The trailer for the upcoming documentary, Leaving Neverland, shows the story of two men who claim Michael Jackson sexually abused them as children. The two-part film tells the stories of James Safechuck and Wade Robson, who claim Jackson molested them and swore them to secrecy. The first episode will air on HBO on March 3rd.
“The days were filled with magical, childhood adventure experiences,” Robson says. “[It was] playing tag, watching movies, eating junk food, anything you could ever want as a child.”
“It’s like hanging out with a friend that’s more your age,” says Safechuck.
The accusers’ mothers says that Jackson seemed to be into “kid things” and that he was a “loving, caring kind soul” alongside footage of Jackson wishing Robson a happy birthday in a personal video (“I love you,” Jackson says). The men later sued Jackson’s estate in 2013, but their charges were dismissed in 2017.
It also details the oath of secrecy Jackson swore one of the boys to. “He told me that if [people] ever found out what we were doing, he and I would go to jail for the rest of our lives,” Robson says.
When the film got a premiere at Sundance, Rolling Stone wrote that audiences were “shellshocked.” Jackson’s estate responded by calling the picture “a public lynching.” “The creators of this film were not interested in the truth,” it said in a statement. “They never interviewed a single solitary soul who knew Michael except the two perjurers and their families. That is not journalism, and it’s not fair, yet the media are perpetuating these stories.”
Filmmaker Dan Reed disagreed with those claims in an interview with Rolling Stone, saying that neither Robson nor Safechuck were paid to do interviews in the films. He also said that he kept the men separate, so they wouldn’t influence each other’s interviews. They met as adults for the first time at Sundance. “What they’ve been through has taught them that there’s no point in getting angry,” he said of how they’ve dealt with telling their stories. “There’s no point in hating. It doesn’t get you anywhere. It only hurts you.”