Jackson and Safechuck

Because thousands of obsessed fans have spent their whole lives worshiping Jackson as a Christ-like figure, they can’t possibly accept that he could have been a pedophile, as alleged by HBO’s terrifying new documentary Leaving Neverland:

Fans have therefore devoted countless hours trying to debunk the documentary any way they can.

Most of these debunkings are too ridiculous to respond to, but one gained a small degree of traction.

In Leaving Neverland, James Safechuck describes many places where he claims to have been molested by Michael Jackson as a kid, including different rooms at Neverland (Jackson’s home). One of those rooms was the upstairs of the train station.

The Neverland train station

Mike Smallcombe (a British Jackson biographer) told Mirror Online:

The deficiency in Safechuck’s story is this – construction on Neverland’s train station didn’t start until the latter part of 1993, and it didn’t open until the first part of 1994, when Safechuck was 16. So abuse in the train station wasn’t possible if the abuse stopped in 1992, as he claims in his testimony, as it didn’t even exist then. There’s a two year difference.”

To prove that Jackson’s trains station wasn’t built until 1993, Smallcombe tweeted the construction permit.

However Smallcombe is assuming the train station was only built after Jackson got the construction permit. But in an interview taped in 2018 (well before this controversy emerged) for episode 094 of a Jackson fan podcast called The MJ Cast, Jackson’s photographer Harrison Funk claims he was told not to photograph the train station because it was built without a permit.

This means that the September 1993 permit Smallcombe cites must have been issued after the train station was built, suggesting it was likely built in 1992 or earlier.

Even if it was built in early 1993, this still does not debunk Safechuck’s claims of being molested there. According to imdb, Safechuck was born February 28, 1978, so he would have been 14 before February 28, 1993 and 15 by March 1993. Consistent with this timeline is Diane Diamond’s Daily Beast article published in 2014 which stated:

According to the source, Safechuck alleges that he “was molested from the age of 10 to about 14 or 15″.

Even if one overlooks the absurdity of expecting alleged victims of abuse to precisely remember the exact date and location of every sexual act that occurred over many years a quarter century ago, there appears to be no holes in Safechuck’s narrative.

UPDATE April 21, 2019: I’ve just been informed that further confirmation that the train station was built long before the permit Smallcombe cites can be found on pages 23-24 of Frank Cascio’s book My Friend Michael.

Then in 1993, my relationship with Michael reached a new level when, for the first time, he invited my family to visit him at his home, Neverland Ranch…I was twelve when my family took its first trip to Neverland over spring break…Now, though, we were at last at Neverland, and it was truly another world…The driveway curved past a train station on the right, a lake on the left.

In response to this article, many Jackson fans are linking to an AP photo of Jackson’s train station showing it under construction as recently as December 1993. However the photo only lists the creation date as December 1993; the taken date was likely much earlier. Many people assume the created date is when the photo was taken but it actually refers to when it’s created on the computer. AP has no way of knowing when their photos were taken since they buy photos from freelance photographers and if one of these worked for Jackson, they may have even deliberately delayed the creation date if, as Funk claimed, Jackson did not have a building permit at the time of construction