Madonna was asked about the HBO documentary “Leaving Neverland” during a wide-ranging interview with British Vogue to promote her forthcoming album, “Madame X.” The film profiles Wade Robson and James Safechuck, two men who say they were repeatedly molested by Jackson when they were children.
Madonna said she hadn’t seen the film, and that she didn’t want to take the claims at face value.
“I don’t have a lynch-mob mentality, so in my mind, people are innocent until proven guilty,” she said in the interview, excerpts of which were published Tuesday in The Independent. “I’ve had a thousand accusations hurled at me that are not true. So my attitude when people tell me things about people is, ‘Can you prove it?’”
When asked about what she would interpret as proof of Jackson’s guilt, Madonna replied, “I don’t know, I haven’t seen the film. But I guess it would be people recounting actual events ― but then, of course, people sometimes lie.”
“So I always say, ‘What’s the agenda? What do people want out of this? Are there people asking for money, is there some kind of extortion thing happening?’” she added. “I would take all of those things into consideration.”
Madonna and Jackson were both pioneering forces on MTV throughout much of the 1980s and ’90s. It’s believed they had a contentious relationship over the years, but they attended the 1991 Academy Awards together in an instantly iconic pop culture moment (which Kim and Kourtney Kardashian spoofed for Halloween 2017).
Madonna and Jackson are said to have spoken about collaborating musically, but nothing materialized prior to Jackson’s death in 2009.
Madonna’s comments on Jackson are similar to those of another female pop icon. In March, Barbra Streisand apologized after she appeared to sympathize with Jackson in a Times of London interview and said Robson and Safechuck “were thrilled to be there.”