A RETIRED guard has criticised a council-run concert venue for hosting a Michael Jackson tribute act claiming it sends the wrong message to victims of abuse.

Navi Charles will bring his King of Pop tribute act to the Princes Theatre in Clacton on August 23.

Ron Nepean said he is considering holding a protest outside the venue.

He said: “Before this started I used to collect Michael Jackson’s records and we used to go and see tribute acts.

“I’ve chucked my records away now. The situation for me is this isn’t right.

“We have had all the information put to us in the documentary, Leaving Neverland, a couple of months ago. I don’t think we should be glorifying this man.

“We shouldn’t celebrate his life after all this. A tribute show celebrates a person’s life and music - it’s outrageous.”

Mr Nepean, 67, of Musgrave Close, Dovercourt, has complained to the theatre, saying it is inappropriate to host the show after the pop star was accused of child sex abuse with the television documentary giving testimonies from men who claimed to be victims.

Clacton and Frinton Gazette:

  • Ron Nepean

He said: “I can’t understand why people would want to go and see it after what’s been said.

“It sends the wrong message, especially to victims of abuse.”

Navi is billed as the world’s number one Michael Jackson tribute artist.

He was hired as a body double and decoy as well as performing at one of the star’s lavish birthday parties.

Navi said his bookings have not decreased since the Leaving Neverland documentary aired on Channel 4 in January. He did not watch the documentary.

He said: “We cannot live in a world where allegations can be made without evidence. The allegations themselves are hurtful.

“It isn’t just happening to entertainers, the general public too is being wrongly accused, arrested and charged without evidence and only to be freed.

“However, the damage to their personal lives is huge. This system needs to change.”

Navi said he respects people’s opinions but said when he met Michael Jackson he thought he was an extremely nice person.

Mike Carran, head of sport and leisure at Tendring Council, which runs the Princes Theatre, said there were no concerns with booking the tribute act.

He said: “Michael Jackson was found not guilty on all charges and has never been convicted of any crime. It is not for us to get involved in the court of public opinion – we deal with the principle innocent until proven guilty.

“Navi is a popular act and people have the right make their own choice as to whether or not they wish to buy tickets.

“We are just one of many venues around the country to hire Navi and many radio stations still play Michael Jackson’s music.”