Louis Vuitton has pulled all Michael Jackson-themed items from its 2019 summer menswear collection after the release of the HBO documentary “Leaving Neverland,” which details the singer’s alleged sexual abuse of children.
The French fashion house unveiled its collection on a runway that evoked Jackson’s “Billie Jean” video and featured many other elements of the pop star’s style, such as the pleated shendyt he wore in his “Remember the Time” video, the flag print in “We Are The World,” the cartoons in the film “The Wiz,” and Jackson’s three-zip red leather jacket from “Beat It.”
On Thursday, Louis Vuitton released a statement noting that the documentary, which features “two men who allege they were sexually abused as children by Michael Jackson” caused the fashion company “the greatest pain.”
“It is important to mention that we were unaware of this documentary at the time of the last LV FW19 Men’s Show,” a company statement reads.
The artistic director of Louis Vuitton’s menswear line, Virgil Abloh, also said in the statement that his intention for the show “was to refer to Michael Jackson as a pop culture artist” and “referred only to [Jackson’s] public life that we all know and to his legacy that has influenced a whole generation of artists and designers.”
“I am aware that, in light of this documentary, the show has caused emotional reactions. I strictly condemn any form of child abuse, violence or infringement against any human rights,” said Abloh.
Michael Burke, Louis Vuitton’s chairman and chief executive officer, also added that the brand found the documentary’s allegations “deeply troubling and disturbing” and that “child safety and welfare is of utmost importance to Louis Vuitton.”
According to The Hollywood Reporter, Louis Vuitton “will not be producing pieces for their Fall-Winter 2019 collection that has Michael Jackson-specific elements” and that when the collection lands in stores, the company will only offer items that “purely reflect the true values of the brand and our artistic director.”
The two-part HBO documentary, which came out in early March, focuses on James Safechuck and Wade Robson’s allegations that Jackson sexually abused them for years at his Neverland Ranch and elsewhere. Safechuck and Robson’s allegations have taken the public by storm, with many former Jackson fans defending the singer and others condemning him.
Jackson’s family released a statement in January calling the documentary a “public lynching” after it premiered at the Sundance Film Festival.
“People have always loved to go after Michael. He was an easy target because he was unique. But Michael was subjected to a thorough investigation which included a surprise raid of Neverland and other properties as well as a jury trial where Michael was found to be COMPLETELY INNOCENT,” Jackson’s family said.
“There has never been one piece of proof of anything. Yet the media is eager to believe these lies.”