As part of its shift toward true crime, Oxygen has begun rolling out The Jury Speaks, a four-part series spotlighting the jurors behind some of America’s most high profile criminal trials: the prosecutions of Robert Durst, Michael Jackson, O.J. Simpson, and George Zimmerman. The second episode, airing July 23, focuses on Jackson's 2005 case. At one point, it mentions Living With Michael Jackson, a 2003 documentary that offered a rare glimpse into the reclusive singer's life, and now over a decade later, those looking for broader context may want to know where to watch Living With Michael Jackson.
Unfortunately for viewers, it's not available on streaming platforms like Netflix, Amazon, or Hulu, nor can it be purchased or rented on iTunes. But don't throw in the towel just yet: Thanks to the many luxuries afforded by the internet, a 50-minute worth chunk of the nearly two-hour film is available on YouTube. It's not the full experience, but it's illuminating nonetheless.
For those that missed it the first time around (or simply need a refresher), the movie features Jackson in intimate conversation with British journalist Martin Bashir, discussing everything from his music and family to his public transformation. Jackson, however, felt the footage was deliberately sensationalized, particularly in the way that it depicted his relationships with young children, and released a statement condemning the documentary. (Jackson was indicted on several charges relating to child molestation during his 2005 trial. He denied all counts and was found not guilty). According to excerpts provided to CNN, Jackson said:
"Martin Bashir persuaded me to trust him that his would be an honest and fair portrayal of my life and told me that he was `the man that turned [Princess] Diana's life around'. I am surprised that a professional journalist would compromise his integrity by deceiving me in this way. Today I feel more betrayed than perhaps ever before; that someone, who had got to know my children, my staff and me, whom I let into my heart and told the truth, could then sacrifice the trust I placed in him and produce this terrible and unfair program. Everyone who knows me will know the truth, which is that my children come first in my life and that I would never harm any child."
In response, Bashir defended his work during a live webchat for the network on which the film had aired, ITV. According to The Telegraph, he stated that he had "not betrayed" Jackson and that he thought the star's life had not been "permanently disfigured" by his interview with him. He continued:
"I don't believe that I've betrayed Michael Jackson at all. I agreed that we would make an honest film about his life. There's been allegations about distortion and misrepresentation and I refute them all. The film was fair to his musical achievement and gave him every opportunity to explain himself ... I became disturbed by [his relationship with 12-year-old Gavin] and I don't think that's unreasonable. I'm not accusing anybody of being a child molester or a pedophile. All I'm saying is that that was a concern."
In 2009, after Jackson's death, his former manager Dieter Wiesner claimed to The Sun that Jackson was so upset by Living With Michael Jackson that it exacerbated his alleged drug use.
Bashir also spoke out after Jackson's death on ABC News, saying, "The truth is that he was never convicted of any crime, I never saw any wrongdoing myself and whilst his lifestyle may have been a bit unorthodox, I don't believe it was criminal and I think the world has now lost the greatest entertainer it's probably ever known."
So while it may be difficult to pin down the full version of Living With Michael Jackson, both it and the controversy that trailed it have been well documented. See what the jurors of Jackson's trial had to say about it when The Jury Speaks' second episode airs on Sunday.