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‘Guilty By Association’: Janet Jackson Says Her Career Took a Hit When She Stood By Michael Jackson During His Sexual Abuse Trial

Janet Jackson is giving audiences an unprecedented look into her life and career in the two-part documentary “Janet.”

The documentary, which premieres on Lifetime and A&E on Jan. 28, was five years in the making and leaves no stone unturned, from discussing the strict parenting of father Joe Jackson, rumors of Janet having a secret child in the ’80s, and her close-knit relationship with her brother Michael Jackson during one of his darkest hours.

Singers Janet Jackson and Michael Jackson at the The 35th Annual GRAMMY Awards held at the Shrine Auditorium on February 24, 1993 in Los Angeles, California.

“There’s a great deal of scrutiny that comes with having that last name,” says Janet in the extended 219-second trailer. Some of that scrutiny is directly tied to Janet’s past defense of her brother Michael in 2005 when he was accused of molesting a minor and tried in a court of law. Although the King of Pop was found not guilty of ten charges alleging he groomed and provided liquor for his alleged 13-year-old male victim, neither she or Michael came out of the ordeal unscathed. 

“Did the allegations affect you career wise?” asked an off-camera producer of “Janet.” “Yeah, guilty by association. Guess that’s what they call it, right?” she responded. “They build you up and once you get there they’re so quick to tear you down.”

Janet famously was captured alongside other members of her family entering and leaving a Santa Monica courtroom in support of Michael throughout the 14-day trial. While the “Control” singer is the baby of the family, she has often shared that when it came to her brother she Michael felt like his protector. In her own ways she showed up as not only his supporter, but someone willing to weather the media storm surrounding him — even without uttering very many words to the press. 

“I played the role that I’ve always played in his life: his little sister that was there by his side, that had his back no matter what,” said Janet. Look back at their 1995 collaboration for “Scream,” the music icon said the record was about the mounting scrutiny her brother was enduring. Just two years prior the “Smooth Criminal” pop star was first investigated by the Los Angeles Police Department in relation to claims made by his alleged 13-year-old victim.

“There was so much going on at that time. That’s when the — I hate to say this, but — the first allegations [of child molestation] came out and the whole bit,” she recalled during a 2009 interview discussing the origins of “Scream.” “He was very upset and very angry and he had so much pent up in him that he wanted to get out and say. And when you listen to the lyrics, that’s what it’s about.”

The pop star enlisted friends such as Missy Elliot, Mariah Carey, Regina King, Tyler Perry and more to contribute commentary to the four-hour event promising to cover her highest of highs and lowest of lows, including that Super Bowl “Nipplegate” controversy

“For her to want to open up, I’m flabbergasted,” says rapper-producer Q-Tip of his notoriously private friend. Fans share the same sentiment with more than three weeks ahead of the first half of the documentary airing. “This looks so raw and epic” and “Janet telling it all [eyes emoji],” wrote fans in anticipation.

As for why Janet chose to lift the veil that has guarded her career and private life for more than three decades? 

“It’s just something that needs to be done.”

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