Photo Credit: Sundance Institute

We knew a month ago that HBO was planning to release their Leaving Neverland documentary about the alleged sexual abuse between Michael Jackson and two young boys, 10-year-old James “Jimmy” Safechuck and seven-year-old Wade Robson. It came on the heels of Surviving R Kelly which almost immediately spelled the instant end of his career. Whatever didn’t get him in 2008 definitely seems to get R Kelly now in 2019. In this case, Michael Jackson might be deceased, but his estate has gone full force after HBO. In fact, they’re seeking what could exceed $100 million in damages.
For starters, the Jackson estate wrote HBO’s CEO saying that this will be their “greatest shame” and that they know it won’t be successful. Even on the night the first episode aired, the Jackson estate aired an exclusive concert of Jackson during the same time of the documentary and is planning to do it again for the next episode tonight at 8pm.

And now for the allegations revealed last night. Robson and Jacmes both appeared on stage at concerts with Jackson from time to time and even in commercials as children but claim that behind the scenes, Jackson assaulted them continuously. The irony comes with Robson testifying in 2005 that Jackson never touched him but chose to reverse his position. Safechuck also claimed it never occured before in the past, a major point in the $100 million lawsuit the estate has against HBO. They also state that they feel they were effectively replaced with Macauley Culkin and Brett Barnes for assault purposes, something both of the latter have denied.

Jackson auditioned boys, Safechuck stated. A camera crew was sent to his house after appearing on a Pepsi commercial alongside Jackson and Robson. “Now that I look back on it, it’s almost like an audition for him,” Safechuck said. “He sends his film crew out.” And he never explained why he did it, either, according to the family. And yet, they say they never asked. Safechuck’s mother thought nothing of it saying “For him to want to be our friend was like, ‘Oh my god, how lucky are we?'” she said. And it all went on for 7 years starting at age 7. They met him when they were 5 years old.

The abuse was able to go on because of the atmosphere of it all being a fairytale. “This was all so overwhelming and like a fairy tale and I got lost in it,” Stephanie Safechuck said. “I know my husband got lost in it, too.” And this is actually understandable considering how Hollywood is a different world and finding yourself a part of it is in fact otherworldly. Things we value as normal isn’t for them which is why telling these stories to the public can be difficult.

One of the key factors in an abusive relationship is that the abuser will try to separate their victims from their family and friends which is what the alleged happened. The psychological manipulation was a major part in it all. “First day at Neverland was Michael making physical contact with me, like his hand on my thigh. Hugs, you know. It felt great,” Robson said. “And out of all the kids in the world, he chose me to be his friend. … within the context of what was going on, it seemed normal.” The touching continued with Jackson beginnnig to fondle his penis and considering what all had been going on up until that point, “It just didn’t seem that strange.”

He disparaged his family members to him and basically told him he was the only person he could trust. “He had done so much talking to me about not trusting people, any people,” Robson said. “Especially women.” His parents’ crumbling marriage was also being exploited. “At the time you just hear your mom yelling at your dad and Michael feeds into that,” he said. “You start to think that your parents are bad and Michael is good.” Then there is the obsessive communication they had. “He called every day for two years,” Robson said. His mother even claimed they’d talk on the phone for hours after school everyday. Jackson would tell him both boys and their parents how lonely he was.

Both Robson and Safechuck said Jackson liked nipple fondling and said he sometimes had them bend over and hold their ankles with their butts exposed while he played with himself. “I was just kind of on display,” Robson recalled. Safechuck said he taught him about masturbation in a French hotel. Robson says he was later introduced to porn with Jackson. “I remember that feeling in my stomach being really heavy, like a nervousness,” he said. “I just didn’t know how to deal with it.” Safechuck said Jackson would hold jewelry he gave him hostage in return for sexual acts.

Robson’s mother Joy says Jackson asked him to keep her son and she ademately said “no.” “Michael said to me, will you leave ‘Little One’ [his nickname for Robson] with me for a year, Joy,” she recalls. “After it was all over, he looked at me and said, ‘I always get what I want,'” Joy said. “I said, ‘Not this time. I will share Wade with you, but I am not going to leave him with you.'”

Today on the Wendy Williams Show, this topic was discussed and Wendy, with this being her first day back from an extended break was quite exuberant and specifically about this topic. She said she doesn’t believe a single thing said on this documentary. She defended him saying he was deprived of a childhood and essentially that the rest was blown out of proportion. In fact, this is the most energized we’ve ever seen her about a topic on her show. If you missed the first part, you can catch up on part 2 of Leaving Neverland will be on tonight at 8pm on HBO.