Michael Jackson Sexual Abuse Doc Premiere Leaves Audiences ‘Traumatised’

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A new documentary was screened at this year’s Sundance Film Festival, which told the story of two men who allege they were sexually abused by Michael Jackson when they were young boys.

The two-part, four-hour documentary, titled Leaving Neverland, features interviews with the two men, now in their thirties, who claim they were victimised by the late singer through ‘sustained exploitation and deception’.

During the film, the two men – Wade Robson and James Safechuck, who were aged seven and 10, respectively, at the time they met Jackson – speak openly about how they met the singer, as well as how their individual relationships with him developed further and further, leading to ‘sleepovers’ and even a ‘mock wedding ceremony’.

Robson met Jackson after he won an MJ-themed dance competition, where first prize was the opportunity to meet the singer at one of his concerts. While Safechuck first met Jackson when he appeared in a Pepsi commercial.

The men both said that, as boys, they were enamoured with Jackson, and felt special when the popstar started paying attention to them.

Both men recall how Jackson would allegedly introduce physical contact during ‘sleepovers’, and would ‘escalate’ things from there. They also both claim Jackson would groom them, initiate mutual masturbation, and lecture them on how they shouldn’t trust their parents, or women.

The audience, made up mostly of journalists and panel members, wrote about the various reactions to the film.

One person wrote:

“Leaving Neverland” is a horror film — an intimate, obviously believable, sometimes sexually explicit story of two boys who became MIchael Jackson’s special “friends” — i.e., lovers — while their oblivious parents went along. Jackson was a fiend — a smooth predator, a monster.

Another said:

Incredibly emotional reaction from the audience after #LeavingNeverland. One audience member says he was molested as a child and that Robson and Safechuck “are going to do a lot more f–king good in the world than Michael f–king Jackson.” #Sundance

Someone else tweeted:

On a 10-min break halfway through Sundance’s 4-hour Michael Jackson child sex abuse documentary. Whatever you thought you knew or were aware of, the content of this is more disturbing than you could imagine. And again, we’re only halfway through.

Another simply said:

Michael Jackson doc Leaving Neverland just ended. Absolutely devastating.

According to The Sun, Robson reportedly filed a lawsuit against Jackson’s estate in 2016, claiming $1.62 billion in damages for the abuse that allegedly took place.

Jackson’s estate have denounced the film, calling it ‘pathetic’.

The late singer’s nephew, Taj Jackson, took to Twitter to defend his uncle.

He wrote:

After years of coaching and studying for these roles, I’m sure Wade (self proclaimed “Master of Deception”) and Jimmy both gave Oscar winning performances today. Media, please do a 10 minute google search before you condemn an innocent man who is no longer here to defend himself.

He added:

Honestly this is so deja vu of the 2005 trial. Accusations made about Michael Jackson. The media quickly jumps in talking about how credible they are and how powerful their testimony was. They believe them.
Then facts come out and they are exposed as liars. Media.. crickets

Taj also tweeted that he wants to take legal action against the ‘slanderous movie’ and anyone labelling MJ a ‘pedophile’.

Jackson’s estate have since responded to the documentary, calling it a ‘character assassination’.

Michael JacksonGetty

They say, as per Variety:

“Leaving Neverland” isn’t a documentary, it is the kind of tabloid character assassination Michael Jackson endured in life, and now in death. The film takes uncorroborated allegations that supposedly happened 20 years ago and treats them as fact.

These claims were the basis of lawsuits filed by these two admitted liars which were ultimately dismissed by a judge. The two accusers testified under oath that these events never occurred.

They have provided no independent evidence and absolutely no proof in support of their accusations, which means the entire film hinges solely on the word of two perjurers.

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Charlie Cocksedge

Charlie Cocksedge is a journalist at UNILAD. He graduated from the University of Manchester with an MA in Creative Writing, where he learnt how to write in the third person, before getting his NCTJ. His work has also appeared in such places as The Guardian, PN Review and the bin.