Leaving Neverland is a 2019 documentary film directed and produced by British filmmaker Dan Reed. It focuses on two men, Wade Robson and Jimmy Safechuck, who allege when they were children, they were sexually abused by the singer Michael Jackson.
A co-production between Home Box Office (HBO) and the UK broadcaster Channel 4, the documentary premiered at the 2019 Sundance Film Festival in January 25, 2019, and was broadcast in two parts on March 3. The Jackson family had filed a $100 million lawsuit against HBO, trying to prevent the documentary from being aired.
Maureen Orth writes for Vanity Fair that Leaving Neverland gives Robson and Safechuck, together with their surviving family members, the opportunity to tell their stories of being first befriended and then seduced, emotionally and—they allege—sexually, by Michael Jackson.
Orth, who had spent more than a decade reporting on allegations against Jackson, is struck by how closely Robson’s and Safechuck’s stories mirrored those of Jordie Chandler and Gavin Arvizo, the 13-year-old whose allegations prompted the 2005 trial in which Jackson was acquitted on 10 felony counts, including four counts of child molestation and one of attempted child molestation. Another boy, Jason Francia, whose mother worked as a housekeeper for Jackson, testified under oath that he was molested by Jackson, bringing to five the number of young men who’ve sworn that Jackson showed them pornography, masturbated them, or introduced them to sex when they were between the ages of 7 and 12.
So many details of the five cases were the same:
- Jackson’s targeting of boys from troubled families.
- Jackson’s disinterest in girls — the boys’ sisters — although he portrayed himself as loving all children.
- His skillful grooming of the boys.
- Gifts showered on the boys’ parents: They were whisked around in limos and private jets, and given money, cars, vintage wine, diamond bracelet, a home, trips to Monaco and Las Vegas, and, in the case of Wade Robinson’s mother, a permanent resident visa.
- Jacuzzis and seduction.
- The way sex was performed.
- Jackson’s threats of what would befall the boys and their families if they ever told anyone what Jackson had done.
- Jackson’s dismissal of the boys as they approached puberty — they were abruptly thrown to the curb and replaced with a new, younger kid.
In response to Jackson’s hardcore supporters who insist he was not a pedophile, Maureen Orth compiled the following ten undeniable facts about the sexual-abuse allegations against Michael Jackson:
1. There is no dispute that, at age 34, Michael Jackson slept more than 30 nights in a row in the same bed with 13-year-old Jordie Chandler at the boy’s house with Chandler’s mother present. He also slept in the same bed with Jordie Chandler at Chandler’s father’s house. The parents were divorced.
2. So far, five boys Michael Jackson shared beds with have accused him of abuse: Jordie Chandler, Jason Francia, Gavin Arvizo, Wade Robson, and Jimmy Safechuck. Jackson had the same nickname for Chandler and Arvizo: “Rubba.” He called Robson “Little One” and Safechuck “Applehead.”
3. Jackson paid $25 million to settle the Chandlers’ lawsuit, with $18 million going to Jordie, $2.5 million to each of the parents, and the rest to lawyers. Jackson said he paid that sum to avoid something “long and drawn out.” Francia also received $2.4 million from Jackson.
4. Michael Jackson suffered from the skin discoloration disease vitiligo. Jordie Chandler drew a picture of the markings on the underside of Jackson’s penis. His drawings were sealed in an envelope. A few months later, investigators photographed Jackson’s genitalia. The photographs matched Chandler’s drawings.
5. The hallway leading to Jackson’s bedroom was a serious security zone covered by video and wired for sound so that the steps of anyone approaching would make ding-dong sounds.
6. Jackson had an extensive collection of adult erotic material he kept in a suitcase next to his bed, including S&M bondage photos and a study of naked boys. Forensic experts with experience in the Secret Service found the fingerprints of boys alongside Jackson’s on the same pages. Jackson also had bondage sculptures of women with ball gags in their mouths on his desk, in full view of the boys who slept there.
7. According to the Neverland staff interviewed by the Santa Barbara authorities, no one ever saw or knew of a woman spending the night with Michael Jackson, including his two spouses, Debbie Rowe or Lisa Marie Presley. Rowe, the mother of two of Jackson’s children, made it clear to the Santa Barbara authorities that she never had sex with Jackson.
8. The parents of boys Jackson shared beds with were courted assiduously and given myriad expensive gifts. Wade Robson’s mother testified in the 2005 trial that she funneled wages through Jackson’s company and was given a permanent resident visa. Jimmy Safechuck’s parents got a house. Jordie Chandler’s mother got a diamond bracelet.
9. Two of the fathers of those who have accused Jackson, Jordie Chandler and Jimmy Safechuck, committed suicide. Both were estranged from their sons at the time.
10. In a 2002 documentary, Living with Michael Jackson, Jackson told Martin Bashir there was nothing wrong with sharing his bed with boys.
- Police report on Michael Jackson’s stockpile of child porn and images of child & animal torture
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