‘Leaving Neverland’: dethroning the King of Pop


courtesy photo

Arguably, there has never been a pop star more loved and adored than Michael Jackson. Like the Beatles rolled up into one person, Jackson was a musical icon that could never be touched. His music transcended decades, and his life left a huge influence on the world. Years after his death, a new documentary sets out to expose more of the star’s wrongdoings.

“Leaving Neverland” is a two-part documentary that aired on HBO and focuses on the lives of two men, Wade Robson and James Safechuck who say they were sexually abused by Jackson as children.  After the segment aired, Oprah Winfrey interviewed the two men and the director of the documentary.

Allegations of Jackson sexually abusing minors started in 1993 when the Los Angeles Times reported that the LAPD had begun investigating that Jackson had possibly molested four children.

During that time, police found no incriminating evidence at Jackson’s Neverland ranch or at his Los Angeles home. This led many to believe these allegations were a hoax to defame the singer’s name.

However, later that year Vanity Fair published an article interviewing a possible abuse victim’s parent claiming that Jackson was indeed a child molester. Following the publication of the article,  LaToya Jackson, Michael Jackson’s sister, went on to say those claims were in fact true.

“This is very difficult for me. Michael is my brother, but I cannot and I will not be a silent collaborator of his crimes against small, innocent children,” LaToya said.

Other members of the Jackson family spoke out against LaToya, including their mother Katherine Jackson.

The Washington Post quotes Katherine, “LaToya is lying and I’ll tell her to her face she’s lying.”

Abuse allegations died down until 2003 when police officially arrested Jackson, where he was indicted on 10 criminal counts including child molestation.

Jackson’s criminal case finally went to trail in 2005 after 2 years of suspicion and allegations, but Jackson was acquitted of all charges. Nothing more was heard about the abuse after the trial.

Jackson died on June 25, 2009 at the untimely age of 50 by the hands of his personal doctor, Conrad Murray. After Jackson’s death, people began to forget all about the allegations of abuse and focused more on losing a music icon.

That was until 2013, when Robson and Safechuck filed suits against the Jackson estate and his companies. Both of the men’s claims were dismissed in court, stating they had waited too long to file. Although the men did not get what they wanted out of the judicial system, they did get a chance to have their voices heard due to “Leaving Neverland.”

After the documentary aired, many people were outraged about the accusations against the singer because he is no longer here to defend his name.

I truly understand that thought process, but honestly, that is not the point. It does not matter if someone has passed away if what they did during their life still affects others that are living, and that is why it is still being talked about.

People that are living with trauma have the right to speak about their issues even if others do not agree with them.

“Leaving Neverland” was not a documentary about destroying a man’s career; however, it was about how people are so quick to dismiss horrid accusations when it comes to someone they love.

What is so unfortunate is that society’s idea of justice is so centered around incarceration and the prison system.

Yas, Jackson is not here today to be punished for his alleged crimes, but justice is simply not sending someone to jail.

The men in the documentary talk about horrible circumstances that possibly happened in their childhood so they can process it and move on and potentially help other people, and that is also a form of justice to not be silenced by your past.

photo courtesy IMDb