When someone is praising Piers Morgan, you know that it’s going to be a mess.
With the release of the chilling Leaving Neverland documentary about two men who accuse Michael Jackson of childhood sex abuse, he’s a hot topic.
But T.I. is citing an old interview of Jackson’s and claiming that allegations against him are merely an “agenda against our culture.”
T.I. has, in the past, used his fame and platform for good cuases — such as marijuana reform.
Unfortunately, this week, he responded to the Leaving Neverland documentary by sharing a 1999 Michael Jackson interview.
T.I. begins his caption: “Pierce Morgan a real one for this.”
“I would slit my wrists before I would [harm a child]. I would never ever,” Jackson said in the old interview.
“If it [weren’t] for children, I would throw in the towel,” he can be heard saying. “I would kill myself. I wouldn’t care to live.”
Jackson is saying that he could never abuse a child because he loves them so much.
“Let this man speak for himself to defend his legacy,” T.I. writes alongside the interview clip.
He insists: “Don’t just listen to one side and expect to find truth.”
For the record, Michael Jackson’s side told its tale repeatedly over the years, in interviews and in court.
Notably, the two men featured in Leaving Neverland had helped to tell Michael’s side when they were much younger.
But T.I. suggests that any current discussion of Jackson’s legacy amounts to badmouthing someone who cannot respond.
“Oh that’s right…” he writes. “Dead men can’t speak.”
“So what was the point again?” T.I. asks.
Some would say that the truth is either always or almost always its own rewward, that it holds intrinsic value.
Others would say that every #MeToo story, including those in Leaving Neverland, helps spread awareness of powerful sexual predators.
But T.I. believes that there is another motive.
He suggests: “Destroy another strong black historical LEGEND?!?!”
“[There are] several examples of pedophilia in American History…” T.I. points out.
That is absolutely true.
“if y’all pulling up all our old s–t…” he begins.
T.I. continues: “we gotta examine ELVIS PRESLEY, HUGH HEPHNER, and a whole slew of others.”
He suggests that these individuals are “guilty of the same if not more!!!”
We won’t litigate his characterization of those men, but we’ll note that Elvis has certainly been accused of preying upon multiple 14-year-old girls.
Though Michael Jackson’s alleged victims were closer to half of that age, we believe that all sexual predators should be exposed and reviled.
T.I. then implies that Michael Jackson is being mentioned as the result of a racist conspiracy.
“BUT WHY US all the time?” he asks.
It seems clear that he is also thinking of the recent and long overdue arrests of disgraced rapper R. Kelly.
“There’s an agenda to destroy OUR CULTURE,” he theorizes.
In his mind, sex abuse survivors telling their stories is part of a larger scheme.
He claims: “These are assaults against OUR CULTURE!!!”
“Make no mistake of it!!!” T.I. concludes.
Questions about why the accusers are coming forward now are best answered by this satirical headline from The Onion.
We understand that it is frustrating and disappointing when a celebrity or other entertainer whom you admire does something bad.
But the “threat” to expose other accused sexual predators is empty.
All sexual predators are bad.
His suggestion that there’s some sinister agenda plays right into the arguments made by the likes of R. Kelly and Bryan Singer.
R. Kelly has suggested that accusations against him are the result of him being a successful black man.
Bryan Singer has accused allegations against him as being homophobic in nature.
There have been real conspiracies against minorities. Abuse survivors telling their stories are not examples of that.
If T.I. really want to make a plea and do some good, he should just remind people to not harass Michael Jackson’s kids about what their father may have done.