A new four-hour documentary, Leaving Neverland, in which two accusers share stories of how they were sexually abused as children by the late pop singer Michael Jackson, sent shock waves through the Sundance Film Festival at its premiere last Friday (January 25, 2019).
The claims made by Wade Robson and James Safechuck are a matter of public record, as both men were involved in multiple lawsuits brought against Jackson’s companies beginning in 2013.
The cases were later dismissed for being outside the statute of limitations.
Directed by BAFTA winner Dan Reed, the documentary, set to be shown in two two-hour parts on HBO, details the extent of the abuse with explicit and graphic accounts. It also describes how both of them were groomed, then abused, in their childhood.
Among the many, many disturbing revelations of #LeavingNeverland: MJ gave one of his young male victims jewelry in exchange for sexual acts, and even staged a mock wedding complete with vows and diamond ring. #Sundance2019
— Patrick Ryan (@PatRyanWrites) January 25, 2019
Robson and Safechuck say they were aged seven and 10 when the singer befriended them and their families.
Since then Wade Robson has become a father and in an interview, he said after two nervous breakdowns he finally revealed to his therapist the dark secret he’d been hiding.
“It was just pain and disgust and anger, the idea something like that could happen to my son.”
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
Reporter Adam B Vary watched it and posted afterwards: “A deeply emotional Wade Robson and James Safechuck receive a standing ovation after the screening of Leaving Neverland. There will be a lot to say later, but I can say this: This is a thorough, devastating, deeply credible piece of filmmaking.”
Leaving Neverland has left people appalled and wondering how Michael Jackson got acquitted. And we’ve only seen part one so far #Sundance2019
— Francesca Bacardi (@OriginalFresca) January 25, 2019
The Jackson estate has referred to Robson, now 36, and Safechuck, 40, as “admitted liars” and “perjurers” and says the film does a disservice to “legitimate” victims of child abuse.