Growing up in his native Brisbane, Wade showed promise as a dancer, and in 1987 he won an MJ impersonation competition. His reward? He’d finally get an introduction to the King of Pop during the Australian leg of his Bad tour.
Wade was eight when his family relocated to the US. Having stayed in touch with Jackson, the young boy subsequently appeared as a child performer in three of Jackson’s music videos — Black and White, Jam and Heal The World.
But years later the choreographer, who has gone on to creatively collaborate with Britney Spears and NSYNC, says his longstanding relationship with Jackson was one of abuse.
His claims are now the subject of a controversial new HBO documentary, Leaving Neverland. In the four-hour exposé, 36-year-old Wade claims he was molested by Jackson at Neverland ranch.
WHEN WADE CLAIMS THE ABUSE BEGAN
It was 1989 when Jackson reportedly invited Wade and his family to Neverland for a weekend visit. Wade says he and his sister Chantal spent the night in Jackson’s bedroom.
When the Robson family went on to the Grand Canyon for the week, seven-year-old Wade was left behind with the star, and this is when he alleges Jackson first assaulted him.
“Within either the first or second night of Michael and I being alone at Neverland, the night started changing,” he says. “One of the ways I remember it starting is, you know, Michael just sort of started to touch my legs and touch my crotch over my pants … It progressed to him performing oral sex on me, him showing me how to perform oral sex on him.”
Wade says from that point on he continued to have physical sexual relations with Jackson until he was 14 years old.
TAKING THE STAND TO DENY ABUSE
In 1993 when a boy named Jordy Chandler accused Jackson of molesting him Robson was a key witness for Jackson’s defence.
At 10 years old, Wade took to the stand to deny anything inappropriate had ever happened between him and the singer.
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“We sleep in the same bed,” Wade told CNN at the time. “We’re both fully dressed (in) pyjamas. It’s a huge bed. He sleeps on one side. I sleep on the other.”
In the end, prosecutors did not file criminal charges against Jackson, and the Chandler family reached a settlement agreement reportedly to the tune of $20 million.
WADE’S LAST NIGHT AT NEVERLAND
Wade claims in 1994 he spent his last night with Jackson in bed. He alleges that night the singer tried to anally penetrate him as a then-14-year-old and only stopped because the act was too painful.
“The abuse, for me, went from age seven to 14 years old,” Wade says in Leaving Neverland. “I remember feeling around 12, starting to be a little more uncomfortable about that. And sometimes maybe trying to change the subject or, you know, distract. But then having a fear that, ‘If I don’t do this, I’m already feeling like I’m not a favourite of Michael’s anymore. And if I don’t do this, what’s gonna happen? What’s gonna happen to our friendship?’”
WADE TAKES THE STAND TO DENY ABUSE, AGAIN
In 2003 California police formally charged Jackson with seven counts of child molestation.
Eventually, the victim in the case is identified as Gavin Arvizo — a boy who met Jackson when he was a 10-year-old with cancer.
During the 2005 trial, Wade took the stand, alongside actor Macaulay Culkin, to say Jackson was not a sex offender and had not touched him or acted inappropriately.
When Tom Mesereau, Jackson’s lawyer, asked Wade if he’d ever been molested by the singer, he answered firmly.
“Absolutely not,” a then-22-year-old Wade said. “And I can tell you right now that if he had, I wouldn’t be here right now.”
Pressed on whether Jackson had touched him in “a sexual way”, Wade said: “Never. I wouldn’t stand for it.”
In June of that year a jury who deliberated for 32 hours over the course of a week found Jackson not guilty on all charges.
WHY WADE IS SPEAKING OUT
Wade’s allegations against Jackson are revealed in the film alongside fellow Jackson accuser, James Safechuck.
The film features graphic abuse claims, including how James alleges Jackson “married” him in a mock ceremony in exchange for a sexually abusive relationship.
Director Dan Reed says he’s “shocked by those who still won’t accept Michael Jackson as abuser”.
“Wade was in love with Jackson and cherished that relationship even more than the bond with his mother,” Reed wrote in a piece for The Guardian. “That situation persisted for years. It wasn’t until after he became the father of a little boy that Wade ‘woke’ and began to look for a way out of the accursed mental Neverland he’d entered 22 years earlier.”
— Jessica Leahy is the News Editor for whimn.com.au, continue the conversation
— This story originally appeared on whimn.com.au and was reproduced with permission