Some people think Michael Jackson was a gentle creature. Others think he was a child molester. I believe both of these things.
When you're a child living in an adult world, you think you're above the law. You see things and do things regular children don't see and do. You see things and do things even your teachers and your friends' parents will never see and do. Jackson spent what would have been his childhood trying to make it in the music industry. He couldn't have known what he was missing. Not only did his father bully him into succeeding, but celebrity is exciting. Lonely and alienating, but addictive.
It was only as he got older that Jackson realized that the one thing he sacrificed was the thing he most wanted to get back.
Jackson built Neverland Ranch in an attempt to regain his childhood. The ranch was a bubble insulated from the realities and judgments of the outside world. I believe that Jackson had inappropriate relations with children at the ranch. I also believe that he didn't see anything wrong with being a grown man having relations with children because he didn't see himself as a grown man. In his head he was a child. He saw his sexual relations with those kids as one child experimenting with other children. In his head it really was innocent. I think this is why Jackson so openly talked about these sleepovers. He never meant to hurt these kids, but the sexual abuse was damaging to them, as sexual abuse always is.
Jackson was a talented musician and his music will stand on its own, but Jackson would have been better off if "I Want You Back" wasn't in our iTunes libraries. He would have been better off if Off The Wall had never come out. If no one had ever heard of Bad or Thriller. And so would some of the children who entered his life.
It turns out that nothing can compare to a mundane childhood. Missing out on the opportunity to grow up at a normal pace is something that one of the richest and most famous men in the world spent his life and fortune trying to get back. In our celebrity-obsessed culture, it is ordinary life that is extraordinary for the extraordinary who never got a chance to be ordinary.