Leaving Neverland Is About to Launch a Controversial Debate
On the evening of March 03, HBO will drop a bombshell on their viewers, and potentially the rest of the world. Their new two-part documentary, Leaving Neverland makes a damning case that Michael Jackson was a sexual predator. And according to those who have seen the movie, the evidence is hard to ignore.
Directed by Dan Reed, the four-hour documentary made its debut last month at Sundance and received a standing ovation. Reed chronicles the accounts of Jimmy Safechuck and Wade Robson. As children, they both had long-lasting (and well-documented) relationships with the King of Pop. Jackson would take the boys and their families on trips, lavish them with gifts, and even spend hours talking to them on the phone. Safechuck and Robson each claim that once behind closed doors, Jackson engaged in sexual acts with them. And as IndieWire’s David Ehrlich writes, the descriptions are all too vivid.
Here is the trailer:
Allegations against Jackson are nothing new. Jackson and his estate have battled sexual abuse allegations since the early ‘90s. What’s different now is that we live in the #MeToo era. People are more willing to give high profile sexual abuse accusations the benefit of the doubt. What makes the Jackson allegations significant is that nearly a decade after his death, he remains one of the biggest stars in the world.
Further complicating matters, Jackson’s behaviour was so odd that should these allegations have merit, long-time fans must confront some harsh truths. The man hung out with kids, built a theme park in his backyard, and admitted that other people’s children slept in his bed – we let it slide because the guy gave us Thriller.
All sexual abuse victims deserve to be heard, even when their voices force people into uncomfortable conversations. Although it isn’t fair, the accusations against Jackson will be more difficult for people to deal with. Michael Jackson is a legend. Period. And he created the soundtrack to some of the happiest moments in our lives. Who wants to sully their fondest memories? I don’t want to go all Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind and erase him from my memory banks. I don’t want to believe that someone I grew up idolizing was a monster, either. But no one, not even our idols should be beyond reprieve. And so I’m open to the possibility that he committed these vile acts. Processing the film’s revelations is going to be tough and there are no easy solutions for the moral quandaries his guilt would present.
The Jackson estate refutes the claims, and many fans are calling Leaving Neverland a hit piece. And as Bill Cosby and R. Kelly’s public outings have shown us, too many people won’t believe their idol’s victims, no matter how much evidence comes out against them. The public will have a better idea of what’s true once the film drops on back-to-back nights next month. As much as it pains me, on March 03, I’ll be glued to the TV, with an open mind and a heavy heart.
Here is HBO’s synopsis.
Leaving Neverland is a two-part documentary exploring the separate but parallel experiences of two young boys, James Safechuck, at age ten, and Wade Robson, at age seven, both of whom were befriended by Michael Jackson. Through gut-wrenching interviews with Safechuck, now 40, and Robson, now 36, as well as their mothers, wives and siblings, the film crafts a portrait of sustained abuse, exploring the complicated feelings that led both men to confront their experiences after both had a young son of his own. Directed by Dan Reed.
Leaving Neverland airs on HBO on March 03 and 04th.
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