This article titled “Michael Jackson’s Neverland ranch cuts sale price by $69m” was written by Guardian music, for theguardian.com on Thursday 28th February 2019 15.13 UTC
Michael Jackson’s Neverland ranch has returned to the housing market at a drastically reduced rate as allegations of sexual abuse have been brought to light.
The singer’s 2,700-acre California property, now rebranded as the Sycamore Valley Ranch, has been listed for $31m, a major drop from the original asking price of $100m when it was first put on the market in 2015. Included in the estate is a tennis court, a swimming pool, and a movie theatre.
Real estate agent Kyle Forsyth told CBS News that the decision to relist with a reduced price was because “the timing is right for new stewardship”. The price drop is allegedly the result of years of drought and natural disasters but the property is well-maintained. Jackson originally brought it for $19.5m in 1987.
The news comes just days before HBO airs Leaving Neverland, a two-part four-hour documentary that features the testimonies of Wade Robson and James Safechuck, two men who allege that the singer sexually abused them as children. In the film they claim that Jackson would habitually molest them in various parts of the property. “It sounds sick but it’s kind of like when you’re first dating somebody,” Safechuck explained, after listing the many spaces at the complex where Jackson would allegedly abuse him.
Jackson’s estate is suing HBO, calling the documentary a “one-sided marathon of unvetted propaganda to shamelessly exploit an innocent man no longer here to defend himself”. The suit claims that the network is in breach of a non-disparagement clause from a 1992 contract.
The singer’s family have also been speaking out against the film, with three of his brothers and a nephew appearing on CBS this week to criticise its content, despite none of them having seen it. They believe that the reason behind the two men coming forward is purely financial. “It’s all about money,” his brother Marlon said. Taj referred to his uncle as “a blank cheque”.
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