Michael Jackson's link to Pepsi was infamous as the singer's hair caught fire while shooting a commercial in 1984. However, a 1987 Pepsi ad is now being linked to more controversy as a child who worked on the commercial has filed a sexual assault complaint against the late singer last week in court. He joined an existing lawsuit against the Michael Jackson estate that already included four others.
The Daily Beast reports two sources have said the complaint is sealed but revealed the man to be James Safechuck. Safechuck appeared in the 1987 Pepsi commercial and claims Jackson molested him for several years starting when Safechuck was 10 years old
Safechuck denied he was molested by Jackson in documents filed prior to Jackson's 2005 criminal trial when he was mentioned as a possible abuse victim by those working at the singer's Neverland Ranch. Employees said Safechuck was a frequent guest at Neverland with a maid stating she saw Safechuck and Jackson together in bed and nude from the waist up.
Those claims, however, couldn't be heard by the jury in 2005 as Safechuck never made a claim of sexual abuse. In May 2013, Safechuck added his name to a suit brought by Wade Robson, an Australian who defended Jackson back in 2005 but has since changed his position, alleging Jackson forced him to perform sex acts.
A source told the publication Safechuck's claim of sexual abuse is similar to Robson's, adding Safechuck claims he was molested from the age of 10 to about 14 or 15. "Once you start having children and you see what it's all about...your perspective on life changes," the source said regarding Safechuck's decision to file the suit. Lawyers representing Safechuck as well as Jackson's attorney Howard Weitzman made no comment on the allegations.
After appearing as a small blonde youngster in the 1987 Pepsi ad promoting Jackson's Bad Tour, Safechuck was often seen around the pop star. In 1988, they attended a Pepsi conference and were seen together in New York to see "The Phantom of the Opera." Safechuck also attended a string of Jackson's European shows in the summer of 1988 before the tour's finale in Los Angeles.
In June, 2005 a jury found Jackson not guilty on all 14 charges against him, including seven child molestation charges. Jackson died in June, 2009 at the age of 50.
(L-R) Jackie Jackson, Marlon Jackson, Randy Jackson, Tito Jackson and Michael Jackson of the Jacksons (aka Jackson Five) pose for a studio group portrait in 1977 in Amsterdam, Netherlands.
CIRCA 1971: Pop singer Michael Jackson of the R&B quintet 'Jackson 5' poses for a portrait. It was clear from an early age that Michael had the most star-quality of the sibling band.
CHICAGO - 1968: R&B quintet The Jackson 5 pose for a portrait with their instruments circa 1965 in Chicago, Illinois. (Photo by Michael Ochs Archives/Getty Images)
53rd Annual Academy Awards Caption: Michael Jackson and Brooke Shields (Photo by Ron Galella/WireImage)
LOS ANGELES - DECEMBER 2: Pop singer Michael Jackson in a still from the video for his hit single 'Thriller' which was released on December 2, 1983 in Los Angeles, California.
Michael Jackson and Quincy Jones at the Grammys in Los Angeles, California on February 28, 1984 in Los Angeles, California - awarded for their work on the record-breaking Thriller album
Viwe of the autographed first page of the sheet music for the song 'We Are the World,' written by Michael Jackson and Lionel Richie, 1985. The song was designed to raise awareness and funds for a worldwide hunger relief program, and brought together performing artists from Harry Belafonte to Bob Dylan.
FILE - In a Tuesday, Feb. 25, 1986 file photo, Michael Jackson and Lionel Richie receive a Grammy for best song of the year for their song "We Are the World" at the 28th annual Grammy Awards in Los Angeles.
Singer Michael Jackson enjoys a cup of tea with his pet Bubbles at Osaka City Mayoral Hall on September 18, 1987 in Osaka, Japan.
Michael Jackson and Madonna attend the 63rd Annual Academy Awards - After Party at Spago's Hosted by Swifty Lazar (Photo by Ron Galella/WireImage)
Michael Jackson performs on stage at Wembley Stadium, during the 1998 Bad tour
Michael Jackson goes on television on December 22, 1993 in Los Olivos, California to deny charges of child molestation. Mr. Jackson was responding to allegations made by 13-year-old California boy who sued him for among other things, sexual battery, willful misconduct, and emotional distress. The taping occurred at Michael's home on Neverland Ranch.
October 7, 1994 Memphis, Tenn. Michael Jackson & his then wife Lisa Marie Presley Backstage At 'Elvis The Tribute' At The Pyrmid Theatre. (Photo By Tammie Arroyo/Getty Images)
Michael Jackson in the Scream music video 1995, which he shared with his sister Janet
Michael Jackson, Brit Music Awards 1996, Earl's Court, London (Photo by Dave Benett/Getty Images), a messianic exhibition prompting a spontaneous mooning from Pulp's Jarvis Cocker
Michael Jackson moonwalks while performing on stage on his HIStory tour in December 1996. (Photo by Phil Dent/Redferns)
Singer Michael Jackson and his wife Debbie Rowe greet fans from the balcony of the hotel Royal Monceau in Paris 1997.
Actress Elizabeth Taylor (L) holds hands with pop music superstar Michael Jackson as the two arrive for 'Happy Birthday Elizabeth - A Celebration of Life' 16 February in Hollywood, California. The star-studded event was taped for a television show to be broadcast 24 February 1997. (Photo credit VINCE BUCCI/AFP/Getty Images)
An aerial shot of singer Michael Jackson''s Neverland Valley Ranch June 25, 2001 in Santa Ynez, CA, which was transformed from a childlike idyll into a police crime scene.
NEW YORK, UNITED STATES: US singer Michael Jackson performs during the Democratic National Committee (DNC) benefit concert, 'A Night at the Apollo', at the world-famous Apollo Theater 24 April 2002 in New York.
SANTA BARBARA, UNITED STATES: This 20 November 2003 police mug shoot shows US pop star Michael Jackson at the Santa Barbara Sheriff's booking office in Santa Barbara, California, where he was booked on suspicion of child molestation and released on three million USD bail.
Singer Michael Jackson and his father Joseph Jackson depart the courthouse after listening to closing arguements in his child molestation trial at the Santa Barbara County Courthouse June 2, 2005 in Santa Maria, California. Jackson was charged in a 10-count indictment with molesting a boy, plying him with liquor and conspiring to commit child abduction, false imprisonment and extortion. (Photo by Carlo Allegri/Getty Images)
Michael Jackson during World Music Awards 2006 - Show at Earls Court in London, Great Britain. (Photo by Graham Jepson/WireImage)
Thursday, March 5, 2009 -Michael Jackson as he announced that he was set to play ten live concerts at the London O2 Arena the following July. Jackson died suddenly on 25 June.
Michael Jackson's children Prince, Blanket and Paris at the Michael Forever Tribute Concert at the Millennium Stadium, Cardiff on Saturday October 8, 2011.