The world has been rocked by the first of a two-part documentary about Michael Jackson, called Leaving Neverland – and people can’t decide where they stand on the issue.
The first part of the controversial docuseries addresses allegations of child sexual abuse against Michael Jackson, made principally by Wade Robson and James Safechuck, who describe in graphic and disturbing detail the acts they claim the musician committed against them.
Leaving Neverland delves into the allegations extensively, looking at accusations made against him as well as testimony from Robson, Safechuck and their families.
The accusations of abuse followed the late pop star around for 15 years before he died, and much of it remains cloaked in mystery. Jackson’s family and his estate have condemned the documentary and called Safechuck and Robson "opportunists" and "liars".
They have launched a lawsuit against HBO, and the Jackson estate called the piece a “one-sided marathon of unvetted propaganda to shamelessly exploit an innocent man no longer here to defend himself”.
Some of the most shocking claims to come out of the documentary include allegations that Jackson groomed both the children and their families, that he had them practise “drills” if someone walked in on them and that Jackson would reward Safechuck with jewellery and other things for sexual acts.
Michael Jackson played a vital part in may people’s childhoods, and such allegations against him have been, for many of his fans, devastating.
Others are praising Wade and Safechuck for their courage in coming forward
Rose McGowan, who has been championing the #MeToo movement, said the 'survivors are brave,' after Wade and Safechuck’s appeared on Oprah to talk about the documentary.
“The survivors are brave. [email protected] is brave. The documentarians are brave. This is what brave is folks, standing against the grain, going against the norm, rocking the boat because sometimes it needs to be rocked,” she wrote.
It is hard to hear truth, but that’s what growing pains are. #Brave
There are those who have denounced the musician after watching the documentary
His brother, Jermaine Jackson, is leading the defence against Michael.
Jermaine is crowdfunding to create an alternative documentary which seeks to disprove sexual assault allegations against his brother and clear his name once and for all.
Corey Feldman, who spent time with Michael Jackson when he was a child actor, defended the late pop star and said he had 'never touched me inappropriately'
In a series of Tweets condemning the documentary as “La La Land, instead of Neverland,” he said Jackson' accusers are motivated by money, and insists his relationships to children was "innocent."
Others argue that without tangible evidence, they can’t believe that Jackson committed such horrendous acts and are using the #MJinnocent hashtag.
People accuse the documentary of cutting off this birthday message in order to make it appear as though he was trying to drive a wedge between the children and their families.
There's lots of confusion around the divisive topic.
Wade's credibility is being questioned by the Jackson estate - including by his nephew, Taj. Nevertheless, people are being urged to watch Leaving Neverland and the Oprah interview.
Whatever the case, there is a dark side to MJ's fandom, and his critics have been on the receiving end of it
Leaving Neverland airs in the UK as two parts, on Wednesday 6 and Thursday 7 March at 9pm on Channel 4.