- Michael Jackson’s nephew, Taj, says Martin Bashir “stabbed him in the back” in 2003 documentary.
- In the film, Jackson said he slept in the same bed as underage boys but denied anything sexual.
- Taj also said Bashir used a letter from Princess Diana to convince Jackson to do the documentary.
- Visit Insider’s homepage for more stories.
Taj Jackson, legendary singer Michael Jackson’s nephew, believes that former BBC journalist Martin Bashir “manipulated” the pop megastar into doing the explosive 2003 documentary “Living with Michael Jackson.”
Bashir has already been criticized in recent weeks for how he secured his 1995 interview with Princess Diana. The BBC apologized and announced on Thursday that Bashir had used “deceitful” tactics – including faking bank statements that he showed her brother, Earl Spencer, so he would introduce Diana to Bashir – to secure a chat with the late royal where she spoke candidly about her marriage and her eating disorder.
The week before the BBC’s apology, Bashir left the corporation amid the then-ongoing inquiry into the circumstances surrounding the controversial Princess Diana interview, BBC News reported on May 14, citing ongoing health issues as the reason for his exit.
Adding to the criticism surrounding Bashir’s journalistic practices, Taj claimed during an appearance on “Good Morning Britain” on Monday that Bashir “stabbed [his uncle] in the back” with “Living with Michael Jackson.”
The 2003 documentary was controversial because it included a conversation in which Jackson admitted to sleeping in the same bed as underage boys while denying that he shared sexual relationships with them.
Representatives for ITV and Taj didn’t immediately respond to Insider’s request for comment. A representative for BBC, Bashir’s former employer, declined to comment when reached by Insider.
“My uncle felt safe with him, and safe that he would portray him in the right light,” Taj told “Good Morning Britain” co-hosts Susanna Reid and Bill Turnbull of Jackson’s relationship with Bashir. “My uncle looked at him as a friend, and through the voiceovers and the editing, really stabbed him in the back.”
“I always had faith that journalism meant something, and that day that faith died,” he continued.
Taj added: “This was a man who was let into my uncle’s life who was trusted and manipulated his way in and destroyed my uncle’s persona.”
Before Taj’s “Good Morning Britain” appearance, Taj and his father Tito, Jackson’s brother, also told TMZ on Sunday that they blamed the documentary for Jackson’s death in 2009.
“Bashir’s manipulated footage and unethically [sic] journalism is one of the main reasons my uncle Michael is not here today,” Taj told TMZ.
Allegations against Jackson dated back to 1993 (a full decade before Bashir’s documentary was released) when Jackson became the subject of a police investigation in Los Angeles and a civil suit was brought against him by the parents of Jordan Chandler, one of Jackson’s accusers.
About 10 months after “Living with Michael Jackson” aired on ITV and ABC in February 2003, Michael Jackson was charged in Santa Barbara County (where his Neverland Ranch is located) with child molestation, abduction, and false imprisonment. He was later acquitted of all charges brought against him during the 2005 trial.
Taj also claimed in the “Good Morning Britain” interview that Bashir used a letter Princess Diana wrote after her 1995 interview with the journalist had aired to get Jackson to agree to do his own documentary.
“Being that my uncle appreciated Princess Di so much and loved her,” Taj said about his late uncle on “Good Morning Britain.” “It was almost like a welcoming, like I can trust this guy because this guy did such an amazing job with Princess Di.”
Bashir has yet to respond to Taj’s comments about the Jackson documentary, but the journalist told The Sunday Times in an interview published on Saturday that he doesn’t believe his 1995 interview was harmful to Princess Diana.
“I never wanted to harm Diana in any way and I don’t believe we did,” Bashir told The Sunday Times. “Everything we did in terms of the interview was as she wanted, from when she wanted to alert the palace, to when it was broadcast, to its contents … My family and I loved her.”
“I hope that people will allow me the opportunity to show that I am properly repentant of what happened,” he added.
Prince William, Diana’s son and second in line for the throne, also spoke out about the inquiry, calling it a “step in the right direction.”
“The independent investigation is a step in the right direction,” he said. “It should help establish the truth behind the actions that led to the Panorama interview and subsequent decisions taken by those in the BBC at the time.”