HBO has released the first trailer for the new Michael Jackson documentary Leaving Neverland. Already controversial before its premiere on television, the documentary had its world premiere at the Sundance Film Festival last month. Now, the first trailer lets everyone else see what to expect from the documentary, which will air on HBO early next month. In the ’90s, Jackson was in the center of a major sex scandal amid accusations he was sexually abusing children. Despite being found not guilty in the court of law, the allegations would follow Jackson around until his death in 2009. Leaving Neverland sheds new light on the accusations against Jackson with new information from two accusers.
The film is about two Michael Jackson accusers, Wade Robson and James Safechuck, detailing their experiences they had as children with Jackson. According to Safechuck, it all began as a childhood fantasy come true. “The days were filled with magical childhood adventure experiences: playing tag, watching movies, eating junk food,” he explains in the documentary. Robson similarly says how he was invited to Neverland along with his family when he was just seven years old, which seemed nothing short of incredible to them at the time. As Safechuck adds, the place had “anything you could ever want as a child.”
However, according to the two men, there was something much darker going on beneath the surface of what appeared to be somewhere safe. “He told me if they ever found out what we were doing, he and I would go to jail for the rest of our lives,” Robson says in the movie. As a child, Robson had defended Michael Jackson in court during his infamous trial in the ’90s, but now says he doesn’t want to live with the lie for any longer. “I want to be able to speak the truth as loud as I had to speak the lie for so long,” he explains. Robson’s mother Joy also appears in the doc, describing Jackson as someone who comes across as a “loving, caring, kind soul,” which was actually a facade.
Jackson’s estate has not taken kindly to the release of the documentary, referring to the movie as a “tabloid character assassination.” Insisting that director Dan Reed and the accusers in the movie are “opportunists” looking to make some quick money, things have gotten a bit heated between both camps. Reed has responded to the assertion by suggesting that they are merely trying to keep the money coming in for them from all of the royalties Jackson’s music continues to make. “They have a very precious asset to protect. Every time a song plays, a cash register goes ‘ka-ching,'” Reed said in a recent interview. “It doesn’t surprise me that they’ve come out fighting in defense of their asset.”
Leaving Neverland will premiere its first part on HBO on Sunday, March 3. The second part will then follow on Monday, March 4. Together, the documentary will run four hours long. When it airs, viewers can watch the movie and draw from it their own conclusions. This information comes to us from HBO films.