Michael Jackson: Chase the Truth was released on the 13th of August on multiple online platforms such as Amazon video, YouTube and Google play, et cetera.
The anti-Leaving Neverland documentary directed by Jordan Hill and published by Entertain Me, unsurprisingly, portrays James Safechuck and Wade Robson as compulsive liars who have fabricated false molestation claims for financial gain.
The documentary features a small number of Jackson's close "personal" friends who claim to know the truth, despite never being in the same room as James or Wade when they say they were abused in the eighties and nineties by Jackson. It also features Mike Smallcombe, a Jackson biographer, who has been aggressively promoting his Neverland train station findings to a host of UK and international tabloids for the past few months, while conveniently making no mention of the complexity of child sex abuse or inconsistencies by genuine survivors.
One subject that Jordan Hill chose to interview is Jackson's former "bodyguard" Matt Fiddes. Fiddes is generally an unpopular figure within the church of Michael Jackson, especially after his claims that he could be the biological father of Blanket shortly after Jackson's death.
Many Jackson fan/cult websites have pages upon pages dedicated to finding holes in Fiddes alleged friendship and association with Jackson, pointing out that he was only the "umbrella boy" when Jackson's was invited by Uri Geller to Exeter City football in 2001.
Of course, you should always take anything a Jackson stan says with a pinch of salt, and there is evidence that Fiddes was a bodyguard on 1 or 2 more occasions, most likely London, or someone else within the UK in same time period.
Moving away from fan/cult websites there is plenty of evidence to indicate that Matt Fiddes is both an eccentric and dubious individual. On October 19, 1999 in Barnstable he hosted a Black Belt Academy extravaganza when a "special guest" arrived in a white stretch limousine with 10 bodyguards. This special guest, was a Jackson impersonator, who performed a number of routines to the stunned crowd. Fiddes, who would have been around 20 at the time organised the entire thing, proving he was Wacko for Jacko well before he met him.
In 2008, he was involved in a Channel 4 programme titled: "The Jacksons Are Coming" which followed Tito Jackson and members of his family as they searched for a home in Devon, where Fiddes acted as a tour guide.
Fiddes launched a bizarre no-win no fee legal case against Channel 4, accusing them of faking the entire program. This, unsurprisingly, failed and Fiddes didn't get a penny.
Julian Bellamy, the head of Channel 4, said: "Channel 4 is delighted that this unmeritorious claim has been discontinued. This case illustrates the chilling effect that exorbitant legal costs in CFA-funded libel claims can have on broadcasters' freedom of expression. The claim was flawed from the outset and it is a damning indictment of the current libel system in the UK that the claimant has been allowed to tie up the court's valuable time and the defendant's resources for so long."
He added: "To be crystal clear ... we are not paying Mr Fiddes's legal fees or any damages."
Stephen Lambert, chief executive of Studio Lambert, which made the programme, described Fiddes as a "fame-seeking fantasist" who, when he didn't like seeing himself on television "in his true colours", launched a "vainglorious legal action".
Michael Jackson's mother, Katherine issued a statement stating: "Fiddes tried to pretend that he was a close friend of my son Michael, but when I spoke to Michael about him, he could not remember who he was. The whole family was deeply upset by interviews he gave shortly after Michael's death which no friend would have done.
"You have to stand up to people like this."
In February 2013, Fiddes was fined for issuing fake court summons in a divorce case. He was handed a £750 fine, and ordered to pay £1,200 costs and a £15 victim surcharge.
Judge Francis Gilbert QC said: "You would have saved yourself a lot of the trouble if you had admitted what you did at the start."
"It was rather a stupid thing to have done," the judge said, adding that Fiddes had "a significant business".
Not only do most Jackson stans hate Matt Fiddes, but he's also deeply unpopular within the martial arts industry. Multiple website have been created to warn people that Fiddes is running the biggest McDojo in the UK. A McDojo is a term used to describe one or more individuals who are running a watered-down and impractical martial arts class, purely for money.
This is a direct quote from nameandshamemcfiddles.yolasite.com: "With over 500 schools worldwide (250 IN THE UK) and boasting at having 25,000 members, Matt Fiddes martial arts is the biggest McDojo in the UK. Run by 6th Dan Matt Fiddes who at 11 was 1st Dan and at age 17 achieved 4th Dan, at age 29 6th Dan. Matt Fiddes academies are well documented as a McDojo with stories of lock in contracts, exorbitant training fees and the promise of a black belt in 2 years. Matt Fiddes has issued legal threats against multitude of people who have spoken out about his martial arts business, stories of attempts at blackmail have been documented as well."
So, in a nutshell, Jordan Hill interviewed a fame-seeking fantasist who forges documents and was discredited by Jackson's own mother to cast doubt on James and Wade's allegations!!!
I put several questions to Jordan Hill on 14 August stating the obvious that Matt Fiddes has serious credibility issues and whether he did any background checks to validate his authenticity. Below you can see my complete conversation, with screenshots. I had previously contacted Jordan Hill on another issue via Entertain Me, which I will post in due course.
All emails were sent to firstname.lastname@example.org.
My first email:
Hi, I have a question about one of your subject matters in your newly released documentary.
Matt Fiddes features in the film, and boldly claims that he was Jackson's bodyguard for a 10 or more year period, and has inside knowledge of Neverland Ranch and how security operated.
However, I have serious doubts that Matt Fiddes did nothing more than 2-3 jobs in the United Kingdom, nowhere else for Jackson.
For example, Mr Fiddes has an interesting past, which started in 1999, where he held an event in Barnstable where he claimed Michael Jackson would be appearing. This was unsurprisingly an impersonator.
Matt Fiddes undoubtably did some security work (along with multiple security staff) for Jackson in 2001, in Exeter, and possibly shortly after in London. This however is where his association with Jackson becomes murky.
If we take the 2003 Living with Michael Jackson documentary by Martin Bashir there is no sign of Mr Fiddes, despite the documentary being shot over a seven-month period, both at Jackson's Ranch and in Europe.
Shortly afterwards, Jackson was preparing for his 2005 trial, where yet again, there was no sign of Mr Fiddes as a bodyguard, or even as a defence witness.
After the trial, Jackson made the Republic of Ireland and Bahrain his home for at least a couple of years, before returning to California, where he later died of a drug overdose. Mr Fiddes was never part of Jackson's security team, according to the police investigation.
In 2008, Mr Fiddes worked as a go-between tour guide on a Channel 4 programme titled: "The Jacksons Are Coming". Later Mr Fiddes launched a bizarre legal case against Channel 4, claiming that the documentary was faked. Unsurprisingly, he lost.
He was branded a "fantasist" by Channel 4 lawyers, and Michael Jackson's mother, Katherine, issued a statement stating that Mr Fiddes was no friend of the family and that Michael Jackson couldn't remember who he was.
In 2013 Mr Fiddes was fined after delivering a copy of a paper falsely purporting to be a county court summons.
As the director of the documentary, what background checks did you do on Mr Fiddes to ensure that he was a credible individual, rather than a "fantasist" who fabricated a friendship?
Looking forward to your reply.
Jordan Hill's reply:
Thanks for your thorough response. It’s clear you have a passion about this subject. We were aware from the start about prior research people have done into all our contributors that is why in the edit I felt it only responsible to include only verifiable remarks and nothing fantastical.
It was difficult at the project’s inception to find anyone who was willing to discuss Michael Jackson’s legal disputes as the topic is justifiably very complicated and massively out of public favour but I strived to see what kind of a picture there was when we look at the messy and complicated world with as much context as possible.
I have said before how I didn’t approach the film with the intent to prove anything definitive. I just wanted to create a film that provides viewers, and myself a humanising perspective that looks at a situation without trying to parade as a gospel truth.
I know there are many people online who have tried to sensationalise the content of this film but it doesn’t force a conclusion or doctrine– the title is a directive- don’t accept anything at face value. Analyse the facts, keep it neutral, keep it respectful, classy and chase the truth.
I hope this helps clarify your concern.
All the best,
As you can see, Jordan Hill never really answered any of my questions, instead insisting he only included verifiable remarks and nothing fantastical.
I sent him a second email specifically asking whether he could validate the authenticity of Mr Fiddes as somebody who personally knew Jackson and had knowledge of his activities with young boys?
My second email:
I'm not asking whether you choose to include verifiable remarks and nothing fascicle, but whether you can verify the authenticity of Mr Fiddes as somebody who knew Jackson with personal knowledge of his activities with young boys?
Before you started your documentary, were you aware that Jackson's mother had essentially told the world that Mr Fiddes was no friend of the family, and that Jackson couldn't remember who we was?
Did you ever at any point question Mr Fiddes timeline of alleged friendship/employment to Jackson, when all the evidence only points to him doing 2-3 security jobs in the early 2000's?
Your documentary is titled "Chase The Truth", yet I'm seeing quite the opposite, so far.
Mr Fiddes strongly implies in the documentary that James and Wade are liars, motivated by money. You must be aware that Mr Fiddes is no stranger to selling stories to tabloids, and attempted to profit from a no-win no fee legal case against a Channel 4 programme featuring the Jacksons, which unsurprisingly, he lost.
As the head director of the documentary, what evidence did you see yourself that Mr Fiddes was authentic? Did he show you payslips, flight records, unique photographs of him and Jackson, et cetera? Did you at any point see any evidence that Mr Fiddes had contact with Jackson when had a young boy by his side or in his bed?
Looking forward to your reply.
Despite superfast replies, regarding my other 2 emails, I still haven't received one concerning my last question. Sure, it's only been a short time, but I'm getting the feeling that he won't reply and give me an answer as to whether he did any background checks on Matt Fiddes, or whether he knew about his dubious behaviour.
Maybe Fiddes isn't the con artist that so many Jackson stans portray him as. Maybe he did have more contact with Jackson than we know. I certainly wouldn't rule anything out. But nobody can ignore the fact he was never there when James and Wade were at Neverland and his credibility issues are universally evident.
Fiddes warned Dan Reed to be "concerned about his career" after the release of the documentary. However, I don't think Dan Reed will be worried about a documentary when Matt Fiddes himself is the weakest link. I think it's Jordan Hill, who should be worried, especially if he can't verify any of the questions I put in front of him. As it stands, "Chase the Truth" had an open door policy to anybody who claimed to have known Jackson, and the director nor his production team did anything to check their authenticity.
It's ironic that Jackson truthers have found approximately 4.9 billion discrepancies in Dan Reed's Leaving Neverland, and accused it of violating journalistic standards by not interviewing a single individual who wasn't in the same room as Jackson, James or Wade. It's even more ironic that a documentary designed entirely to cast doubt and confusion over the allegations regurgitates the predictable theme that James and Wade are liars, motivated by money, yet as it stands, James nor Wade have made a penny from Jackson or Leaving Neverland, but the makers Chase the Truth could be looking at millions in the next 12 months.
It costs £3.49p to stream the documentary. If just 1 million gullible Jacko stans buy it in the next 12 months, that's nearly 3.5 million pounds. Sure, streaming services will get a cut, but Jordan Hill and Entertain Me will be laughing all the way to the bank from a documentary that not only interviews a very dubious individual, but interviews nobody who was ever there.