by Jackson, who died in 2009.
Safechuck filed a similar lawsuit the following year.
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