Michael Jackson’s family are reportedly considering legal action over the King of Pop’s interview with Martin Bashir.
Jackson’s nephew Taj has said his family deserves an apology as he accused Bashir of using ‘manipulated footage and unethical journalism’ in the wake of Lord Dyson’s damning report on his Princess Diana interview.
Taj’s dad Tito – Michael’s brother – told the Sunday Mirror: ‘He is finally paying a price.’
The family’s criticism comes amid calls for to ITV investigate the 2003 documentary, Living With Michael Jackson, which saw the singer allow cameras unprecedented access into his Neverland ranch.
The calls come just days after a bombshell report released by former judge Lord Dyson discovered that the journalist used ‘deceitful behaviour’ and commissioned fake bank statements to secure his 1995 Panorama interview with Princess Diana.
During his 2003 Tonight Special, Bashir confronted the late pop star over his relationship with children and the child abuse allegations made against him.
Meanwhile Channel 4’s former head of news has said the BBC must look at how Martin Bashir acquired his other ‘scoops’ following the damning report into how he landed his interview with Diana.
Dorothy Byrne said the revelations in Lord Dyson’s report that Bashir used ‘deceitful behaviour’ to secure his exclusive 1995 Panorama interview were ‘scandalous’.
She told Sky News’ Trevor Phillips On Sunday programme that the BBC and ITV should now look at other stories Bashir provided them with.
Ms Byrne said: ‘Other people who have been interviewed by Martin Bashir have complained that he lied to them.
‘So I think that both BBC and ITV need to look at all his scoops.’
Michael Jackson’s family are reportedly considering legal action over his interview with Martin Bashir in 2003 accusing him of using ‘manipulated footage’ in the ITV special programme
Michael Jackson’s fans have called for an inquiry into his interview with Martin Bashir in 2013
During his Tonight Special, Bashir confronted the late pop star over his relationship with children
Jackson’s family believe Bashir tricked the singer into agreeing to the interview.
Writing on Twitter, his nephew Taj said: ‘Bashir’s manipulated footage and unethically journalism is one of the main reasons my uncle Michael is not here today.
‘That 2005 trial broke him. Shame on those who provided cover for Bashir. Shame on those who rewarded him. My family deserves an investigation & apology too.’
His father Tito told the Sunday Mirror: ‘Bashir used Michael’s trust and friendship with Diana to get the interview, manipulated Michael throughout the interview, then deceptively edited the footage.’
In one particular segment the singer defended sleeping alongside then 13-year-old Gavin Arvizo, a cancer patient who was staying at his ranch, telling Bashir: ‘Why can’t you share your bed? That’s the most loving thing to do, to share your bed with someone.’
Michael Jackson’s nephew Taj (left) and brother Tito (right) have hit out at Martin Bashir over his interview with the King of Pop in 2003 and demanded an apology from the journalist
When pressed further by Bashir, Jackson continued to refuse any suggestion that it was inappropriate to share his bed with children, claiming that it was a pure and completely innocent act.
However just two year later, Jackson faced allegations that he had sexually abused Arvizo.
Arvizo, who was suffering from kidney cancer when he first met the singer, told officers the abuse took place in February and March 2003.
Following a trial in 2005, held in Santa Maria, California, the American singer was acquitted by a jury.
However the rumours against Jackson continued even after his death in 2009.
The controversial interview saw the singer defend letting children sleep in his bed at Neverland
The singer allowed cameras unprecedented access into his Neverland ranch during the documentary
A report carried out by former judge Lord Dyson discovered that the journalist used ‘deceitful behaviour’ to secure his 1995 Panorama interview with Princess Diana
In the eyes of the law, Jackson died an innocent man, but in 2019 new allegations surfaced when James Safechuck and Wade Robson came forward in the controversial documentary Leaving Neverland.
Now, in the wake of Lord Dyson’s report, celebrity psychic Uri Geller, who introduced the musician to Bashir said he had ‘very major regrets’ about introducing his friend to the Panorama journalist.
He told iNews: ‘My immediate reaction is I’m not surprised, an ethical journalist shouldn’t go there. I met Martin Bashir and I felt an uneasiness. I have very major regrets.
‘If I knew then of the controversies that are raging around Martin Bashir and the BBC I would have never ever have introduced Michael to Martin Bashir.’
Former bodyguard to Jackson, Matt Fiddes told the Mirror: ‘The family are considering their legal position.
‘They believe, ultimately, that Bashir’s portrayal of Michael and lies he spun destroyed his career.
‘He used the Diana letter to gain Michael’s trust, but ended up betraying him.’
The calls come after Lord Dyson’s six-month inquiry found that bogus documents ‘deceived and induced’ Earl Spencer to help Bashir ‘to arrange a meeting with Princess Diana’.
His lies landed the Panorama reporter the interview of the century and multiple awards – but, according to her brother and Prince William, hastened the end of Princess Diana’s marriage to Prince Charles and saw her stripped of her HRH status just two years before her death.
Bashir mocked up these bank statements to convince Earl Spencer to help broker an interview with Diana in an extraordinary breach of BBC editorial guidelines
Following the damning report the BBC made a ‘full and unconditional apology’ for Bashir’s conduct and the subsequent cover-up now fully laid bare 25 years on.
Director General Tim Davie has written to the royal family to apologise and is also returning all awards the explosive interview accrued, including a Bafta TV gong won in 1996.
In his report, Judge Lord Dyson, said: ‘Mr Bashir deceived and induced him [Earl Spencer] to arrange a meeting with Princess Diana.
‘By gaining access to Princess Diana in this way, Mr Bashir was able to persuade her to agree to give the interview. This behaviour was in serious breach of the 1993 edition of the BBC’s Producer Guidelines on straight dealing.’
Lord Hall’s subsequent 1996 investigation into claims Diana was hoodwinked by Bashir was ‘woefully ineffective’, the judge said, especially because their inquiry ‘did not scrutinise’ Bashir despite knowing he had lied three times about showing the fake bank statements to Earl Spencer.
‘Lord Hall could not reasonably have concluded, as he did, that Mr Bashir was an honest and honourable man’, the report said. The BBC had ‘without justification’ ‘covered up’ Mr Bashir’s tricks and ‘thereby fell short of the high standards of integrity and transparency which are its hallmark’, said Lord Dyson.
Bashir left the BBC in 1999, four years after his interview with Diana, to join ITV.
In 2016, he was rehired as the BBC’s religious affairs correspondent, before becoming religion editor – a role from which he resigned this month citing ill health.
Royal biographer Andrew Morton said Diana’s interview with Bashir was not a case of self-indulgence, but instead ‘self-preservation’ as she had been put into a state of fear and trepidation.
Asked if Bashir could have landed the interview had he not lied, Morton said: ‘He wouldn’t have got it, he scared her half to death.
He told Sky’s Trevor Phillips On Sunday programme: ‘He had her thinking he had contacts inside MI5, he was very plausible. She was put in a state of fear and trepidation.’
However, Morton said Diana would have given the interview to another journalist eventually.
‘There was no question at all Diana was going to speak her mind,’ Morton added.
He said: ‘An awful lot of what she did say (during the interview) had been circulating before that, but because it came out of her mouth it seemed sensational, raw and new.’
In an interview with The Sunday Times, Bashir, who has said he remains very proud of the interview, said he ‘never wanted to harm’ Diana.
He told the paper: ‘Everything we did in terms of the interview was as she wanted, from when she wanted to alert the palace, to when it was broadcast, to its contents … My family and I loved her.’