HBO Releases Trailer For Controversial Michael Jackson Documentary
By Peyton Blakemore
February 20, 2019
The Leaving Neverland trailer is here.
On Tuesday (February 19), HBO released the chilling first look at the two-part documentary, which debuted at the Sundance Film Festival last month, that accuses Michael Jackson of sexually abusing two young boys. The minute-and-a-half trailer begins with James Safechuck, Wade Robson, and their mothers detailing their first interactions with the King of Pop. "The days were filled with magical, childhood adventure experiences. Playing tag, watching movies, eating junk food," Wade recalls. "Anything you could ever want as a child."
After showing pictures and videos of Michael hanging out with the young boys, the trailer then transitions to the men alluding to their alleged abuse at the hands of the late singer. "Secrets will eat you up. You feel so alone," James, who previously sued Michael's estate over sexual abuse claims in 2014 (five years after the singer's death), says in the clip. Wade then adds: "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 […] I want to be able to speak the truth as loud as I had to speak the lie for so long."
Ahead of the documentary's premiere at Sundance, Michael Jackson's estate denounced the film in a statement. "This is yet another lurid production in an outrageous and pathetic attempt to exploit and cash in on Michael Jackson," a rep for the singer's estate said, per Rolling Stone. "Wade Robson and James Safechuck have both testified under oath that Michael never did anything inappropriate toward them. Safechuck and Robson, the latter a self-proclaimed 'master of deception,' filed lawsuits against Michael’s estate, asking for millions of dollars. Both lawsuits were dismissed. This so-called 'documentary' is just another rehash of dated and discredited allegations. It’s baffling why any credible filmmaker would involve himself with this project."
In January, when news of the film's existence first broke news, the filmmakers behind the documentary released Leaving Neverland's synopsis, which described it as tell-all exposé. "At the height of his stardom, Michael Jackson began long-running relationships with two boys, aged 7 and 10, and their families. Now in their 30s, they tell the story of how they were sexually abused by Jackson, and how they came to terms with it years later."
As previously reported, the "Remember the Time" singer was accused of molesting a boy in 1993, however, the case was dropped after an out-of-court settlement was made. Michael was also accused of molestation by two brothers in 2005. However, the criminal case went to trial and he was acquitted.
The documentary, which is named after the late singer's infamous California ranch, Neverland, will be told in two parts and run for a total of 233 minutes.
Leaving Neverland premieres March 3 and 4 on HBO.
Photo: Getty Images