Published Feb 12, 2020In response to months of scrutiny against Michael Jackson following the release of HBO's Leaving Neverland, his longtime friend Macaulay Culkin has come to the defence of the late pop star in a new interview.
Speaking with Esquire, Culkin felt obligated to detail the inner workings of their relationship, as well as maintain his stance that Jackson never acted sexually inappropriate with him.
Here's what he had to say:
I'm gonna begin with the line — it's not a line, it's the truth: He never did anything to me. I never saw him do anything. And especially at this flashpoint in time, I'd have no reason to hold anything back. The guy has passed on. If anything — I'm not gonna say it would be stylish or anything like that, but right now is a good time to speak up. And if I had something to speak up about, I would totally do it. But no, I never saw anything; he never did anything.
While Culkin does not overtly attempt to discredit Jackson's accusers in the interview, he did recount a run-in with James Franco where the actor allegedly attempted to goad him into a conversation about Leaving Neverland following the documentary's release.
Here's a good Michael Jackson story that doesn't involve Michael Jackson at all: I ran into James Franco on a plane. I'd bumped into him two or three times over the years. I give him a little nod as we're putting our bags overhead. Hey, how you doing? Good, how ya doing? And it was right after the Leaving Neverland documentary came out, and he goes, "So, that documentary!'" And that was all he said. I was like, "Uh-huh." Silence. So then he goes, "So what do you think?" And I turned to him and I go, "Do you wanna talk about your dead friend?" And he sheepishly went, '"No, I don't." So I said, "Cool, man, it was nice to see you."
Franco himself was recently hit by a lawsuit from his former students, alleging that he engaged in "inappropriate and sexually charged behaviour towards female students by sexualizing their power as a teacher and an employer by dangling the opportunity for roles in their projects."
Leaving Neverland was released last spring on HBO and focuses on the stories of Wade Robson and James Safechuck, two men who claim Jackson sexually abused them when they were preteens. Jackson's estate called the film "tabloid character assassination" and later filed a $100 million lawsuit.
Culkin has long maintained that his relationship with Jackson never bordered into inappropriate territory. He remains the godfather of Jackson's daughter Paris, with whom he has a close relationship.