Allegations of Michael Jackson’s inappropriate behaviour with children are not new: they plagued the ‘Billie Jean’ singer for many years before his death in 2009. But the documentary Leaving Neverland, just aired in the US on HBO, has reignited the controversy over Jackson’s life, with new accusations from two men who claim Jackson abused them as young boys.
The two-part documentary features interviews with James Safechuck and Australian dancer Wade Robson, who claim that they were molested by the King of Pop when they were seven and ten respectively, and Jackson befriended them.
There are also interviews with Safechuck and Robson’s families, who give insight into the impact of the abuse on the boys as they grew up.
Leaving Neverland premiered at the Sundance Film Festival this year, and has overcome substantial obstacles to be released: mainly from the Jackson estate, which accused director Dan Reed of “tabloid character assassination”. That view has been echoed by myriad Jackson fans, who are outraged that ten years after their hero’s death, he’s under attack again.
On the flipside, many others see it as a long-overdue exposure of the truth of the matter. It’s also revived the age-old debate over whether art can or should be enjoyed when the artist is revealed as reprehensible.
Viewers can make up their own minds.