Louis Theroux says that Michael Jackson had an 'unhealthy interest in children'
For decades now, Louis Theroux has been regarded and revered as documentary-maker who isn't afraid of covering controversial topics. He's met with the notoriously homophobic Westboro Baptist Church, spent time with self-confessed pedophiles, and even spoken to members of the Ku Klux Klan. It's hardly a surprise, then, that he's chosen to weigh-in on the Michael Jackson abuse accusations.
Speaking with the Independent, the filmmaker said that he believes Jackson's relationships with children were not exactly healthy.
"I had been investigating the case for quite a while and knew enough on the subject to view it at that time – as I do now – that he had unhealthy interests in children," he stated. "But I didn’t have enough victim testimony to put forward a forensic case to him."
Speaking about the new documentary, Leaving Neverland, Theroux noted that he had made attempts to speak to the two men who claim to have been the victims of abuse at Jackson's hands.
"I haven’t seen the film but I will say that two or three years ago, when Wade Robson first came out to say that he’d been abused by Michael Jackson, I did approach him," he said. "I made another approach to Jordy Chandler, who was the victim in the case in the early Nineties. They weren’t receptive at the time. I can’t remember why."
The documentary-maker also said that he thinks a closer analysis into the King of Pop is necessary because of how he is perceived as a public figure, and how his fan-following tends to be overly forgiving.
"For many people, Michael Jackson was more a religious figure than a celebrity one," he said.
"You would see Michael Jackson-themed nights on reality TV shows, and then, if you cared to look, it was evident he had unhealthy interests in children. Even last year, the National Portrait Gallery had an exhibition on Michael Jackson in which they didn’t address anything to do with the victims, which was such a dereliction. I’m not one of those people who thinks he should be muted, but you should call it what it is."
This subject is particularly close to home for Theroux, who famously spent some time Jimmy Savile for a documentary back in 2000.
During his lifetime, Savile faced numerous accusations of pedophilia, but was never found guilty of anything. After his death, it transpired that he had abused dozens of young children, and that his actions had been deliberately covered up by individuals he worked with.
"Do I regret missing the story?" Theroux mused about the Savile film. "I’m still proud of that documentary. Retrospectively, you can say we missed out on that story, but we did what we could at the time."
Unlike Savile, Michael Jackson did face criminal investigation after claims were made about him.