Allegations of child abuse have been made against Michael Jackson since the early 1990s but the Gavin Arvizo case was the first time these charges had been made in court. The release of a documentary accusing the late King of Pop of sexual allegation against children has left many people bewildered.
The documentary was released at the 2019 Sundance film festival in Park City, Utah, United State. Leaving Neverland, which chronicles accusation of child molestation against the late King of Pop, was released on Friday, 25th January, 2019 at Egyptian theatre in Park City. The documentary featured two accusers James Safechuck and Wade Robson.
Leaving Neverland joins the list of documentary accusing music artistes of sexual allegations. Surviving R. Kelly, which was released early 2019 highlighted both old and new sexual allegations against R. Kelly. The documentary left many lovers of R. Kelly shocked just like Leaving Neverland bewilders many lovers of the King of Pop.
Several reporters have taken to Twitter to share their thoughts and reactions, with The Daily Beast’s Kevin Fallon stating: “The content of this is more disturbing than you could imagine”, and Variety’s Matt Donnelly adding: “#Sundance has provided health care professionals in the theater for audience members potentially upset by #LeavingNeverland’s explicit descriptions of sexual abuse against underage boys. They are in the wings ready with counsel.”
Despite the intense reactions, Robson and Safechuck received a standing ovation when Dan Reed’s film ended and the director invited both men to join him onstage. Outside the Egyptian Theater two protesters, who were there to proclaim Jackson’s innocence, clashed with police officials.
Ahead of the film’s world premiere, Jackson’s estate administrators condemned the movie, telling Entertainment Tonight, “This is yet another lurid production in an outrageous and pathetic attempt to exploit and cash in on Michael Jackson. Wade Robson and James Safechuck have both testified under oath that Michael never did anything inappropriate toward them. Safechuck and Robson filed lawsuits against Michael’s Estate, asking for millions of dollars. Both lawsuits were dismissed. “This so-called ‘documentary’ is just another rehash of dated and discredited allegations. It’s baffling why any credible filmmaker would involve himself with this project.” Jackson was accused and acquitted of molestation charges in 2005.
The documentary will debut on HBO and Channel 4 in March (19).
BY TIJANI ADIAT