Is an ultimate sacrifice demanded when we place people on the altar of celebrity?

FILE - This Nov. 7, 2001 file photo, Michael Jackson waves to crowds gathered to see him at his first ever in-store appearance in New York. (AP Photo/Suzanne Plunkett)

The following is an editorial by Armstrong Williams.

When we place people on the altar of celebrity, we seem to demand of them an ultimate sacrifice.

The documentary “Leaving Neverland” takes a critical look at one of the most controversial aspects of Michael Jackson’s life and legacy: the persistent rumors that he abused children, specifically young boys.

The documentary’s two protagonists, young men whom the pop star befriended when they were boys, allege that Jackson began “grooming” them and their families for what would turn out to be years of sexual abuse spanning into their middle teens.

The men have also been making the media rounds, including exclusive interviews with Oprah Winfrey and Gayle King.

They allege that Jackson’s family and inner circle created an atmosphere of intimidation and lies that protected the star against allegations of child sexual abuse for decades.

Jackson’s family told King on “CBS This Morning” that the documentary is “a one-sided marathon of unvetted propaganda.”

Jackson’s fans are having none of it. They have taken to social media to attack Oprah and Jackson’s accusers in vile terms. In the age of #MeToo, there seems to be a specific carve-out for Michael Jackson, whose legendary status has placed him somewhere on the pop pantheon between saint and god.

His fans accuse the two men of being money-seeking leeches who lived off Jackson’s largesse and only now are bringing forth these tales of abuse in order to siphon more money from Jackson’s estate.

For their part, the men say that their efforts to bring attention to child abuse has nothing to do with money and are all about seeking justice and preventing such a situation from happening again.

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