Michael Jackson is one of the icons when it comes to the music and entertainment industry. However, the King of Pop was not just good with his songs and dance moves. ‘Leaving Neverland’, the documentary by Dan Reed, explores exactly that. It critically examines the charges of sexual abuse against Jackson and tells a disturbing tale from the perspective of the survivors. It was one of the biggest and most controversial documentaries to have come out of the Sundance Film Festival in 2019.
Leaving Neverland Cast: Who is in it?
While there has been no word yet about the people appearing in Season 2, we know that Season 1 recounts the horrific reality that James Safechuck and Wade Robson were put through, in Jackson’s Neverland ranch. We are also shown snippets of interviews with the parents of these survivors. Perhaps, the second season might see more survivors come forward with their own account of the incident. Notably, in Season 1, Safechuck and Robson mention three other boys who Jackson befriended. This includes Jordan Chandler, Brett Barnes, and Macaulay Culkin, who is famous for his role in the ‘Home Alone’ movies. Season 2 might focus on the account of a child celebrity like Culkin, who has however defended the relationship on a podcast titled Inside of You with Michael Rosenbaum, calling it normal and even mundane. The actor went on to define Jackson as sweet and hilarious but as the accounts of Safechuck and Robson have shown, the survivors of sexual abuse will often end up defending the abusers.
Leaving Neverland Plot: What is it about?
Presumably, the plot of Season 2 would follow a similar pattern as that of Season 1. This is primarily because of the raw power that Season 1’s plot exudes. Not only does it highlight the sexual abuse Safechuck and Robson faced at the hand of Jackson. as children, but also interviews the survivors’ family including wives, siblings, and parents. This gives them a more detailed understanding of the degree and effects of the abuse. Something the documentary focuses on specifically is the gifts Jackson exchanged in return for sexual favors. This mostly included jewelry, and the documentary shows Safechuck tremblingly show off the ring Jackson bought for him. Reed is critical in helming the project as we are also made aware of instances where Jackson tried to buy the silence of the kids and their families. He tried to convince the kids that they would both go to jail for the rest of their lives if word of their activities got out.
However, what has been the most striking aspect of Season 1 has been the focus on the aftermath of the years of abuse. Both men seem to remember Jackson fondly, which is not uncommon among survivors of sexual abuse. Robson claims to have cried more when Jackson passed away in 2009 than he did during his father’s funeral. Safechuck too recalled mourning at the loss of the opportunity to mend the relationship between him and Jackson. The poignant portrayal of the lasting impact of sexual abuse is something we hope Season 2 manages to capture as well since it leaves an indelible impact. Slate commented on the documentary saying, “It’s difficult to imagine anyone watching Leaving Neverland and coming away skeptical of Robson and Safechuck”.
Some of the most disturbing allegations that surfaced about Jackson in ‘Leaving Neverland’ Season 1 has been how Jackson brainwashed the 10-year-old Safechuck and 7-year-old Robson and made them feel that he had chosen them. The children looked up to him as a superhero. The children felt that Neverland was a magical experience which included playing tag, watching movies, and eating junk food, everything a child could possibly want. However, underneath the apparent demeanor of a loving guardian figure, lurked a much murkier reality, since Jackson allegedly introduced the children to masturbation and pornography. This quickly escalated to fondling, kissing, oral sex and an attempt by the pop icon to have penetrative sex with the children. Jackson allegedly also made the children run drills about getting dressed as quickly and noiselessly as possible, which would ensure that they would never be caught in any compromising act by prying eyes. However, the survivors claim that there was never much fear of that in Neverland anyway since it was designed for privacy. For example, the hallway to Jackson’s bedroom had several doors with locks and bells which would warn him if anyone was approaching. Jackson has also been accused of deviously trying to poison the children against their families while wooing the families at the same time to let him spend time with the children.
If this was not horrific enough, Jackson allegedly tried to convince them that they were meant to be together but soon replaced them with other boys like Culkin. Jackson also fell back on the alleged survivors of his sexual abuse when he was accused of the same by Chandler’s father in 1993. The Robsons defended him on television while Safechuck alleges that Jackson’s lawyers coached him to lie in the deposition. With so many murky facts about the singer having surfaced in Season 1 itself, we cannot wait and see what Season 2 has in store.
Leaving Neverland Season 2 Release Date: When will it premiere?
‘Leaving Neverland’ Season 1 was broken up into two parts of 2 hours each that aired on March 3 and March 4 on HBO. We do not have any news yet of when Season 2 will air. However, considering that Jackson’s family has severely criticized the documentary calling it ‘tabloid character assassination’ and has sued HBO in what could potentially be a $100 million lawsuit, there might not be a Season 2 to ‘Leaving Neverland’. If it does get renewed, we will update this section.
Leaving Neverland Trailer
Check out the trailer for ‘Leaving Neverland’ Season 1 below.
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