Footage of Michael Jackson shopping for jewelry and toys with a young boy has reemerged.
The news story from 1989 shows Jackson and a boy — presumably James Safechuck, one of the accusers who spoke out in Leaving Neverland — shopping in California.
In the video, Jackson is in a disguise wearing a hat, wig, stick-on mustache and false teeth. At the time, the singer’s disguise alarmed security guards in the shopping center, which led to the outing being reported by the media.
One of the anchors in the footage states Jackson was out “shopping for rings,” saying later in the segment that the King of Pop was planning to pop the question to Sheryl Crow, his backup singer at the time.
However, given the recent child sexual abuse allegations in Leaving Neverland, the resurfaced footage has led some to rethink the purpose of Jackson’s shopping trip.
In the documentary, Safechuck — who has accused Jackson of child sexual abuse along with Wade Robson — claims he had a “mock wedding ceremony” with the singer.
“So we were like this married couple,” Safechuck said. “I say married because we had this mock wedding ceremony. … We did this in his bedroom and we filled out some vows, like we would be bonded forever.”
In the doc, Safechuck showed a “wedding ring” he claimed Jackson gave him in the ceremony.
He added Jackson knew Safechuck was “really into jewelry.”
“He would reward me with jewelry for doing sexual acts for him,” Safechuck claimed. It was a way for him to “earn the gift.”
Additionally, Safechuck referenced going on outings with Jackson to jewelry stores to buy rings for him, but they would always “pretend” they were for a woman.
“We would go buy them at jewelry stores and we would pretend they were for someone else,” he said. “Like for a female, but he would pretend like my small hand would fit for whatever female we were buying it for.”
Leaving Neverland has sparked debate, with many Michael Jackson fans claiming the documentary is very one-sided.
While the documentary is certainly compelling, and in some parts extremely difficult watch, there are some key aspects missing, including testimonials from Jackson’s former staff members, other young boys Jackson was associated with, Jackson’s own family and the lengthy FBI investigation into the child molestation allegations.
Because of these omissions, the Jackson family has labeled Leaving Neverland “one-sided” and “biased”.
However the director, Dan Reed, has argued such omissions needed to be made in order to be able to focus on the specific stories of accusers Safechuck and Robson.
Jackson was acquitted of child molestation charges in 2005.