Oprah Winfrey is set to interview Wade Robson and James Safechuck, the two men accusing Michael Jackson of sexual abuse in the new HBO documentary Leaving Neverland. The interview special, Oprah Winfrey Presents: After Neverland, will air immediately after the two-part film wraps on March 4th at 10 p.m, simultaneously on HBO and Oprah’s OWN network.
Per a statement, the special was “taped before an audience of survivors of sexual abuse and others whose lives have been impacted by it.” Leaving Neverland director Dan Reed will also partake in the conversation.
Leaving Neverland is centered around Robson and Safechuck’s claims that Jackson sexually abused them as kids and swore them to secrecy. The two-part, four-hour film examines how Jackson befriended Safechuck and Robson at ages 10 and seven, respectively, and uses interviews with the two men, as well as members of their family, to examine how the pop star allegedly carried out years of abuse, and how that trauma has stayed with them.
Leaving Neverland premiered at Sundance and unsurprisingly drew fierce criticism from Jackson’s estate. The estate called the film a “tabloid character assassination” and, in a 10-page letter, questioned Robson’s credibility by citing positive statements he’d previously made about Jackson. More recently, the Jackson estate filed a $100 million lawsuit against HBO, claiming the documentary violates a non-disparagement clause in a 1992 contract between Jackson and HBO over the rights to air the concert film, Michael Jackson in Concert in Bucharest: The Dangerous Tour.
In an interview with Rolling Stone after the film’s premiere, Reed responded to the Jackson estate by noting that Leaving Neverland isn’t so much about Jackson as it is about surviving sexual abuse. “This is not a story about Michael Jackson,” he said. “It’s a story about child sexual abuse that happened to two families whose lives intersected with Jackson. The fact that the abuser is Michael Jackson gives the film a reach and a relevance that I welcome. But it’s a story of grooming and pedophilia. That could be the story of any predator who inserts himself into a family and gets them to trust him.”