Leaving Neverland: Journalist reveals he tried to warn one of Michael Jackson's accusers in 1988

Leaving Neverland: Journalist reveals he tried to warn one of Michael Jackson's accusers in 1988

As the world tries to make sense of the shocking revelations about Michael Jackson in the four-hour documentary Leaving Neverland, one reporter recalled that he had once tried to slip a letter to a then 10-year-old boy as he feared he could be in danger.

The HBO documentary focuses on the detailed accounts of two men, Wade Robson and James Safechuck, who claim Jackson sexually assaulted them as children for a number of years.

Irish reporter Sam Smyth has revealed that he wrote a letter to Safechuck in 1988 after he saw him at a hotel following a concert.

Writing in the Irish Mail On Sunday, he recalled being suspicious about Michael’s relationship with his new “best friend” Safechuck after a concert in Cork.

He said: “We sat around a table in the resident’s lounge in Jury’s Hotel in Cork while Michael Jackson was unwinding in the luxurious penthouse suite above."

Safechuck later checked into the hotel with Michael Jackson, and it was at this point Smyth spoke with journalist Eamon Dunphy about the strange relationship the singer had with young boys.

Sometimes little Jimmy had danced on stage at other venues on the tour but he was a no-show at Páirc Uí Chaoimh and, according to staff, didn't leave his room in Jury's. Stating the obvious that had been ignored by the world's media, Dunphy said it was very, very odd for a 30-year-old man to have a ten-year-old boy as his very best friend."

In the end, he decided to write a letter to Safechuck letting him know if he needed help he could get it, and tipped a porter generously in order to slip it under his door.

A single page telling little Jimmy that, if he needed help, it was available in the resident's lounge was sealed into an envelope and given to a porter to slip under Master Safechuck's door. The porter was also given a generous tip and he later assured us that the letter had been delivered. We never heard from little Jimmy.

It would be six years later in 1994, that Michael Jackson would face child sexual abuse allegations. Though Jackson ended up settling out of court for $23million with the family of Jordan Chandler after his dad and later Jordan, accused the singer of sexually assaulting him, such claims would go on to follow him until his death.

Smyth talked about the fact that “nobody” spoke out against the singer despite many accounts of abuse.

Nobody shouted stop. The most famous pop singer in the world was hiding in plain sight - a predator on children protected by all the lawyers and influence that his millions could buy. And I deeply regret not reporting my suspicions, no matter how slight the chances of anybody making Michael Jackson stop sexually abusing children.

Writing in the Guardian, Leaving Neverland director Dan Reed speculated about why it’s taken 30 years for Jackson – and indeed the likes of Jimmy Saville for them to be “unmasked.”

“The answer,” he suggested, “has something to do of course with the dazzling glare of celebrity and our instinctive deference to talent and wealth.”

But it also has a lot to do with collective ignorance. Joe Public – that includes me before making this film – has no idea what grooming by a predatory paedophile looks like. Why didn’t the kid go running to mummy as soon as he was groped? This is partly why so many victims take their shameful secret to their graves.

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