Unless you've been on a trip to the moon, you will no doubt have heard about the Leaving Neverland documentary. It follows the allegations of two men who used to spend time at Michael Jackson's ranch called Neverland when they were children, and they claim that they were sexually abused. Of course, this type of allegation is not new when it comes to MJ, but it is bringing up old issues.
The problem is that being such a famous character, MJ's life cannot remain private. His influence and figure are seen throughout the world, and pedophiles should not be held up as role models. That being said, his children have done nothing wrong, but they face a lot of the impact of it all. None more so than Blanket.
Who is Blanket?
via: GettyBlanket Jackson is Michael Jackson's youngest child, born in February, 2002. Of course he is not actually called Blanket. His real name is Prince Michael Jackson II. But he was brought up with the nickname. Some people suggest that the nickname comes from the fact that MJ used to cover their faces with blankets when they were children. In a 2003 documentary called Living With Michael Jackson, MJ claimed that it was an endearing term showing that 'a blanket is a blessing.'
He now prefers the name Bigi.
via: GettySince 2015, Blanket has apparently preferred the name Bigi, due to being bullied at school. It looks like he will have the last laugh though, as he is rumoured to be a black belt at karate.
Blanket's mother is unknown.
via: GettyWhile MJ's first two children's mother is his ex-wife Debbie Rowe, Blanket was born with an unknown surrogate. Although rumours abound, no one knows who Blanket's real mother is. Even on the birth certificate the line for the mother's name has been left blank.
Blanket has an older brother called Michael Jackson.$500 million estate.
And a sister called Michael Jackson.
Blanket is a bit different.
via: GettyWhile Prince and Paris are both very active on social media, Blanket has always been kept away from any form of the media. It has been said that he is banned from having his own social media accounts, but maybe he just doesn't like them.
There was one very memorable occasion when Blanket made the headlines.
via: GettyWhile it was memorable for the rest of the world, it is doubtful that Blanket can remember it at all. It was 2002. Blanket was nine-months old. That's when his father dangled him over a fourth-storey balcony, holding him with just one hand, in Berlin. People had thought that MJ was odd for a while, but that really tipped the scales for a lot of people.
MJ was also in the headlines as a child.MJ was a child prodigy. He had seven top-ten singles under his belt by the age of fourteen. He was performing from the age of six years old, along with his older brothers, as The Jackson 5. Little did the world know that that was nothing compared to the fame that he was going to achieve.
Life as a child star is tough.Although MJ won over the world's hearts as a child, he had huge issues with his father. In 1993, he gave a 90 minute interview with Oprah in which he revealed that his father had abused him, both mentally and physically. Although the full extent of the abuse is unknown, it has been said that their father would watch their rehearsals and actually use a whip on them if they didn't perform well enough.
MJ's success was meteoric and unparalleled.The 'King of Pop' had thirty-one top-ten hits. He is in the Rock 'n' Roll hall of fame twice. His album Thriller is the best-selling album of all time. He is the third best-selling music artist of all time, behind The Beatles and Elvis Presley. He was named the King of pop, rock, and soul. Plus he is credited with being the first artist to bridge the gap between black and white fans.
But fame doesn't bring friends.
via: GettyA celebrity life is filled with fickle friends and problems of who to trust. Although there were a lot of people in his life, he was not so close to his family and didn't have many friends. That's when it all takes a darker turn, as he started to hang out with young boys.
MJ created his own Neverland ranch.
via: GettyIn 1988, aged thirty years old, MJ bought 11km of land in California and began work on his ranch. It contained a movie theatre, a zoo and several carnival rides. He used to invite young kids to come and play at his ranch. Usually though, much like in Peter Pan, it was only boys. And although their parents sometimes would accompany them at the start, they usually would go alone, or with other young boys.
His family insist that he was just a loving soul.
This is the Michael Jackson the press is trying to erase. They want to push a bad image of him but just know his he… https://t.co/enGJNkIRDF— TJ Jackson (@TJ Jackson)1552161176.0
Macaulay Culkin still stands by his old friend.The star of Home Alone became friends with MJ at the age of ten, and used to regularly go over and have sleepovers at his Neverland Ranch. Although he was just one of many boys that used to do so, he was the most high-profile. He claims that they were both just really good friends, that MJ was there for him, and that nothing inappropriate ever happened. However, he also said that he and his younger brother used to sleep in the same bed as MJ. So maybe he's not the best judge of what is inappropriate.
The allegations that he's a pedophile have been going on for decades.
via: GettyBack in 1993, Evan Chandler and his son Jordan, who was aged thirteen, father confronted MJ and his lawyer saying that he had sexually abused Jordan. The teen Jordan was able to describe MJ's penis in incredibly intimate detail, and MJ settled the dispute for $23 million. The police raided his home and found books and photographs with naked or nearly-naked young boys. However, no charges were pressed.
In 2005 it got taken to court.
via: GettyFootage was shown in a documentary where MJ was holding hands with a young boy. He was charged with seven cases of child sexual abuse. It was here that he was found not guilty of all charges. His family feels that as the court found him not guilty, the rest of the world should feel the same.
But now there are new allegations.
via: GettyA documentary has come out called Leaving Neverland. It tracks the stories of two men who have said that they were abused by MJ when they were children. Both Wade Robson and James Safechuck used to spend time at Jackson's Neverland ranch when they were young boys. They were interviewed separately, but their stories match each other.
It is not meant to be about MJ.
via: GettyMany people have criticised Leaving Neverland for being too one-sided. However, the director Dan Reed has said that it wasn't meant to be about MJ. It is meant to be giving two survivors a voice and letting them tell their story. The documentary last for four hours, in order to let the whole story be told in full detail.
The two men used to support MJ.
via: GettyBoth Robson and Safechuck testified in the past to say that MJ never abused them in any way, but now they are saying the opposite. This is causing a lot of people to question the validity of what they say, but that is part of the problem.
Grooming can take a life-time to understand.
Children can be groomed online or in person, by a stranger or someone they know. They may be male or female and cou… https://t.co/sAGDaAAKsy— NSPCC (@NSPCC)1551906481.0
The world is waking up and taking a stand.
To every woman out there on International Women's Day and every day. ❤ #InternationalWomensDay #iwd #metoo Pg. 100… https://t.co/n1fcF29C0Y— Najwa Zebian (@Najwa Zebian)1552056593.0
But these changes are not easy to understand.
via: GettyBlanket Jackson has had a peculiar life, which looks quite sad from the outside. He doesn't know his mother, his siblings are quite a few years older than him, and his father died when he was he was just seven years old.
Blanket has been the subject of a number of custody battles.
via: GettyFollowing the death of his father, Blanket was under custody of his grandmother, Katherine. However, she had a spat with her family in 2012 and it was decided that custody should be split between her and the kids' cousin, T.J. Jackson. Now that Katherine is in her late 80s, it's been decided that T.J. should have full custody.
Is his private life a lonely one?Since his siblings have grown-up and moved out, Blanket has to spend a lot of time alone. T.J. is often on tour, and Katherine is often away. As a result, it has been reported that he is basically living alone, but with a part-time chef, three house-keepers and a security team.
More people have petitioned for custody of Blanket.
via: GettyIn 2013, their cousin Anthony Jackson II petitioned for custody of the Jackson kids, although it was never explained why. Oddly, Debbie Rowe, the mother of Prince and Paris, has also asked for custody of Blanket, believing that the guardians are away too often.
Is Blanket the next MJ?MJ's father, Joe Jackson, was the powerhouse who launched his children into the spotlight, and allegedly abused them along the way. In a documentary called Remembering Michael, Joe Jackson said he thought that Blanket has the talent to be the next MJ, 'he just has to be trained.' Given the lengths that MJ went to in order to give his children a private life, it seems doubtful that he would want the same life for his children as the one he had.
Blanket's health and safety are the main concerns.
via: GettyOne of Blanket's cousins, Taj, has recently voiced his concerns about Blanket's health. Beyond living alone, he is apparently struggling to cope with the new documentary that has been released. He said that usually he is 'the most talkative kid at school, and he isn't talking anymore.'
It must be a very difficult topic for a child to deal with.
via: GettyPrince and Paris have always been very outspoken about their relationship with their father and how much they love him. They continue to defend him and believe in him. But at some point, each child must have to confront the number of allegations being made about their father, and see if they can reconcile them with their own memories. At the very least, it would cause some painful doubts.
Claims of sexual abuse are nearly impossible to prove.
via: GettyThe problem with trying to determine whether or not allegations of sexual abuse are true, is that it is very difficult to prove it. However, it is always important to listen to survivors. Coming forward is a very difficult act, and should be encouraged so that the abusers don't continue to get away with it.
Hopefully one day we will find out for certain.
via: GettyAs this case is thrown back into the limelight, hopefully it will be analysed in a way which allows everyone to finally have clarity. Whether or not the claims are true, there are certainly a large number of situations which seem very odd and would not be allowed today. It must be very hard to have your private life discussed throughout the media, and difficult to try to reconcile what you think and remember with what other people are saying. Hopefully Blanket is just processing everything and will come out the other side stronger, and better able to cope.