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Michael Jackson: Charity warns bus adverts ‘perpetuate fear’

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A sexual assault victims’ charity says it is “concerned” about adverts proclaiming Michael Jackson’s innocence on buses and bus stops in London.

The posters have been put up in response to a documentary in which the singer is accused of child sex abuse.

The adverts have been financed through a crowdfunding campaign and feature the slogan: “Facts don’t lie. People do.”

The Survivors Trust says the message could discourage victims of sexual assault from coming forward.

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The person who took this photo, who wants to remain anonymous, said: “A blanket statement to say that people lie is damaging to victims of sexual assault”

The Leaving Neverland documentary, broadcast in the UK on Channel 4 last week, featured claims by two men who say they were sexually abused by Michael Jackson when they were young.

Wade Robson and James Safechuck claim they were molested and described the alleged incidents in graphic detail.

The singer died in 2009 so cannot defend himself but his family and fans have been protesting his innocence since the film was broadcast.

Michael Jackson’s nephew Taj told Radio 1 Newsbeat the allegations in Leaving Neverland feel like “the ultimate betrayal” but believes they won’t have a lasting effect on his uncle’s legacy.

Media caption“Every time I stayed the night with him, he abused me”

The poster campaign appeared after a “Michael Jackson Innocent” crowdfunding page hit its £20,000 target.

It is reportedly being led by former Big Brother UK contestant and Jackson fanatic Seany O’Kane.

However The Survivors Trust says the adverts are inappropriate.

“We have been particularly concerned by the recent news that TfL has chosen to run an advertising campaign… that endorses Jackson’s innocence,” a statement from the charity said.

“The decision to prioritise advertising revenue over the option of remaining neutral on such an emotive topic is disappointing.”

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Neverland – Michael Jackson’s home

The charity says victims of sexual assault often don’t come forward because they don’t think that they will be believed.

“An advertising campaign such as this perpetuates this fear amongst survivors and is very misplaced,” the charity said.

The crowdfunding page says: “Like countless others within the MJ Community and society in general, we would not think twice in turning our backs on his legacy, if we for one second felt that there were any truth at all in these heinous events… There is a huge group in society that believe and know he is innocent.”

Newsbeat has approached Transport for London and the Michael Jackson Innocent crowdfunding page for comment, but they haven’t responded.

If you have been affected by any of the issues mentioned in this article you can find help at the BBC Advice pages.

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