Leaving Neverland: Unflinching testimony by Michael Jackson’s boy pals made for deeply unsettling viewing

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Leaving Neverland

★★★★★

Michael Jackson with Wade Robson, who accused the star of sexually abusing him over many years in Leaving Neverland
Michael Jackson with Wade Robson, who accused the star of sexually abusing him over many years in Leaving Neverland

BOMBSHELL documentaries are few and far between.

There was Panorama’s Princess Diana interview and ITV’s expose of Jimmy Savile, but neither were quite as explosive as last night’s Leaving Neverland.

It’s the unflinching testimony from two men who claim that, as boys, they were subjected to years of sexual abuse by Michael Jackson.

And like Diana and Savile, we can never think of this icon in the same way again.

James Safechuch gave compelling toe-curling detail of the sexual abuse
HBO

James Safechuck gave compelling toe-curling detail of the sexual abuse[/caption]

In a shrewd move, director Dan Reed simply let Wade Robson, 36, and James Safechuck, 40, tell their story in minute, toe-curling detail.

From the grooming of the boys and their families to the warped relationships he nurtured, it made for deeply unsettling viewing.

Never more so than when they recalled the darkest moments which took place behind the closed doors of his Neverland ranch.

Jackson is said to have given Jimmy Safechuck rings after sex acts
HBO

Jackson is said to have given James Safechuck diamond and Rolex rings after committing sex acts[/caption]

After watching last night’s first episode, any open-minded viewer couldn’t fail to be persuaded they spoke the truth.

Even the greatest cynic – or any Jackson devotee willing to watch it – couldn’t deny their account was compelling.

Wade and James’s memories are just too similar to be dismissed. Could they be lying? Of course, but they’d need to be the world’s greatest actors or mastermind colluders.

Even the greatest cynic – or any Jackson devotee willing to watch it - couldn’t deny the accounts of abuse were compelling
Getty – Contributor

Even the greatest cynic – or any Jackson devotee willing to watch it – couldn’t deny the accounts of abuse were compelling[/caption]

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Perhaps the most convincing evidence is in the second episode, where both men explain the aftermath of their abuse.

Admitting what happened to them tore their families apart, damaged their relationships and saw them mercilessly attacked by Jacko fans.

Jackson fans have vented their fury at Channel 4 for showing the documentary
Rex Features

Jackson fans have vented their fury at Channel 4 for showing the documentary[/caption]


They had so much to lose by confessing their abuse, but they’ve made no financial gain by taking part.

The only criticism of the documentary is that it doesn’t allow the Jackson camp much airtime to respond.

And fans will continue to argue that the man himself isn’t around to defend himself – though he’d struggle to put up a believable defence even if he were.

Alive or not, Leaving Neverland sounds the death knell for Jackson’s reputation.

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