Luxury fashion house, Louis Vuitton, and its menswear creative director Virgil Abloh are the latest to face backlash after the controversial ‘Leaving Neverland’ documentary. The controversial documentary, which was slammed by the Jackson family, explores allegations of extreme acts of child sexual abuse by two of MJ’s former minor associates. However, reactions have been split between loyal MJ fans and abuse survivors. As a result, Virgil and LV were put in a tough predicament because of the King of Pop’s influences in the FW19 show, which featured a “Billie Jean”-inspired set design and glitter gloves.
Louis Vuitton’s chief executive officer, Michael Burke, said in an official statement regarding #LeavingNeverland, “We find the allegations in the documentary deeply troubling and disturbing. Child safety and welfare is of utmost importance to Louis Vuitton. We are fully committed to advocating this cause.” The statement continued, “The documentary ‘Leaving Neverland’ featuring two men who allege they were sexually abused as children by Michael Jackson has caused us the greatest pain. It is important to mention that we were unaware of this documentary at the time of the last LV FW19 Men’s Show.”
Abloh followed up Burke’s statement with, “My intention for this show was to refer to Michael Jackson as a pop culture artist. It referred only to his public life that we all know and to his legacy that has influenced a whole generation of artists and designers. I am aware that, in light of this documentary, the show has caused emotional reactions. I strictly condemn any form of child abuse, violence or infringement against any human rights.”
According to The Source, the brand has decided to remove all Michael Jackson-focused themes from the FW19 lineup. Specific items being removed haven’t been named, but items such as the sparkly gloves, T-shirts depicting MJ’s signature tip-toed dance move and possibly the Jackson 5-inspired sweaters. Items inspired by The Wiz are up in the air, as Michael Jackson alone didn’t embody the whole significance of The Wiz to Black culture and cinema in general.
Is backlash like this the first sign of the end of Michael Jackson’s legacy?