ASA closes probe into Michael Jackson 'innocent' ads

Outdoor executions featured image of singer with the copy: 'Facts don't lie. People do.'

(Picture: Joe Rackham)
(Picture: Joe Rackham)

The UK’s advertising watchdog has ended its investigation into outdoor ads in London that claimed Michael Jackson is innocent of child sex abuse.

The Advertising Standards Authority said "there was very little practical action left for us to take" after Transport for London removed the ads in response to complaints.

The executions, which have received 34 complaints to date, were displayed on London buses and bus shelters earlier this month. They used an image of Jackson's face and stated: "Facts don’t lie. People do." 

Complainants said the ads attacked the credibility of those who have accused Jackson of abuse or were irresponsible because it could prevent other victims of abuse from coming forward. 

The campaign followed the release of the documentary Leaving Neverland, a joint production between Channel 4 and HBO, in which Wade Robson and James Safechuck were interviewed in depth about their alleged abuse by Jackson at his Neverland Ranch in California.

An ASA spokesman said: "We received 34 complaints in total. In assessing whether there were grounds for further action, we took into account the fact that TfL had removed the ads following concern from the public.

"In this instance, as the ads had already been removed, there was very little practical action left for us to take."