Leaving Neverland - Michael Jackson abuse doc


Well my experience is with the UK and Hong Kong legal systems (my dad was a judge for many years) so a) I’m biased and b) I have seen more examples where it works than where it doesn’t. I still think the idea of a “fair trial” and “innocent until proven guilty” is the best bad solution we’ve come up with to date. It beats burning at the stake, drowning, covering with bees and trial by documentary. Just IMO of course.

Anyway, I’m currently being attacked online by animal rights fanatics about my crocodile management perspectives, so I’m bowing out of this.


I’m not sure how the UK system compares, but I wouldn’t be at all surprised if it’s less broken than the US system. 'cause a lot of things about the UK are less broken than the US. (Then again, brexit.)


The first trailer’s out. Judging by the like to dislike ratio, his fans aren’t happy this is still being talked about.


Holy shit, watched the first two hours and don’t think I ever want to see or hear MJ again.


I thought all the abuse allegations were debunked years ago. Weren’t his accusers parents previously arrested for fraud or something?
I mean Jackson was a weird guy, no question but as an armchair observer I don’t think he’s guilty of what they’re accusing him of. Jacksons biggest problem were all the vultures that profited off him and ultimately ended up killing him. This documentary seems to be a continuation of that except he’s not around to defend himself (not that he ever did a particularly good job of that either)


Have you seen it yet? The documentary is a fairly devastating portrait of a serial child abuser.


I’ve not seen it yet but I’ll check it out. Let’s just say I’ll be watching with a seriously skeptical eye. I have several problems right from the start:

  1. Money as a motive
    Jackson was one of the most famous people in the world and seriously rich. He was also famously reclusive and outside of performing shunned any kind of publicity. I think it’s easy to see him being defrauded in some fashion.
    This documentary only compounds that argument since the alleged victims will probably make bank off the media furor.
  2. Jackson was weird
    Weird people make for easy targets. It reminds me of an incident that happened in the UK. A woman was murdered and her landlord was arrested and vilified in the press because “he looks and acts weird”. He was subsequently cleared and the real murderer found but not before his life was in tatters. It’s not a crime to be weird.
    See https://www.independent.co.uk/news/media/press/christopher-jefferies-was-vilified-for-a-murder-he-didnt-commit-now-hes-a-privacy-crusader-9217643.html
  3. No conviction and no proof
    Didn’t this already go through a legal process and Jackson was cleared?
    Exposing criminals through investigative reporting is extremely important. Gossip and accusations without proof are extremely damaging. This documentary appears to be muck-raking (unless you know otherwise? - I’ve not yet seen it).

EDIT: Removed the more political stuff, best saved for different thread :)


One of the issues is the paying off of victims. Like Weinstein paying money, these accusations reek of guilty not not guilty.


I remember that happening in the 90s. The thing is, that’s not any admission of guilt. Jackson was a recluse and probably the most famous man on the planet. By all accounts he wanted to avoid the media bomb that would occur. If I were rich, a recluse and falsely accused of a crime I might consider a small pay off to avoid any hassle too. Money was like water to him in the 90s.
I’m not saying he isn’t guilty - I’m just saying that’s no proof that he is.


Yes, the parents of all four accusers have histories of fraud and other financial malfeasance. This could be a sign that they’re making shit up to get money…or it could be that that’s the sort of parent who would willingly hand their kids over to Jackson, and the sort of kid he would target as a serial abuser specifically because of the character of their parents and their lack of credibility.

I don’t claim to know which it is.


I don’t have a problem believing that the accusations are true; it wouldn’t be the first time, and it unfortunately won’t be the last time that something like this has happened. And I don’t have a problem with someone making a documentary on the subject as such, even if I’m slightly skeptical of the premise, given the inability of the subject to defend himself; still, freedom of speech, and all that…

I do have a problem with the media (such as the radio here in Norway) deciding to “boycott” his music for a period of time which is essentially treating MJ as if he is guilty. That’s really not OK, IMO, no matter how convincing the documentary may be.


Anyone else actually see the documentary yet?


I watched part 1 last night. Pretty harrowing stuff.

Even if you think there was no sexual abuse, the “let your 9-year-old sleep in my bed for weeks and go on tour” stuff is messed up. I can’t think of a scenario in which I would trust a virtual stranger to take my kid to his bedroom without my presence, even if he has a childlike demeanor or amusement park rides.


The two things that stood out the most to me after watching part 1:

  1. If you put aside that anything sexual happened, it still is extremely messed up. He became best friends with these young boys (I had kids here at first, but it was always young boys) and then just left them for the next one up. That would have to do a number on you when you are that young, especially when your home life probably wasn’t the most stable place.
  2. Safechuck lamenting the loss of his first love. He could just be a great actor and putting on for attention/money/whatever, but he still seems to me to be confused how he feels about the whole situation.


That’s my take as well. I haven’t put the effort to scrutinize the credibility details of the sexual abuse claims, but just the undisputed/admitted FACTS are far, far worse than I had thought previously (all the kids sleeping for weeks in his bed, the targeted recruitment, the security-system alerts surrounding MJs bedroom, fingerprints of the children on MJ’s porn collection).

I don’t think I could sit through the entire documentary though, as it’s so unpleasant.


Are any of these facts new, though? I don’t remember all of the details of the case where he was acquitted, but I do remember thinking at the time that whether or not Jackson was innocent of the charges against him (as he was found), there was no question from the facts of that case that the man lived in a weird reality-bubble and had acted in ways that left him wide-open and vulnerable to sexual abuse accusations. I’m pretty sure that the stuff you mentioned was brought up back then.


You’re probably right (I don’t know) - it’s just that the documentary and the surrounding coverage have made people like me aware of them while previously I hadn’t heard those explicit details in the coverage of the lawsuits, and the snippets of the documentary I viewed made me feel that the kid witnesses were very credible and not just coached fraudsters.


The second part was devastating. I liked that it followed these alleged victims into adulthood and showed how their trauma just kept coming back into their lives and screwing up their maturity in different ways.

Also, the cost to the rest of their family members once the truth came out was terrible.


I’m about 90 minutes into the first half of this and it’s a really tough watch. Even being no stranger to documentaries on dark and upsetting topics I knew this would be hard, but I feel this weighing down on me and taking a toll in a way I really didn’t expect. I think the closest analog is how I felt watching Shoah… I feel drained and crushed, and knowing I’m not even through the first half, it’s difficult to go on. It feels dirtying; like I’ve actually been coated in filth watching this.

And I think it’s made worse by the calm and matter-of-fact tone of the subjects. There’s no yelling, or sobbing (yet), which give their stories such an enormous weight and sadness.