Critics have been left feeling “sick” after hearing by the “disturbing” allegations of sexual abuse made against Michael Jackson in the new documentary, Leaving Neverland.
The new four-hour documentary from director Dan Reed – which premiered at the Sundance Film Festival – features allegations from Wade Robson and James Safechuck that Michael sexually abused them as children.
Wade alleges he was sexually abused by the late King of Pop from the age of seven until 14, while James- who previously testified on Jackson’s behalf when he was accused of sexual abuse in 1993 – claims he was a victim from the age of 10 until he hit puberty.
Both men insisted they have not profited money from the film but just want to protect others from going through similar experiences.
According to the Los Angeles Times, Wade told the audience: “We can’t change what happened to us. We can’t do anything about stopping Michael. He’s dead. That’s gone. What happened happened. The feeling is, ‘What can we do now?’ Hopefully it helps other survivors feel less isolated…. One of my greatest hopes is raising awareness for parents, teachers, business leaders to help prevent this from happening.”
While Michael’s fans have hit out at the allegations in the documentary and at Wade, who also testified for Michael in 1993 and again in 2005.
Hours after the documentary premiered, Michael’s estate lashed out at men’s claims, calling them “perjurers” and “admitted liars”.
Painful. Brutally upsetting. Triggering. My heart is incredibly broken. I’m sorry y’all. This hurts. Bad. #LeavingNeverland
— Gerrick D. Kennedy (@GerrickKennedy) January 25, 2019
Many common parallels in victims’ stories: MJ grooming them to hate their parents and women in general, saying God brought them together, eventually “casting them out” for younger boys. “There was a lot of jealousy and hurt. You were no longer special.”
— Patrick Ryan (@PatRyanWrites) January 25, 2019
The statement said: “‘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.
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.
— Kevin Fallon (@kpfallon) January 25, 2019
it’s halftime at the four-hour Michael Jackson doc and I’m already gonna need 400 showers to ever feel clean again. #Sundance
— david ehrlich (@davidehrlich) January 25, 2019
Feel sick to my stomach after watching Part 1 of #LeavingNeverland doc. Michael Jackson witnesses/sex abuse victims coming off very credible. It’s so sexually explicit that counselors are in the lobby. #SundanceFilmFestival2019
— Mara Reinstein (@MaraReinstein) January 25, 2019
“We are extremely sympathetic to any legitimate victim of child abuse. This film, however, does those victims a disservice. Because despite all the disingenuous denials made that this is not about money, it has always been about money – millions of dollars – dating back to 2013 when both Wade Robson and James Safechuck, who share the same law firm, launched their unsuccessful claims against Michael’s Estate.
“Now that Michael is no longer here to defend himself, Robson, Safechuck and their lawyers continue their efforts to achieve notoriety and a payday by smearing him with the same allegations a jury found him innocent of when he was alive.”
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.
— Taj Jackson (@tajjackson3) January 25, 2019
If you or someone you know is suffering from sexual or domestic abuse, don’t suffer in silence, call 1800 RESPECT any time of day or night.
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