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Thread: Leaving Neverland

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    Leaving Neverland

    “Michael Is Everywhere”: Two Michael Jackson Accusers Explain Why They’re Speaking Out in HBO’s Leaving Neverland

    Wade Robson and James Safechuck once defended the pop icon against allegations of abuse, but both men are now the primary subjects of a blockbuster documentary.

    FEBRUARY 21, 2019 12:00 AM

    Wade Robson didn’t dance for five years. James Safechuck can’t listen to a Michael Jackson song without being gripped by anxiety. Both men, fathers of young children, expressed fear over their sons turning the ages of 7 and 10. These were the ages Robson, now 36, and Safechuck, now 40, were, respectively, when they allege Jackson began sexually molesting them.

    The two men are the subjects of Dan Reed’s upcoming documentary Leaving Neverland, which will debut on HBO on March 3 after having its world premiere at the Sundance Film Festival in January. The documentary provides detailed accounts of the allegations first brought forth by Robson and Safechuck in 2013 and 2014, in lawsuits against the Jackson estate that were eventually dismissed due to statutes of limitations. In addition to providing detailed accusations of both sexual activity and repeated efforts by Jackson to quiet the boys, Leaving Neverland showcases the effect the late pop star had on Robson and Safechuck’s families, with detailed interviews with the men’s mothers, wives, and siblings.

    In 1993, Jackson was accused of molesting 13-year-old Jordan Chandler. The case ended after Jackson reached a civil settlement with the Chandler family for $20 million. In 2003, an arrest warrant was issued and Jackson was charged with seven counts of child molestation and two counts of administering an intoxicating agent for the purpose of committing a felony. He was acquitted in 2005 of all charges. In a 2003 British documentary, Jackson admitted to sharing his bed with young boys but called it a loving act that had nothing to do with sex.

    Jackson denied all charges. He was aided in his defense by both Robson and Safechuck. Robson testified on Jackson’s behalf during both trials while Safechuck declined to provide testimony in the second trial, a move that Safechuck says angered Jackson and ended his relationship with the pop star. The about-face by the two victims is investigated thoroughly in the film and Robson elaborated on it further. “There was no repressed memory. I never forgot any of it,” he said. “A lot of what was going on when I was 11, was the direct fear that Michael put into me that if anybody was to find out about this, both of us would go to jail for the rest of our lives. I absolutely believed that. I was terrified of that. And I was terrified for Michael. I loved Michael and I was trying to save him. So many things were going on at the same time: fear, shame, confusion, and love. I knew I was telling a lie but I knew I had to. I felt like I had no choice.”

    Since the two-part, four-hour documentary was first announced it’s been the subject of controversy. The extended Jackson family and their die-hard supporters have waged attacks on the film, its subjects, and journalists covering the movie. Howard Weitzman, an attorney for Jackson’s estate, called the film disgraceful in a 10-page letter to HBO, adding “We know that this will go down as the most shameful episode in HBO’s history. We know that Michael’s devoted fans, and all good people in the world, will not swiftly forgive HBO for its conduct.”

    The filmmakers and subjects of the film expected such uproar. The embrace they received from their Sundance audience proved more surprising. “Getting public support is not something we are used to,” said Safechuck, during an interview in Park City, Utah, the day after the film’s premiere last month. “We are not used to people believing us. My mother believes me—I’m used to that—but I’m not used to other people believing me.”

    Robson and Safechuck first met Reed in 2016 when the director approached them with interest in telling their story. Reed, a British documentarian best known for his work covering the 2008 Mumbai terrorist attack, had no real interest in Jackson or show business. He wasn’t even very familiar with any of his songs. Rather, Reed was compelled by the opportunity to be inside the story, to take a closer look at the controversies that dogged Jackson since his first accuser, Chandler, came forward in 1993.

    “I would not have done this story if it hadn’t been for these guys,” said Reed, sitting at a conference table with Robson and Safechuck. “This is a chance to reveal something true and extraordinary about a story we think we all know. . . . It’s very rare that you get that incredible turning of the tables, the inside of a huge story, one that’s never been resolved yet is one that everyone knows about.”

    Reed spent two days interviewing Safechuck and three speaking with Robson. He also said he needed to take a step back and talk to the family members to understand how their mothers, specifically, could have let their young sons sleep in Jackson’s bed, spend weekends at his Neverland Ranch, and put so much trust into a man with such strange proclivities. Both men confirmed that they weren’t paid for their time or their stories. Rather, they say they were compelled to participate in order to get the truth out. And they did so before the #MeToo movement gave people with allegations of sexual abuse an opportunity for a fairer hearing. Below are edited excerpts from our interview.

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    That 1993 case never sat right with me: if one was falsely accused of sexually molesting a child, the base instinct is that one does whatever or as much as they are possibly able to in terms of disproving that charge. Settling for $20 million dollars if you didn't molest the child makes no sense: the only way it makes sense is if you are guilty, because once you settle you sure as shit look guilty anyway. Personally, I'd rather go broke fighting tooth and nail for my reputation if somebody accused me of that and I were innocent.

    The parents who allowed their kids to spend time alone with Jackson a la the "sleepovers" post-1993...those retards/sick fucks should have had their kids yanked away from them.

    In general terms, Jackson's career was never the same after the 1993 case. Nobody ever looked at him the same way again. Deservedly so.

    Goddamn batshit loon pedophile. "But...but...but...the Thriller album!!" So what?
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  3. Thanked Terry for this KICKASS post:

    DavidLeeNatra (02-22-2019)

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    Got an hour?

    Bonus round with people who were NOT interviewed for that sham of a documentary, members of the Jackson family:
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