Michael Jackson's claims that his skin lightened only due to vitiligo has been cast into doubt by a new documentary.
Body language experts have examined archive footage of the King of Pop talking about plastic surgery and his skin, as shown in Michael Jackson: A Faking It Special on discovery+.
Cliff Lansley, who calls himself a living "truth detector", said he believes unconscious signals in Jackson's body language reveal what really happened.
In a 2003 interview with journalist Martin Bashir, Jackson says claims he lightened his skin were "ignorant".
Analysing the footage, Cliff pinpoints several micro-gestures – such as a single-sided shoulder shrug – that signpost Jackson’s lack of confidence in his answer, which he says is indicating dishonesty.
He says: "So, first we have a single-sided shoulder shrug. From his right shoulder, we see it raise slightly when he’s talking about his condition.
"This is a partial gesture. In its full extent, a full gesture would be shoulders up and hands outwards, 'I’ve no confidence in what I’m just saying.'"
Furthermore, the tiny smile of pleasure Jackson displays is further evidence of deception, Cliff claims.
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He says: "We’ve also got a smile appearing from his lips. It’s not a full smile, it’s this flash of pleasure, something that we call duping delight.
"Duping is fooling, and delight is pleasure, so is this the pleasure you get from fooling someone?"
Jackson then finishes the gestures with a micro-head shake, contradicting the positive statement he is making.
"We have this very, very tiny head shake 'no.' It’s millimetres, just watch the tip of his nose," Cliff says.
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He continues: "For two, three frames here, we’ve got a micro-head shake 'no,' so he’s making an affirmative claim yet his body, and his smile, and his head, seem to be suggesting that isn’t true."
For author Diane Dimond, while there is some truth to Jackson’s claim, she believes that he did lighten his skin over time.
She says: "We know from his autopsy that Michael Jackson has vitiligo, this skin condition that causes blotches.
"It’s obvious that Michael Jackson spent a lot of time bleaching his skin."
Michael Jackson: A Faking It Special (available to stream now exclusively on discovery+)
- Michael Jackson
- Plastic Surgery
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