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'Jacko paedophile claims haven't damaged business' – Pop impersonator speaks out

PUBLISHED: 19:00 10 April 2019

Suffolk's Edward Cook says his Simply Jackson tribute show has been struggling to keep up with demand following the release of Leaving Neverland. 
Photo: Simply Jackson.

Suffolk's Edward Cook says his Simply Jackson tribute show has been struggling to keep up with demand following the release of Leaving Neverland. Photo: Simply Jackson.

Archant

A Michael Jackson impersonator claims he is struggling to keep up with demand even after lurid child sex allegations against the singer.

Michael Jackson who was Michael Jackson who was "very manipulative and very deliberate in his grooming" of young boys, according to the director of a controversial documentary about the pop superstar.

Edward Cook, from Bury St Edmunds, is seemingly living proof the old saying ‘there’s no such thing as bad publicity’ still rings true.

The 30-year-old has been performing his Simply Jackson tribute show around the world for more than a decade.

But since the broadcast of Leaving Neverland on Channel 4 at the beginning of March he has seen a spike in popularity.

“Since the documentary came about everyone has been talking about Michael Jackson – it has more or less become an advert for the show”, Mr Cook said.

Edward Cook says his Simply Jackson tribute show has been struggling to keep up with demand following the release of Leaving Neverland. Photo: Simply Jackson.Edward Cook says his Simply Jackson tribute show has been struggling to keep up with demand following the release of Leaving Neverland. Photo: Simply Jackson.

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“It’s really had the opposite effect of what people think it would have – I’ve had more enquiries than ever before.

“It’s surprising the affect it has had on my business but it has been nothing but positive.

“I’m having to send other Michael Jackson tributes out to shows I can’t get to.”

Edward Cook says his Simply Jackson tribute show has been struggling to keep up with demand following the release of Leaving Neverland. Photo: Simply Jackson.Edward Cook says his Simply Jackson tribute show has been struggling to keep up with demand following the release of Leaving Neverland. Photo: Simply Jackson.

The two-part documentary focuses on Wade Robson and James Safechuck, who both allege the King of Pop sexually abused them at his Neverland Ranch when they were children.

Upon its release the film sparked a media backlash against the singer, who died in 2009, and Mr Cook did initially fear the worst.

“I’ve had a couple of scares before but when the documentary came out my main worry was how can I prove to people this is or isn’t true – the damage has already been done,” said Mr Cook.

“But at shows it doesn’t have a negative effect, people can separate me from him – I’m actually getting more support.

“On Saturday I did a show in Leeds and it was a complete sell-out; the public aren’t interested in the negative side.”

Mr Cook, who believes Jackson is innocent, would usually perform on Friday and Saturday nights - turning over roughly £50,000 a year.

Yet now he is travelling the country from Wednesday to Sunday just trying to keep up with bookings.

An outcome he never would have predicted.

Mr Cook added: “I’ve been doing it all my life – I’ve always known I wanted to do it.”

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