'Leaving Neverland' tells disturbing stories of child sex abuse

Brenda Watkins
March 9, 2019

John Yang talks to director Dan Reed about why he wanted to tell the troubling story.

Safechuck and Robson claimed Jackson abused them hundreds of times. He says Jackson told him their activities were the singer's first sexual experience.

She also famously interviewed Jackson in 1993 at his Neverland ranch. As a child Mr Robson had idolised the pop star, saying he had his hair permed to look like him. "We'll never be able to keep our children safe which is the most important thing that I think people could get from this film".

Both explained how he not only groomed them, but their family members as well.

Mr Robson said he was allowed to stay the week with Jackson alone, but the first or second night Jackson allegedly started "to touch my legs and touch my crotch over my pants".

The megastar invited the boy to his Neverland Ranch in California, where Robson, by then seven, said the abuse began. Hand on my leg. Lots of hugs. "He actually sobbed", Robson said. So it'd been this kind of development of physical closeness that was happening already that felt like a father.

"In any sense of rational history, we can not retroactively say that no, Michael Jackson didn't change the history of global pop - because he did change the history of global pop", Thompson said. "We should be mourning, but instead we are being bombarded with lies", the singer's nephew, Taj Jackson, told Reuters.

He describes how their sexual relationship "escalated rapidly", with Jackson telling him: "This is us showing each other that we love each other". Michael was devastated for me to leave. "Both of our lives will be over".

Safechuck said it took a long time for him to realize he'd been sexually abused by the "Thriller" singer, as the abuse felt nearly natural.

"He introduced me to masturbation".

"And French-kissing, he said I taught him how to do that. And then it moved on to oral sex".

"He grooms the children and grooms the parents as well".

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"There's no alarm bells going off in your head or anything like that", he said. And so it was just Michael and I in Neverland for the next week...

"He said I was his "first".

"He was a prolific pedophile, that did what he did right under our noses because he knew he was so adored that he could get away with it", she said.

In both cases, the men describe how Jackson paid them loads of attention, bringing them onstage to bask in the white-hot spotlight of his fame.

Jackson's family has denied the allegations and condemned the film.

He "introduced me to masturbation", said Safechuck.

"It's an old argument,"Mr Safechuck said of the family's claims the alleged victims were motivated by greed".

Jackson was acquitted after Mr Robson testified Jackson never sexually abused him.

Leaving Neverland debuts 10 years after Jackson's death in the era of the #MeToo movement and #MuteRKelly movement. The family is also suing HBO over the documentary, which recently premiered at Sundance. The judge did not rule on the credibility of Mr Robson's allegations.

"If I never had a son, I might still be in silence".

But the fans, Dimond said, "will forever think that he was like Jesus".

Safechuck fought back tears as he claimed Jackson manipulated him when he was a little boy.

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