Michael Jackson's family reacts to explosive claims in "Leaving Neverland"

Michael Jackson's family reacts to new doc

Last Updated Feb 26, 2019 11:42 PM EST

Michael Jackson's family is defending the iconic artist's legacy ahead of an explosive new documentary set to air Sunday on HBO. In "Leaving Neverland," Wade Robson and James Safechuck accuse Jackson of molesting them when they were young boys. The Jackson family has denounced Robson and Safechuck as "opportunists" and "admitted liars."

"You say that it's lies, and you don't intend to see it," "CBS This Morning" co-host Gayle King said in an interview with the Jackson's brothers, Tito, Marlon, and Jackie Jackson, as well as Jackson's nephew, Taj. "How can you complain or challenge something that you have not seen?"

"No. I know my brother. He's my little brother. I know my brother. He's not like that," Jackie Jackson responded, in the family's first TV interview reacting to the documentary's claims. The extended interview will air Wednesday, Feb. 27 on "CBS This Morning."

"Did it not seem odd to you though that your brother would share a bed or have slumber parties with young children?" King asked.

"I grew up in it, so for me it wasn't odd," Taj said. "You know, I think, to the outside world, yes, I think it can be odd. I mean, I'm not oblivious to what it sounds like. But when you're actually there in that atmosphere and you're around it, and you're watching movies, whether, with his kids, whether it's 'Little Rascals' or 'Three Stooges,' and you're watching these things, it's like, it's very innocent. But I think, the fault on my uncle was he just, he didn't have that bone in his body to look at it the other way. And I think that was the thing, is that his naiveté was his downfall in a way."

Jackson's estate also sued HBO last week, calling "Leaving Neverland" "a one-sided marathon of unvetted propaganda to shamelessly exploit an innocent man no longer here to defend himself." Jackson repeatedly denied he sexually abused children when he was alive. He settled a 1993 lawsuit and was acquitted in a 2005 criminal trial.

Why Michael Jackson's brother Jackie won't be seeing "Leaving Neverland"

The accusers said Jackson warned them they had to keep the abuse a secret and allegedly pressured them to defend him in his sex abuse cases. In court and in TV interviews, Robson denied being molested by Jackson. But in 2013, after suffering nervous breakdowns, Robson decided to tell what he claims is the real story in a lawsuit against the Jackson estate. Safechuck followed him a year later, though, according to reports, he had also previously denied the allegations. Both cases were thrown out because of the statute of limitations. The men are now appealing.

The family said Robson and Safechuck are coming forward now because of money.

"It's all about money," Marlon said.

"It's always been about money. I hate to say it when it's my uncle, it's almost like they see a blank check," Taj said, adding, "These people ... felt that they're owed something. You know, instead of working for something, they blame everything on my uncle."

Marlon said he wants viewers to know "this documentary is not telling the truth."

"There has not been not one piece of evidence that corroborates their story. And they're not interested in doing that," Marlon added.

"Some would say though, guys, it's hard for you sit here and say the documentary isn't telling the truth when you haven't seen the documentary. Shouldn't you at least seen the documentary?" King asked again.

"I trust my attorney," Marlon responded.

"I don't care to see it," Jackie said. "No, because I know my brother. I don't have to see that documentary. I know Michael. I'm the oldest brother. I know my brother. I know what he stood for. What he was all about. Bringing the world together. Making kids happy. That's the kind of person he was."

"He was never, in your opinion, abusive to children?" King asked.

"No. Never," they responded in unison, shaking their heads.

"Never inappropriate with children? In a sexual way?"

"Never inappropriate," Marlon said.

"The people that really know him, they know the truth, too," Jackie said.

Watch the extended interview with the Jackson family on Wednesday, Feb. 27, on "CBS This Morning." On Thursday, Feb. 28, King also sits down with Robson and Safechuck who share their stories.

Michael Jackson's family reacts to claims in "Leaving Neverland" documentary