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Will The HBO Documentary ‘Leaving Neverland’ Forever Change Michael Jackson’s Legacy?

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HBO is well-regarded for their daring, culture-challenging works of TV and film. Their most recent documentary Leaving Neverland, which premiered at this year’s Sundance Film Festival, will be one that goes down in history. Or, rather, changes history itself. This two-part film goes in-depth to Michael Jackson’s legacy, and into the allegations of sexual abuse that started in 1993.

HBO Doc Challenges Celebrity Culture

Leaving Neverland is much more than a cut-and-dry documentary on Michael Jackson’s abuse allegations. It is a pointed take on how idealization of celebrities can give them much more power than any one person deserves.

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In the era of the #MeToo movement, it is critical to not only challenge our societal beliefs but our beliefs on those to whom we look up and admire. Leaving Neverland makes a compelling case and shows how the media and our own biases can rewrite the truth.

What Happened On Neverland Ranch?

Leaving Neverland covers the stories of Wade Robson and James Safechuck, the now-adult asserted victims of Jackson’s sexual abuse. Both men met Jackson when they were children, and gave similar accounts of their experiences with him.

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In addition to Safechuck and Robson’s stories, the film interviews their families. Both said that they believed the relationship to be nothing but platonic mentorship and that in the beginning all visits with Jackson were supervised. However, as the families became closer, they allowed unsupervised visits. It was during this time that both Safechuck and Robson said they were abused and supposedly told by Jackson that if anyone found out, they would both go to jail.

The Michael Jackson Estate Says Otherwise

The documentary focuses on Safechuck and Robson’s stories. It does not include interviews from the Jackson family or witnesses from his trial. The Michael Jackson estate released a strong statement after the film to deny any allegations or accounts delivered.

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We may never uncover the full story of what happened in Neverland, but the message is clear. Celebrities, despite the love of their fans and seemingly perfect lives, cannot go unchecked. It is our responsibility as the public to hold stars to the same standard of accountability, even if it is heartbreaking to admit that wrongdoing is possible. To see the full story, watch Leaving Neverland on HBO, March 3rd.

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