A HBO documentary called Leaving Neverland has divided the world after it detailed allegations of abuse laid out against musician Michael Jackson.
As people pen op-eds and social media is filled with debate, Piers Morgan aired a never-before-revealed interview he had conducted with the late pop star in 1999 at the height of the sexual abuse allegations against him.
He had come to the UK to visit with his friend, Mohamed Al-Fayed, the then-owner of department store Harrods.
Morgan contacted Al-Fayed to arrange what he later categorised as a “random” interview. Airing segments of the phone call in a world exclusive on Good Morning Britain, it gives a fresh insight into Jackson and his vehement denial of sexual assault allegations made against him - and his relationship with the British press.
Michael Jackson on children:
If it wasn’t for children I would throw in the towel. I would kill myself, I wouldn’t care to live.
They give me my inspiration, they give me… they inspire me. Everything I do, every song I write, the dance, everything I do… they try to use it against me and it’s just been so unfair and I’m very upset about it, you know.
On harming children:
I would slit my wrists before I would [ever harm children]. I could never-ever.
WORLD EXCLUSIVE: Hear the never-heard before interview @piersmorgan conducted with Michael Jackson in 1999.
— Good Morning Britain (@Good Morning Britain)
On the UK and visiting Great Ormond Street Hospital:
I would love to live in London and I love it so much – it’s just the press is so hard on me here and I try to do so good.
I go to the hospitals. I give presents to the children. As soon as I leave the next day they go, ‘Wacko Jacko left the hospital and he ignored all the children.’ And it hurts my heart.
Talking about visiting the hospital, he added: “I purposefully flew Minnie Mouse and Mickey Mouse all the way from Euro Disney. I brought them with me to surprise the children. I brought bags of presents and everything. I spent time with the kids and they made fun of me."
I’m just a person who wants to be honest and do good and make people happy and give them the greatest sense of escapism through the talent that God has given me, you know?
That’s where my heart is. That’s all I want to do, that’s all.
To his critics at the time, he added: “Look, leave me alone and let me do what I want to do – which is share and give and put a smile on people’s face and make their heart feel happy."
Leaving Neverland airs in the UK as two parts, on Wednesday 6 and Thursday 7 March at 9pm on Channel 4