Hip-HopVibe.com Contributing Writer
Friday (January 25th), the 2019 Sundance Film Festival debuted a controversial documentary about the late, great King Of Pop, Michael Jackson. The new documentary chronicling MJ’s sexual abuse allegations premiered and left festival attendees walking away saying “more disturbing than you could imagine.” Within the documentary, the filmmakers shed light on his long-running relationships with minors, James Safechuck and Wade Robson during the 90s. The two say the abuse only worsened as they got older.
According to Adam at Buzzfeed, the film details a mock wedding ceremony between a then nine-year old Safechuck and the pop legend. It also touched on how they were molested on numerous occasions at Jackson’s Neverland Ranch which also included alarms that would go off when people would approach his property to signal for the boys to put their clothes back on. Their testimony is supported with “love notes” and audio messages that Jackson sent to the boys.
The film “Leaving Neverland” is divided up into two parts. The first part consists of the individual stories of Safechuck and Robson, where the second part focuses on the musical icon’s legal case.
After the four hour documentary concluded, the two men who accuse Michael of molesting them when they were boys, walked on stage and received a standing ovation for their docu. In a post-screening Q&A (via Deadline), Safechuck said “there was no money ever offered” for his or Robson’s participation in the film. This was really just trying to tell the story,” he said, adding that he “wanted to shine a light” on sexual abuse of children.
In a statement released prior to the film’s premiere, the Jackson Estate has denounced “Leaving Neverland” and called it “a tabloid character assassination” in an outrageous and pathetic attempt to exploit and cash in on Michael Jackson.
Unfortunately, unless you are attending the film festival we won’t have a clear-eyed view of how horrific this documentary is. If it’s as disturbing as Lifetime’s ‘Surviving R. Kelly,’ than we need to begin mentally preparing ourselves and wondering at what point can we separate the art from the artist or if we even can without it ruining our personal musical catalogs. HBO will air Leaving Neverland later this year.
Check out some of the reactions on Twitter below.
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
On a 10-min break halfway through Sundance’s 4-hour Michael Jackson child sex abuse documentary. Whatever you thought you knew or were aware of, the content of this is more disturbing than you could imagine. And again, we’re only halfway through.
— Kevin Fallon (@kpfallon) January 25, 2019
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
#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.
— Matt Donnelly (@MattDonnelly) January 25, 2019
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