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He Was the King of Pop, and Later Revealed as a Sexual Predator: ‘Leaving Neverland’ Illustrates the Truth About Michael Jackson

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He Was the King of Pop, and Later Revealed as a Sexual Predator: ‘Leaving Neverland’ Illustrates the Truth About Michael Jackson

"Leaving Neverland" is a two part documentary that first aired on HBO earlier this month.

"Leaving Neverland" is a two part documentary that first aired on HBO earlier this month.

"Leaving Neverland" is a two part documentary that first aired on HBO earlier this month.

Anna McClow, Assistant Editor

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Warning: This article contains some descriptions of sexual abuse.

Michael Jackson was a rockstar known for his incredible music and his legendary moonwalk. Throughout his career, he would perform concerts to sold out crowds of adoring fans who had a dream of meeting the king of pop.

It’s hard to believe that such an amazing musician could fool so many people.

“Leaving Neverland,” a four hour HBO documentary that is split into two different parts, focuses on pop singer Michael Jackson, and the tragic reality of his sexual abuse of minors.

The two men who are the focus of the documentary are Wade Robson and James Safechuck, who were two boys that were sexually abused by Jackson. It started for Robson at age 7 and for Safechuck at age 10.

“He was one of the kindest, most gentle, loving, caring people I knew,” said Robson in the documentary. “And he also sexually abused me for 7 years.”

Jackson had many different houses all around the world where this abuse would occur, including the Neverland Mansion in Anaheim, CA. The two boys would stay in the mansion with Jackson in seclusion often throughout their lives.

The documentary revealed graphic content of what Jackson would do to the two boys when they were children. In the mansion, there were multiple doors that when opened would reveal another door inside.

“There were bells so you can have a moment of hearing them trip and at least it alarmed him to when people were coming,” Safechuck said. “[It started with] kissing and rubbing on each other and then [escalated to] oral sex.”

Because I was previously naive to the problem of sexual abuse in general, this documentary was eye-opening in an almost shocking way. Going into the film, I did not know exactly how graphic it was going to be throughout. It escalated quickly; lots of explicit descriptions were thrown at viewers in a short amount of time with the victims explaining the sexual abuse that they suffered, not leaving a single detail out.  

In addition to the two victims that the documentary focuses on, Jackson had also been previously accused in 1993 and 2005 of sexually assaulting boys under the age of 18 years old. Jackson was 34 at the time of the first accusation of molesting 13-year-old Jordan Neil Chandler, and he was 46 when he was accused of assaulting 13-year-old Gavin Arvizo.

Despite credible evidence to the contrary, he was found “not guilty” in both cases.

I was and still am a fan of Jackson’s music. His star quality as a musician will still always be legendary even after watching the film. What changed for me was my ability to see him as a good human being.

My eyes were opened to who Jackson truly was outside of all of the fame, the music, and the dancing. It showed me that he was not the legend that we all think that he was before he passed away in June of 2009.

After the documentary first aired on HBO on March 3 and 4, 2019, several radio stations have pulled Jackson’s music from airing.

“We aren’t deciding whether Michael Jackson is guilty of pedophilia or not,” said Leon Wratt, the content director for a New Zealand media company.We’re just merely trying to make sure that our radio stations are going to play the music that people want to hear.”

Growing up, I would listen to Jackson’s music all the time on the radio. He was a part of my childhood. Now after watching this documentary, I will never think of him the same way again.

“Leaving Neverland” is a must see. It tells you the truth about the king of pop. Even though these truths were heartbreaking to hear about the star, it was informative as well as shocking. It also will give viewers insight into how sexual abuse, especially when someone is as young as Robson and Safechuck were, affects victims even into their adulthood.

“Leaving Neverland” can be streamed on the HBO Go app, and for more details on the documentary, check out this story published by the New York Times.

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About the Writer
Anna McClow, Assistant Editor

Anna McClow is a senior at La Salle. In her free time, she is very involved in the theater department, and enjoys performing. She has two dog, four cats,...

3 Comments

3 Responses to “He Was the King of Pop, and Later Revealed as a Sexual Predator: ‘Leaving Neverland’ Illustrates the Truth About Michael Jackson”

  1. David Le on March 20th, 2019 8:24 pm

    We should not label Michael Jackson as a sexual predator considering that he has not been seen guilty of those accusations under the court of law. I believe in “innocent until proven guilty”. It’s also sickening that a documentary would be made accusing a dead person of a crime that they were not found guilty. Since Michael Jackson is dead, he is unable to defend himself against these accusations. I have not personally watched the documentary but my opinion will stay the same regardless. Michael Jackson has never been found guilty for these accusations during his time on trial.

  2. Maren Sheahan on March 20th, 2019 9:29 pm

    David, your opinion was completely valid up until you said you didn’t watch the documentary. The lawyer that got Michael acquitted was the same one who got OJ off. Watch the documentary if you’re going to (whether you mean to or not,) try and silence the voice of sexual assault victims. Listen to their story before completely writing their trauma off

  3. David Le on March 20th, 2019 11:21 pm

    Maren. I am not trying to silence the voice of sexual assault victims but there is no evidence. Those victims had their time in court and there was no evidence to get Michael Jackson landing in prison. The question that is brought up now is do we get to ignore a court decision just because we feel for the victims? That sets a dangerous precedent. Believe what you want to believe but don’t label him a sexual predator in the title of an article when there’s no proof. this is why we have laws for slander, and libel. Instead of sympathizing with only the victims, maybe sympathize with Michael Jackson’s family who are constantly bombarded with these accusations. A quote from the estate, “We are furious that the media, who without a shred of proof or single piece of physical evidence, chose to believe the word of two admitted liars over the word of hundreds of families and friends around the world who spent time with Michael, many at Neverland, and experienced his legendary kindness and global generosity.”
    Michael Jackson may be who you think he is, but I won’t vilify a man who is dead and has proved his innocence in court.

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He Was the King of Pop, and Later Revealed as a Sexual Predator: ‘Leaving Neverland’ Illustrates the Truth About Michael Jackson