It was one of the most harrowing documentaries ever made.
HBO’s “Leaving Neverland” hit cable television several months ago and shocked the world when two men, Wade Robson and James Safechuck, candidly admitted that the biggest pop star of all time, Michael Jackson, sexually abused both of them when they were as young as seven years old.
It was enormously controversial when it aired but a new revelation suggests “Leaving Neverland,” was unfairly and completely unbiased.
Michael Jackson wasn’t just the most popular American musician in his heyday; he was the most famous musician in the world for nearly two decades.
You can’t say The Beatles, The Rolling Stones, Led Zeppelin, Queen, Elton John, Billy Joel, The Eagles, Madonna or Aretha Franklin without mentioning Michael Jackson as the biggest musician (or band) of all time.
Michael Jackson was an American icon.
But Jackson’s fame turned to infamy when he was accused of pedophilia – having sexual relations with young boys.
He was accused several times over his career but ended up beating all of them until his death in 2009 when a drug cocktail administered by his personal physician caused him to overdose.
Everyone, still, was skeptical about Jackson’s behavior with boys – constantly inviting them for grossly inappropriate retreats to his “Neverland” ranch and sometimes without their parents.
On March 3rd and 4th of this year, HBO released a two-part harrowing documentary featuring two young men, Wade Robson and James Safechuck, who went into great detail and specifics that ran the spectrum of inappropriate touching to sodomy while they were underage.
It was likely one of these things you’d watch about Michael Jackson and think to yourself that you always suspected some sexual misconduct was true but you couldn’t imagine it would’ve been that bad.
But a new revelation might shine some new light on the issue.
Carrie Lozano was one of the panelists for “Truth Be Told? Documentary Films Today,” a discussion that brought together two rival schools as sponsors; the UCLA School of Law Ziffren Center and USC Annenberg School for Communications and Journalism – held at the UCLA campus.
Amongst the panelists were power player entertainment lawyers John Branca and Howard Weitzman who both represent the estate of Michael Jackson.
Of course, they had things to say about “Leaving Neverland” considering the thematic focus of the event and the bad picture it paints of both attorneys (probably why they were invited in the first place).
Branca joked to chuckling when he said, “I’m an impartial observer whose point of view is not related to any particular documentary.”
Then the tone switched to series when he refuted director Dan Reed’s biased narrative saying, “Testimony is presented as fact. No other side is presented. The director, Dan Reed, even said he had no interest in talking to anybody else.”
Documentarians are for all intents and purposes journalists. A good one is objective and shows different sides to the argument, counter-viewpoints; otherwise, it’s propaganda by definition.
Weitzman added, “The idea of offering fair and balanced views doesn’t play in the media business today. The only true reality TV where the outcome is unknown is a sporting event.”
This should probably remind you of how the liberal mainstream media treats a certain man who currently resides in the White House, right?
Branca added, “The purpose of the First Amendment is supposedly getting at the truth, but the lack of defamation protection for an individual no longer living isn’t helpful in that regard. If copyright protection is life plus 75 years, there’s no reason a defamation suit shouldn’t be life plus 20, 30 or even 40 years.”
Again, what institution sounds exactly like that without any recourse or repercussions?
But Branca and Weitzman have a point, especially when you really try to determine the credibility of both Robson and Safechuck. What they don’t include in the documentary is the shaky pasts of those two, not in their individual personal lives, but how they acted with Michael Jackson’s estate, ie attorneys Branca and Weitzman.
Here are some interesting facts they don’t disclose in “Leaving Neverland.”
- In 2011, Robson approached John Branca, co-executor of the Michael Jackson Estate, about directing the new Michael Jackson/Cirque du Soleil production, ONE. Robson admitted he wanted the job “badly,” but the Estate ultimately chose someone else for the position.
- In 2012, Robson had a nervous breakdown, triggered, he said, by an obsessive quest for success. His career, in his own words, began to “crumble.”
- That same year, with Robson’s career, finances, and marriage in peril, he began shopping a book that claimed he was sexually abused by Michael Jackson. No publisher picked it up.
- In 2013, Robson filed a $1.5 billion dollar civil lawsuit/creditor’s claim, along with James Safechuck, who also spent time with Jackson in the late ‘80s. Safechuck claimed he only realized he may have been abused when Robson filed his lawsuit. That lawsuit was dismissed by a probate court in 2017.
- In 2019, the Sundance Film Festival premiered a documentary based entirely on Robson and Safechuck’s allegations. While the documentary is obviously emotionally disturbing given the content, it presents no new evidence or witnesses. The film’s director, Dan Reed, acknowledged not wanting to interview other key figures because it might complicate or compromise the story he wanted to tell.
And that’s just the tip of the iceberg. “Leaving Neverland” was undeniably one-sided because director Dan Reed refused to incorporate those facts about his two stars.
The most skeptical part was how both Safechuck and Robson had no regret for the way Jackson raped both of them on multiple occasions as if they had a weird sexual case of Stockholm Syndrome.
To be fair, it’s really difficult to hear Safechuck and Robson’s testimonies and not think that all of it is true because they both mentioned certain specific, detailed stories that both matched up. Even specific words Jackson said to them and sexually explicit actions were identical.
But it wouldn’t be impossible to rehearse something like that – so as to add credibility to their accounts?
Yes, Michael Jackson’s behavior towards children was inappropriate at best and all of these stories may be true, but it’s also important to show all the facts before you make a declarative solution.