- “Leaving Neverland,” the documentary about sexual abuse allegations against Michael Jackson, will be out on HBO Sunday and Monday night.
- The four-hour, two-part documentary left audiences stunned at Sundance, where counselors were on site, and reviewers live-tweeted their surprise at what were allegedly shocking new and seemingly credible details about the allegations against Jackson.
- Jackson’s family said the film is part of a campaign to secure money from Michael Jackson’s estate.
The documentary film “Leaving Neverland,” which premiered at Sundance earlier this year, will air on HBO as a two-part series March 3 and 4.
The film, directed and produced by British filmmaker Dan Reed, alleges that Wade Robson and Jimmy Safechuck were sexually abused by the late pop star Michael Jackson over multiple years in the 1980s and 1990s. In a series of interviews Robson and Safechuck give graphic portrayals of their relationships with Jackson, which began at ages 7 and 10, respectively. The film also interviews their mothers, siblings, and wives.
Both Robson and Safechuck had previously denied being sexually abused by Jackson. Safechuck in a 1993 civil case and Robson in a 2005 criminal case. In 2013 they both went public claiming to have been molested by Jackson, filing separate lawsuits which were eventually dismissed.
“For Wade, I think it was a very cathartic experience to step outside the framework of therapy or legal discussions and just say what happened,” Reed told Business Insider over the phone from the UK. “And James was kind of rediscovering what was happening. As he said things he was listening to himself and going, ‘Oh my god, I did that!’ I think it was a new experience for them to talk to someone who wasn’t a lawyer or psychiatrist.”
The film premiered at Sundance Film Festival earlier this year where Robson and Safechuck were met with a standing ovation on stage after the showing. Although the reaction was positive inside the theatre, there were a small group of protesters outside.
Audiences were notably shocked by the content of the documentary – there were counselors on-site of the Sundance screening to talk to people who were disturbed or traumatized by the film.
The allegations made in the film are supposedly graphic and disturbing, with a Daily Beast critic writing half-way through the Sundance screening that the film was “more disturbing than you could imagine.” Others who have seen the film also noted the numerous graphic allegations.
Jackson’s estate has fought back against the film, telling the Los Angeles Times that “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.”
The documentary can be found on HBO or its streaming channels through Amazon, Hulu, and PlayStation Vue.
Jason Guerrasio contributed to this report.
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