WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW:
- ‘Leaving Neverland’ is a four-hour documentary that tackles the allegations surrounding Michael Jackson’s sexual predation.
- The documentary features accounts from Wade Robson and Jimmy Safechuck, who were known to be Jackson’s companions when they were young boys.
- It also includes the perspectives of their family members regarding certain incidents.
Allegations of Michael Jackson’s sexual predation have long dogged the King of Pop during his career, and even after his death. Though the late pop star’s most loyal defenders have long spoken against such allegations, the documentary ‘Leaving Neverland’ features two accounts of that alleged sexual predation that have some chilling parallels.
These detailed accounts were told by Wade Robson, James “Jimmy” Safechuck, and their families and are enough to make almost anyone dismissive of the charges have second thoughts. Safechuck, 41, and Robson, 36, met Jackson professionally when they were kids.
Safechuck, when he was eight, appeared with Jackson in a 1986 Pepsi commercial. Robson, when he was five, met the pop star after winning a dance-alike contest when Jackson was in Brisbane, Australia to perform.
Both lay out the allegations of Jackson’s gradually escalating sexual contact, as well as how he pressured them not to tell anyone what was happening. Dan Reed, director of the documentary, alternates between the pair’s stories, as well accounts of different family members regarding certain incidents.
The core of the documentary is the rift that formed between the two and their parents, as well as the guilt that came with allowing their sons to spend so much time with a grown man unsupervised. It tells how Robson and Safechuck’s families were drawn in by Jackson, and of abuse, that is described to have continued for years until Jackson’s attention shifted to new youths who entered his life.
Jackson’s fame and wealth always complicated the story and was used to silence accusers. In Jackson’s 2005 trial, Robson testified in support of the pop star and Safechuck also denied he was molested by Jackson.
What makes things confusing can be Jackson’s own statements which included the 2003 Martin Bashir TB interview. The singer, who was then 44, insisted that sharing his bed with minors was an innocent and “a beautiful thing”, saying there was nothing wrong with it.
‘Leaving Neverland’ provides a way of methodically tackling the King of Pop’s reputation and the allegations that have long clouded and even tarnished his musical legacy.