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"Hey, rat greed, here is "Documentary Making 101" for you: "documentary" is a factual program that provides fact-based evidence or report, not your sick child porn fantasies. You got the genre wrong!"— JacksonPassion
Leaving Neverland is a 2019 "documentary" directed and produced by British filmmaker Dan Reed. The documentary is about Wade Robson and James Safechuck, who allege that they were sexually abused as children by the late singer Michael Jackson at his home, Neverland Ranch, and other locations. The documentary was broadcast on HBO in two parts in March 2019.
The release of the broadcast resulted in a backlash against Jackson and a reassessment of his legacy; however, it boosted sales of his music. Some dismissed the film as one-sided and questioned its veracity; the Jackson estate condemned it as a "tabloid character assassination". The film led to protests from Jackson's fans. Michael Jackson: Chase the Truth, a documentary challenging the allegations of Leaving Neverland and asserting omissions and inconsistencies in that account, was released on August 13, 2019 on Amazon Prime Video.
At the height of his stardom, Michael Jackson began long-running relationships with two boys, aged seven and ten, respectively, and their families. Now in their thirties, they tell the story of how they were allegedly sexually abused by Michael Jackson.
Why It Should Leave Michael Jackson Alone
- The documentary movie about late singer, Michael Jackson is full of bogus slander; based on accusations that are heavily inaccurate, especially in terms of history, and lack any evidence whatsoever:
- James Safechuck claims he was abused by Jackson at a train station at Jackson's Neverland ranch from 1988-1992, even though it did not even open until 1994; he also claimed the abuse got worse after a Grammy performance in New York in 1989 when the Grammys that year took place in Los Angeles and Michael Jackson didn't perform there that year.
- Wade Robson claims he was sexually assaulted at Disneyland Paris in 1988 when it was Euro Disney Resort, even though the construction of Disneyland Paris was not complete until 1992.
- Not only are some of the shots taken from a drone, but they were also actually staged and re-shot, which also shows the inaccuracy.
- Robson claims that Jackson abused him when he was alone when his family went to the Grand Canyon in Arizona, even though he actually did go with his family.
- Safechuck claims that Jackson was with him during Thanksgiving when the latter was actually in Australia during his "Bad" Tour.
- Safechuck also claimed that he cried himself to sleep in Los Angeles in September 1992 after Jackson preferred another child over him, even though Jackson was in Europe during his "Dangerous" Tour.
- At one point, Safechuck claimed that Jackson gave him his old Thriller jacket, even though it is on display at the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and was sold on Music Icons Auctions.
- Some of the claims are unrealistic. One of them was from Safechuck where he claimed that his private parts were swelling from the abuse from Michael Jackson.
- Wade Robson testified as an adult to defend Michael Jackson in 2005; keep in mind that nobody asked him to testify and he was a grown man. In addition, this could be (and is) perjury and treason.
- The entirety of this documentary is disrespectful to the legacy of Michael Jackson, as it tries to defame a deceased man who was proven innocent by showing evidence against the accusers and currently cannot defend himself; an entire decade after his death; disrespecting the dead is quite an immoral act.
- Consequently, this resulted in everything that involved Michael Jackson himself, such as his songs and his guest appearances like in The Simpsons episode "Stark Raving Dad", to be pulled out of circulation, all brought in as the result of public's overreaction to everything that is mentioned in this documentary.
- Furthermore, instead of covering Michael Jackson's other controversial aspects, like his perfectionism, this documentary exclusively focuses on Jackson's child abuse allegations, which have already been covered to death and debunked many times before.
- It is believed that Robson only did this out of spite after not being accepted to direct the Michael Jackson-Cirque du Soleil joint production Michael Jackson: One, which resulted in financial problems for Robson.
- According to many, the accusations seem to originate from the fictional fantasy novel Michael Jackson Was My Lover: The Secret Diary of Jordie Chandler.
- Safechuck claimed that he had a mock wedding with Jackson to earn the rings; however, the rings are too big for a ten-year-old.
- Lackluster and uninspiring cinematography in documentary standards.
- Deceptive film editing despite it's supposed to be a documentary focusing about Michael Jackson.
- Hypocrisy: Robson proved that he dated Jackson's niece Brandi for seven years, even though he claimed that Jackson told him to distrust women.
- The ending is beyond abysmal and adds insult to injury, as it shows the Michael Jackson memorabilia being burnt, even though Robson sold the real ones for money.
- The film's promotional poster (pictured on the page) is very bland, uncreative, and lazily made, as it basically only shows a blank background with text and nothing else.
- The film is also very boring, with nothing interesting going on.
- It pretty much-duped celebrities and brands into believing that the allegations are real, such as:
- 50 Cent
- Al Jean (as well as other members of the crew who work on The Simpsons)
- Caito Potatoe
- Corey Feldman
- Ellen DeGeneres
- Ethan Klein from h3h3Productions
- FaZe Banks
- John Legend
- Katelyn Ohashi
- Lil Boosie
- Louis Theroux
- Molly Ringwald
- Quincy Jones
- Rose McGowan
- The Children's Museum of Indianapolis
- "Weird Al" Yankovic
- Oprah Winfrey
- And last but not least: Filmmaker Judd Apatow; after the documentary's release this guy hasn't stopped writing disrespectful tweets towards Michael Jackson whenever he gets the chance expressing his hatred towards him very directly.
- The soundtrack is decent to listen to.
- If there were no mistakes or errors, it could've been a better documentary about Michael Jackson.
- Despite the amount of celebrities that believe in the allegations, there are luckily some celebrities and companies who didn't fall for the allegations and still defend and support Michael Jackson, such as:
- Aaron Carter
- Britney Spears
- Diana Ross
- Macaulay Culkin
- James Lee
- Kanye West
- LL Cool J
- Mark Lester
- Michael Trapson (Michael Jackson's impersonator)
- Nick Cannon
- Snoop Dogg
- Tiffany Haddish
- Wendy Williams
- The crew who worked on South Park.
Despite Leaving Neverland receiving critical acclaim from critics, it received a more divided response from casual viewers and fans of Michael Jackson. Sales for Jackson's albums went high in the billboard charts following the release of the documentary. It received a 98% "fresh" rating on Rotten Tomatoes based on 93 reviews with an average score of 7.97/10 with the critic consensus "Crucial and careful, Leaving Neverland gives empathetic breadth and depth to the complicated afterlife of child sexual abuse as experienced by adult survivors." It has also earned an 85/100 on Metacritic based on 23 reviews, meaning universal acclaim. It originally had a 61% fresh audience score at release, before being redacted and put back up with a 24%.
Many people believed that the documentary was actually true, leading to radio stations removing Jackson's music, statues and items of memorabilia being taken down, The Simpsons pulling the episode "Stark Raving Dad" from circulation, Drake dropping his MJ collaboration "Don't Matter To Me" from his tour setlist, some celebrities turning against him, and a documentary about The Jackson 5 being canceled. Jackson's estate later sued HBO for $100 million after the documentary was released.
When it comes to criticism, Wade Robson put his Twitter account on private for his haters and blocks people who criticize him, James Safechuck and/or this documentary, and James Safechuck blocks people who criticize and/or expose him.
Despite the controversy, it would go on to win the Emmy for "Outstanding Documentary or Nonfiction Special" at the 71st Primetime Emmy Awards.
FilmMasterAdam named the documentary the worst movie he personally saw in 2019.