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Michael Jackson's fans fight back -- on London buses

Posters claiming star's innocence displayed

Posters claiming Michael Jackson is innocent of sexual abuse allegations have gone on display on London buses, after the documentary "Leaving Neverland" aired in Britain.

In the four-hour documentary, which aired in a slightly shorter format over two nights in the UK this week, Wade Robson and James Safechuck accused Jackson of repeated sexual abuse when they were children.

After the film aired at Sundance in January, Jackson's family called it a "public lynching" and have filed suit against HBO, which co-produced the documentary. HBO is owned by CNN's parent company.

The London ads, of which there appear to be two designs, show a black and white photo of Jackson's face. One version has the word "INNOCENT" across his mouth and reads "FACTS DON'T LIE. PEOPLE DO." The other displays the hashtag "#MJINNOCENT."

Both versions direct viewers to the website mjinnocent.com, which lists purported evidence of Jackson's innocence.

Anika Kotecha, a 34-year-old lawyer who is one of the organizers of the campaign, told CNN that the posters were the work of a small, primarily UK-based team, though billboards have also gone up in the US and the Netherlands.

"We've known for a long time that these allegations are nothing but lies and we wanted to get that message out to the general public," she said.

Kotecha and other organizers used an agency to place the ads, though she told CNN that they liaised with government body Transport for London in the process. CNN has contacted Transport for London for comment.

The bus ads will be displayed into April, on a total of 60 buses, Kotecha said. They were funded by a GoFundMe campaign, which has raised almost £15,000 ($19,700). "Next stop Underground commercials," the GoFundMe page reads.

The MJInnocent campaign previously released T-shirts featuring the same imagery as the bus posters.

"I'm not defending him because he can sing or he can dance," Kotecha said. "A victim of false allegations is as much a victim as one of real child abuse."

Ahead of the UK broadcast of "Leaving Neverland," Jackson defenders protested outside the headquarters of British television network Channel 4, which aired the documentary as planned.

In the film, directed by Dan Reed, Robson, now 36, and Safechuck, now 41, allege that Jackson groomed and molested them as children. Robson met the singer at age five, after winning a dance-alike concert in his native Australia, while Safechuck was eight when he appeared alongside Jackson in a 1986 Pepsi commercial.

Safechuck and Robson said the abuse lasted for years, ending only when Jackson met new children.

Jackson's family called both men "admitted liars," citing sworn statements they made during Jackson's life that he did not abuse them.

In a statement, the family said: "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."


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