Disturbing footage shows Michael Jackson apparently shopping for 'wedding ring' with young boy
Dan Reed's explosive two-part documentary, Leaving Neverland, has forced the public consciousness to re-examine Michael Jackson's legacy, and his standing as a musical icon. But more importantly, perhaps, is that it has reopened the conversation on how we - as a society - contend with heroes who have been accused of sex crimes.
Now, footage of Michael Jackson shopping for jewellery and toys with a young boy has surfaced online, and it seems to corroborate several of the claims made by James Safechuck in the HBO documentary.
The news story, which dates back to 1989, sees the late singer and a boy - presumably Safechuck - out shopping in California.
In the clip, Jackson can be seen wearing a poor disguise consisting of a hat, wig, stick-on moustache and false teeth, which alarmed security guards in the shopping centre. The story was later picked up by media outlets.
One of the news anchors reported that the Bad singer was "shopping for rings", as he was planning to propose to his backup singer at the time, Sheryl Crow.
People have been quick to point out that the resurfaced footage seems to confirm Safechuck's claim that he had a "mock wedding ceremony" with Jackson.
"So we were like this married couple," says Safechuck in the two-part documentary. "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."
"We did this in his bedroom and we filled out some vows like we would be bonded forever. It felt good. And the ring is nice. It has a row of diamonds. The wedding ring. It’s hard to go back to that moment."
Safechuck then goes onto show a "wedding ring" that Jackson reportedly gave him. He detailed that the singer was aware that he was "really into jewellery", and would "reward" him with jewellery for doing sexual acts - being a way for him to "earn the gift".
"You know, I like jewellery and I liked it as a kid so I think something that I liked was used against me. It causes discomfort," he continued. "It is still hard for me not to blame myself."
The 40-year-old alleges that Jackson would always "pretend" that the rings were for women when they went out shopping. "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."
The Jackson estate has denounced the allegations, and is suing the US television network, HBO, for $100 million.
After a 14-week trial, Jackson was found not guilty of child abuse charges back in 2005.