The Controversial Michael Jackson Documentary "Leaving Neverland" Premieres Disturbing Content
Friday (January 25th), the 2019 Sundance Film Festival debuted a controversial documentary about the late, great King Of Pop, Michael Jackson. The new documentary chronicling MJ’s sexual abuse allegations premiered and left festival attendees walking away saying “more disturbing than you could imagine.” Within the documentary, the filmmakers shed light on his long-running relationships with minors, James Safechuck and Wade Robson during the 90s. The two say the abuse only worsened as they got older.
According to Adam at Buzzfeed, the film details a mock wedding ceremony between a then nine-year old Safechuck and the pop legend. It also touched on how they were molested on numerous occasions at Jackson’s Neverland Ranch which also included alarms that would go off when people would approach his property to signal for the boys to put their clothes back on. Their testimony is supported with “love notes” and audio messages that Jackson sent to the boys.
The film “Leaving Neverland” is divided up into two parts. The first part consists of the individual stories of Safechuck and Robson, where the second part focuses on the musical icon’s legal case. After the four hour documentary concluded, the two men who accuse Michael of molesting them when they were boys, walked on stage and received a standing ovation for their docu. In a post-screening Q&A (via Deadline), Safechuck said “there was no money ever offered” for his or Robson’s participation in the film. This was really just trying to tell the story,” he said, adding that he “wanted to shine a light” on sexual abuse of children.
In a statement released prior to the film’s premiere, the Jackson Estate has denounced “Leaving Neverland” and called it “a tabloid character assassination” in an outrageous and pathetic attempt to exploit and cash in on Michael Jackson.
Unfortunately, unless you are attending the film festival we won’t have a clear-eyed view of how horrific this documentary is. If it’s as disturbing as Lifetime’s ‘Surviving R. Kelly,’ than we need to begin mentally preparing ourselves and wondering at what point can we separate the art from the artist or if we even can without it ruining our personal musical catalogs. HBO will air Leaving Neverland later this year.
Check out some of the reactions on Twitter below.