A two-part documentary coming to television delves into allegations of sexual abuse by Michael Jackson, with two men who were allegedly among the pop star’s victims recounting their experiences. “Leaving Neverland,” a co-production by HBO and Channel 4 from award-winning director Dan Reed, will premiere on HBO this spring.
“When allegations of abuse by Jackson involving young boys surfaced in 1993, many found it hard to believe that he could be guilty of such unspeakable acts,” HBO says in an announcement released today. “‘Leaving Neverland’ explores the experiences of two young boys, James Safechuck, at age ten, and Wade Robson, at age seven, who were both befriended by Jackson. They and their families were entranced by the singer’s fairy-tale existence as his career reached its peak.”
Reed, the director, is quoted saying: “If there’s anything we’ve learned during this time in our history, it’s that sexual abuse is complicated, and survivors’ voices need to be listened to. It took great courage for these two men to tell their stories and I have no question about their validity. I believe anyone who watches this film will see and feel the emotional toll on the men and their families and will appreciate the strength it takes to confront long-held secrets.”
HBO adds: “Through gut-wrenching interviews with Safechuck and Robson, now in their 30s, as well as their mothers, wives and siblings, ‘Leaving Neverland’ crafts a portrait of sustained abuse, and explores the complicated feelings that led both men to confront their experiences after each had a young son of his own. Playing out against the backdrop of our collective experience, the film documents the value of breaking silence, even when it implicates a powerful and revered figure.”
The project was commissioned by Channel 4 Commissioning Editor Tom Porter and is made by AMOS Pictures.