‘I’m rushed off my feet’: British Michael Jackson impersonator insists Leaving Neverland documentary hasn’t hit business as he sees bookings increase
- Jay Styles, a British Michael Jackson impersonator, says business is booming
- He is rushed off his feet despite investigative Leaving Neverland documentary
- Mitchel Thompson, 38, recently spent £3,500 on 13 new outfits for a tour
- He says people support Jackson and he can tell by the number of bookings
- The documentary aimed to expose Jackson as a paedophile who groomed boys
- Performing for 11 years Mr Styles says the film caused ‘a surge in interest’
Michael Jackson impersonators are ‘busier than ever’ since an investigative documentary aimed to expose the ‘King of Pop’ as a paedophile was released.
Jay Styles, from Cambridge, has performed as Jackson for 11 years and says the impact of the documentary Leaving Neverland was ‘incredible’, caused ‘a surge in interest’ and he is now ‘rushed off his feet’.
Mitchell Thompson, 38, has just spent £3,500 on 13 new outfits for a theatre tour in June.
Jay Styles, from Cambridge, has performed as Jackson for 11 years and says the impact of the documentary Leaving Neverland was ‘incredible’ and he is now ‘rushed off his feet’
And Robin Parsons, 37, said despite feeling apprehensive during his shows at the weekend the atmosphere was ‘electric’.
Mr Mitchell says he has had ‘quite a few’ bookings since the documentary aired.
And for Mr Styles bookings flooded in after the four-hour feature film was first shown at Sundance Film Festival in January.
Just four shows booked for July and December were cancelled over the weekend for Mr Parsons who described a ‘knee-jerk’ reaction.
In the film Wade Robson (pictured) and James Safechuck reveal the years of sexual abuse they suffered at the hands of Jackson on his California ranch known as Neverland
But the shows he performed at the weekend had a sense of ‘defiance’ and were ‘wonderful’.
The two-part documentary was released on Channel 4 at 9pm on Wednesday, March 6.
Another impersonator, Saul Tayler, performs eight characters including George Michael and Freddie Mercury, ending with Michael Jackson.
But when he made a Facebook poll asking whether to cut Jackson from his performance just 15% responded he should.
Mr Tayler said: ‘I did a poll for my multi-tribute show. I do eight characters. Michael is the crescendo and finishes the show.
‘It’s a brill way to end the show. I was wondering if I should still do it. There seems to be fans who are behind his music even more now.
‘When the compere announces my show Freddie got a big cheer but Michael got the biggest cheer of the lot.
‘On Facebook I did a poll and 200 people voted. Out of 200 only 15 per cent said no and 85 per cent said yes.
‘Whether they thought he was innocent it didn’t matter to the show.’
In Leaving Neverland Wade Robson, 41, and James Safechuck, 37, reveal the years of sexual abuse they suffered at the hands of Jackson on his California ranch known as Neverland.
While Jackson claimed to love both boys the men revealed they were dropped and replaced by a younger child when they grew too old.
Jay Styles promotes his performance with the fact the Jackson family have seen his act
But instead of claims Jackson was a paedophile who groomed boys from the age of seven putting a stop to bookings Mr Styles says his phone has not stopped ringing.
And Mr Mitchell said he can see people are supporting him through the number of bookings he still gets.
Mr Styles has even given work to other impersonators as the documentary led to ‘a surge in interest’ and more people want Michael Jackson at their parties and corporate gigs than ever.
He said: ‘It has meant I’m now busier than I have ever been. It’s incredible – I’m rushed off my feet.
‘I’m having to turn down a lot of work and give it to other impersonators because there’s not enough time in the week.
‘I don’t think the British public believe it.
Michael Jackson with James Safechuck. Instead of claims Jackson was a paedophile who groomed young boys from the age of seven ruining business Jay says his phone has not stopped ringing
‘My phone doesn’t stop ringing. I’m doing parties, private performances and corporate gigs and it’s every day.
‘I think the publicity has led to a real surge in interest.’
Jay has travelled to other countries including Spain, Greece, Cyprus, Poland and Dubai to perform.
He added: ‘I sing all his songs and do the dance moves as well. I think people’s interest has grown and the loyalties have become even stronger.
James Safechuck (left) and Wade Robson claimed they were sexually abused at Jackson’s California Neverland ranch as children during the documentary Leaving Neverland
‘It’s great that more people are coming to see my shows. He will always be an icon.
‘I’ll always stand by him.’
Mitchell Thompson, 38, has been a Jacko impersonator since the age of 14, and says he stands by him 100 per cent.
Mitchell, of Birmingham, said: ‘I’ve had quite a few bookings since the news of the documentary was made public – and they’ve come in since it aired as well.
Mitchell Thompson, 38, has been a Michael Jackson impersonator since he was 14 and has just spent £3,500 on 13 new costumes
‘I start a large theatre tour in June and tickets are being sold for that.
‘I had 13 new Michael Jackson costumes made the other day at a cost of £3,500 so I’m very pleased people are sticking by him. I’m actually busier than I was before.
‘I’m confident that will stay the same. I think these disgusting allegations will actually make loyal fans more loyal.
‘People are supporting him. I can see that through my bookings.
‘I’m an entertainer and people still want to be entertained by what Michael Jackson was about. His legacy will always continue.’
Robin Parsons, 36, from Essex, said despite a ‘knee-jerk’ reaction to the documentary resulting in the cancellation of four shows his audiences after it aired have been ‘amazing’.
He said: ‘To be honest it has not affected me much. There was a knee-jerk reaction to start with.
‘I have 130 shows booked and I have had four cancellations as a direct result of the documentary but one of those was going to be cancelled because it was an end of year school prom.
‘The audiences this weekend were amazing. There was a defiance and it was like there was something to prove. It was wonderful. I think that all impersonators would say they were mildly apprehensive.
‘My first show after it aired was a holiday park. It was public and open for people to walk in and not necessarily full of fans.
‘But there was an amazing spirit and support. It was electric. It was one of the best audiences I have had in recent years.
‘Many people have asked how it has been but I perform at many family based venues and it has all been positive.
‘It was just a quick reaction from some people on the Monday before it aired and Wednesday. But the earliest cancelled shows were July and December. If someone cancelled a show for this weekend I would be more worried.’
When the documentary first aired in January the Jackson family described the claims as a ‘public lynching’.
But radio stations in Canada, New Zealand, Australia and the Netherlands all removed Jackson’s songs from air.