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The Children’s Museum of Indianapolis has removed three Michael Jackson items from exhibits after a new documentary renewed allegations of child sexual abuse against the late singer and Gary, Indiana, native.
The Indianapolis Star reports a fedora and glove Jackson wore onstage and a Jackson poster are no longer on display at the museum.
Chris Carron, the museum’s director of collections, says he wants items on display to tell stories of “people of high character.”
The HBO documentary Leaving Neverland featured accounts from two men who say Jackson groomed them for sex and molested them when they were young. Allegations of sexual abuse shadowed Jackson throughout much of his adult life. Jackson was acquitted on child molestation charges in 2005. He died in 2009.
On Saturday afternoon, The Hollywood Reporter received a statement from the Children’s Museum, clarifying exactly what pieces were removed and adding details about Ryan White, a boy whom Jackson met during White’s struggle with AIDS; he died in 1990 and Jackson’s song “Gone Too Soon” is dedicated to his memory.
The museum’s statement is below.
Three Michael Jackson artifacts have been removed from two exhibits at The Children’s Museum of Indianapolis: his iconic fedora and white glove that we purchased several years ago at auction for our American Pop exhibit, and the signed Michael Jackson poster that was in The Power of Children exhibit.
As the world’s largest children’s museum, we are more sensitive than most to our audience. In an excess of caution, and in response to the controversy over the HBO film called Leaving Neverland, which directly involved allegations of abuse against children, we removed those objects while we carefully consider the situation more fully.
The museum’s nationally-recognized The Power of Children exhibit directly addresses issues of discrimination and intolerance of all kinds. Michael Jackson pictures on display in The Power of Children exhibit remain because they are part of a direct re-creation of Ryan White’s room. Ryan’s family found Michael Jackson’s kindness to them to be an important part of Ryan’s story and the pictures of Michael displayed in that exhibit will always be an integral part of the Ryan White story. The poster was removed because it was not part of the original re-creation of Ryan’s room.
Mar. 16, 2:45 p.m. Updated with statement from the Children’s Museum.
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