*The initial wave of criticism following the release of the “Leaving Neverland” documentary did very little to tarnish the legacy of the King of Pop.
The HBO doc portrayed Michael Jackson as a child molester, and the negative publicity prompted Britain’s Channel 4 radio stations in Canada to stop playing his music while the producers of “The Simpsons” removed an episode that featured Jackson’s voice. ABC News notes “that’s been the most visible extent of the backlash.”
The outlet also writes that, “There’s been no rescinding honors like has happened to Bill Cosby and Harvey Weinstein, or mass movements to stop playing Jackson’s music, as R&B singer R. Kelly has faced.”
“He still commands prices compared to most any other celebrity,” said Darren Julien, president and CEO of the Culver City, California-based Julien’s Auctions.
“He’s the only celebrity where we would have lines of people to get in whenever we had stuff of his to auction,” he continued. “There’s only one person that compares to Marilyn Monroe in collectability, and that is Michael Jackson.”
Billboard senior editor Gail Mitchell said she and several of her colleagues believe Jackson’s legacy will withstand the “Leaving Neverland” controversy.
“There was an aura about him,” Mitchell said of Jackson. “He had an energy in terms of his talent and the dancing, and I still think that aura still exists to a point. I know it’s been tarnished, but I think overall that there is no denying what he brought to the table.”
Jackson died at age 50 from an overdose of the anesthetic propofol on June 25, 2009. Tuesday marks the 10th anniversary of his death. Despite the disturbing allegations made in the documentary, Jackson’s nephew said his legacy will never be destroyed by a lie.
“No lie can destroy what was given to us as a blessing from God, and that’s what my uncle was,” said Sigmund “Siggy” Jackson, son of Jackson’s eldest brother, Jackie Jackson. “You can never destroy his legacy with a petty lie. He will be here. And even after God calls us home, his legacy will live on and never be torn down.”