- 11 Jan 19
Channel 4 and HBO have co-produced Leaving Neverland a two-part documentary directed by Dan Redd, which sees two men recount their experiences of alleged sexually abused by Michael Jackson.
The Channel 4 website reads: "When allegations of abuse by Jackson involving young boys surfaced in 1993, many found it hard to believe that he could be guilty of such unspeakable acts. LEAVING NEVERLAND explores the experiences of two young boys, James Safechuck, at age ten, and Wade Robson, at age seven, who were both befriended by Jackson. They and their families were entranced by the singer’s fairy-tale existence as his career reached its peak."
It continues: "Through gut-wrenching interviews with Safechuck and Robson, now in their 30s, as well as their mothers, wives and siblings, LEAVING NEVERLAND crafts a portrait of sustained abuse, and explores the complicated feelings that led both men to confront their experiences after each had a young son of their own. Playing out against the backdrop of our collective experience, the film documents the value of breaking silence, even when it implicates a powerful and revered figure."
The Michael Jackson estate have been vocal in their opposition to the documentary.
Representatives for the estate issued a statement, saying: "This is yet another lurid production in an outrageous and pathetic attempt to exploit and cash in on Michael Jackson."
Despite this, the two-part documentary is set to be aired on Channel 4 and HBO in the spring.
Michael Jackson died on June 25, 2009. The pop singer had previously been accused of sexual abuse several times throughout his career. Most notably during the People v. Jackson trial in 2005, when he was charged with molesting Gavin Arvizo, a 13-year-old boy whom the pop star had befriended. He was also indicted for four counts of molesting a minor, four counts of intoxicating a minor in order to molest him, one count of attempted child molestation, and one count of conspiring to hold the boy and his family captive at Neverland Ranch. The trial lasted 18 months and Jackson was ultimately acquited on all charges.