As Jackson's career began, very
gradually, to descend from the dizzying heights of his peak years,
most of the media's attention focused on his increasingly bizarre
eccentricities; he was often depicted as a child who never grew
up being completely sheltered from adult reality by a life spent
in show business. The snickering turned to scandal in 1993, when
Jackson was accused of molesting a 13-year-old boy; although he
categorically denied the charges, his 1994 out-of-court settlement
failed to restore his tarnished image. Many felt the settlement
was tantamount to an admission of guilt, and when Jackson married
Lisa Marie Presley in 1994, the move was perceived as a desperate
ploy to rehabilitate his image; the marriage broke up just 19 months
later, seemingly lending credence to the charge.
Michael began working on 'HIStory' soon after the settlement.
HIStory, released on June 20 1995, contained one disc of Jackson's
greatest hits and one disc of new material.
Jackson bought a large ranch in California which he dubbed Neverland,
and filled it with amusement park rides and animals. This
only fuelled the public's perception of him as a somewhat bizarre
eccentric obsessed with recapturing his childhood. He underwent
cosmetic surgery several times, which led to accusations from the
black community that his gradually lightening skin tone was the
result of an intentional effort to become whiter; a few years later,
Jackson revealed that he had a disorder called vitiligo, in which
pigment disappears from the skin, leaving large white blotches
and making direct sunlight dangerous.