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Michael Jackson 'innocent' adverts to be removed

Michael Jackson Image copyright Getty Images

Transport for London says it will be removing advertisements that proclaim Michael Jackson is innocent.

The decision comes after a sexual assault victims' charity said it was "concerned" about the adverts that have appeared on buses and bus stops.

Posters were put up in response to a documentary in which the singer is accused of child sex abuse.

The adverts have been financed through a crowdfunding campaign and feature the slogan: "Facts don't lie. People do."

The Survivors Trust said the message could discourage victims of sexual assault from coming forward.

In a statement to BBC Radio 1 Newsbeat, TfL says: "We have reviewed our position and will be removing these advertisements.

"They have been rejected due to the public sensitivity and concern around their content."

Image caption The person who took this photo, who wants to remain anonymous, said: "A blanket statement to say that people lie is damaging to victims of sexual assault"

The Leaving Neverland documentary, broadcast in the UK on Channel 4 last week, featured claims by two men who say they were sexually abused by Michael Jackson when they were young.

Wade Robson and James Safechuck claim they were molested and described the alleged incidents in graphic detail.

The singer died in 2009 so cannot defend himself, but his family and fans have been protesting his innocence since the film was broadcast.

Michael Jackson's nephew Taj told Radio 1 Newsbeat the allegations in Leaving Neverland felt like "the ultimate betrayal" but he believes they won't have a lasting effect on his uncle's legacy.

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Media caption"Every time I stayed the night with him, he abused me"

The poster campaign appeared after a "Michael Jackson Innocent" crowdfunding page hit its £20,000 target.

The page says: "Like countless others within the MJ Community and society in general, we would not think twice in turning our backs on his legacy, if we for one second felt that there was any truth at all in these heinous events... There is a huge group in society that believe and know he is innocent."

It is reportedly being led by former Big Brother UK contestant and Jackson fanatic Seany O'Kane.

However the Survivors Trust said the adverts were inappropriate.

"We have been particularly concerned by the recent news that TfL has chosen to run an advertising campaign... that endorses Jackson's innocence," a statement from the charity said.

"The decision to prioritise advertising revenue over the option of remaining neutral on such an emotive topic is disappointing."

Image copyright Getty Images
Image caption Neverland - Michael Jackson's home

The charity said victims of sexual assault often did not come forward because they thought that they would not be believed.

"An advertising campaign such as this perpetuates this fear among survivors and is very misplaced," the charity stated.

If you have been affected by any of the issues mentioned in this article you can find help at the BBC Advice pages.

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