On March 3, the film first displayed at Sundance film festival—Leaving Neverland—premiered on HBO. It gives you an inside look on the childhood of two men and their interactions with the pop superstar-Michael Jackson. They claim to have been two of the many victims of Jackson’s child sexual abuse.
With Jackson originally being on trial for child sexual abuse around 2004 and was acquitted of all charges on June 13, 2005. It came to as a shock to many that the situation is being brought to light 10 years after Jackson’s death. Many people believed that Jackson is innocent because the two boys have not come out and said they were also abused until recently.
The two men– James (Jimmy) Safechuck and Wade Robson– tell their stories in the four hour documentary. Jackson sexually abused both of them between the ages of 5-14.
This documentary and the many people who have accused Jackson of child abuse has raised awareness and suspicion to the situation. How was Jackson able to get away with this?
Jackson was able to sexually abuse children and get off the hook. This is making many people wonder how many times this has happened to other children. If it’s easy for someone in the public eye to do, it can’t be hard for a regular person to accomplish.
The trauma caused by the child sexual abuse transformed the lives of Safechuck and Robson; speaking out was necessary for them to draw attention to their suffering for the good of all parents.
The documentary was a good way to reach out and raise awareness for all future instances of child sexual abuse. It also drew attention to all of the allegations and helped many to come to form an opinion on the situation. The depth and formatting of the film grasps the attention of viewers and keeps them locked in for all four hours.
The target market of the film is people who were unsure about the allegations or what they believed was true. The documentary does a great job of addressing every aspect of the incidents and persuades viewers to side with the children. The goal was to get viewers to turn away from supporting Jackson once and for all.
The support from viewers after the release of the documentary has been overwhelming. Many people who never believed Jackson was guilty have changed their minds and sided with Safechuck and Robson.
There has also been some backlash from people who were close with Jackson in the past. Barbra Streisand recently spoke out saying that the abuse caused by Jackson “didn’t kill [Safechuck and Robson].” The lack of remorse shown by Streisand provoked many to speak out against her by attacking her on social media. All of the hate she was receiving led her to publicly apologize once more for any “pain or misunderstanding [she] caused.”
Regardless of one’s opinions on the circumstances, changes can only be made in the future if everyone is aware of the impact child sexual abuse has on the development of the child. Knowing what is going on in a child’s life is the first step to safety.
I believe that Leaving Neverland is a very crucial documentary for all people to watch. Knowing that there are children in the world being sexually abused, even by someone in the public eye, is important for all people to be aware of. The time it takes to watch the film is worth it because you will understand the situation better and be able to help others in the future.