Unearthed footage shows Michael Jackson giggling as he's interrogated about molestation claims
Unearthed footage has shown Michael Jackson giggling, squirming and joking as he is questioned about molestation claims by the police.
The bizarre video, filmed at The Four Seasons Hotel in New York on March 1, 1996, also sees the then-37-year-old grow increasingly uncomfortable and compare himself to Jesus, as the interviewer quizzes him on allegations concerning Macaulay Culkin, Jordan Chandler and Brett Barnes.
It is believed to be one of the few times - if not the only time - the singer was caught on camera being quizzed about the abuse claims.
In the footage, Jackson reacts strangely to questions from lawyer Michael Ring, closing his eyes, covering his face and smiling when asked if he was ever accused of sexually molesting Brett Barnes.
When Ring asks "To your knowledge were you ever accused of sexually molesting Macaulay?", Jackson puts his hands onto his head and lounges back in his chair, as his lawyer tells him not to answer. Seconds later he fakes a yawn on camera and randomly bursts out laughing.
As the questions become more personal, he sinks back in his chair, at one point telling Ring: "I'm a black American man and I'm proud of it, and I'm honoured of it. The bleach skin rumour is a rumour, I don't bleach my skin; I'm not gay. Don't judge a person unless you have spoken to them one on one – which is true."
He then compares himself to Jesus, stating:
"Jesus said to love the children and be like children; be youthful; be innocent, be pure and honourable. He was talking to his apostles and they were fighting over who was the greatest among themselves and he said, 'Whoever humbles himself like this child is the greatest among me.' He always surrounded himself with children, and that's how I was raised, to be like that and imitate that."
As the deposition comes to its end, the Billie Jean singer becomes more concerned with his microphone, the air conditioning and doodles made by his lawyers.
"Testing the sound. Is the air conditioning a problem. Sometimes the high sensitivity of the mics picks up sounds," he says, before bursting out laughing again.
The three hours of VHS tapes were reportedly filmed as part of a lawsuit filed by five Neverland employees against Jackson for wrongful dismissal.
The group of staff had allegedly asked their lawyer to cross-examine Jackson about his behaviour and management techniques at the infamous ranch named after the fantasy island in Peter Pan.
One of the key arguments of the case was that the Thriller star had threatened staff, who alleged they had seen him act inappropriately with children. He avoided court questioning in 1995 after giving Chandler $20 million to not testify against him.