'Horrendous': Aussies disturbed by Jackson documentary
AUSTRALIAN viewers have reacted with shock and disgust at the disturbing allegations made in a documentary about Michael Jackson.
Channel 10 aired part one of the controversial HBO documentary Leaving Neverland on Friday night. The four-hour documentary focuses heavily on interviews with James Safechuck and Australian born Wade Robson, who met Jackson when they were young children, and allege they endured years of sexual abuse at the hands of the pop star.
Leaving Neverland also makes a number of allegations surrounding Jackson's Neverland ranch, claiming Jackson set up bells and trip wires around his bedroom to avoid detection while the assaults took place.
Mr Safechuck also alleged Jackson trained him to quickly get dressed in hotel rooms in case they were caught mid way through the abuse.
He said Jackson showered him with gifts and flew him and his family all over the world in a lengthy exercise in grooming, and described their sexual relationship as "best friends" expressing "love".
"He would run drills with me where we would be in the hotel room and he would pretend like someone was coming in and you had to get dressed as fast as possible without any noise," Safechuck said.
"So not getting caught was a big fundamental. It was very much a secret and he would tell me if anyone found out his life would be over and my life would be over, and that's something he told me over and over again."
Robson's claims against Jackson were similar.
The Jackson family have strongly refuted claims Jackson abused children, and the estate is now suing HBO for "posthumous character assassination" for a sum of US $100 million.
As the documentary progresses, Safechuck explains his strange burgeoning relationship with Jackson, who would come to his house in the suburbs to watch movies and chat with him into the night.
What does he have hours to talk to a kid about? Someone 20 years younger than him? #LeavingNeverland— Rebecca Pollard (@bex_s2) March 8, 2019
Aussie viewers were quick to express their feelings as the documentary unfolded. Throughout the documentary.
Some found the detailed descriptions of the abuse deeply upsetting, calling Leaving Neverland frightening and sad. As the graphic accounts of sexual abuse continued, one person tweeted, "Just wow".
A lot of viewers had questions about the motivations of the parents, saying no matter the circumstances, leaving children that young in a bedroom with a grown up was an unusual choice.
Doesn’t matter how big the ‘star’ is, don’t think I would’ve let my 7-year-old stay with a grown human who the family didn’t know.— Melissa Hoyer (@melissahoyer) March 8, 2019
Or is that just me? 🤷🏼♀️🤔 #leavingneverland
Mate if I were a parent I wouldn’t let my 7 year old out of my sight for 15 minutes!! These dick heads let their kids sleep with Michael Jackson ??— teoman (@teodotnet) March 8, 2019
The real child abuse is committed by the parents.. who’s holding them accountable?? #LeavingNeverland
Watching this documentary and thinking how on earth did parents drop their kids off at MJ's house and just leave them there, it's just not making sense to me... #LeavingNeverland— HappyMama (@HappyMama1M2L) March 8, 2019
Leaving Neverland has drawn masses of criticism online from ardent Jackson fans, who say the accusers are motivated by greed.
They've also pointed out that both Safechuck and Robson came to the aid of Jackson when another boy, Jordan Chandler, accused him of abuse in 1993. Safechuck said he was heavily coached by Jackson's legal team and gave a denial of abuse that felt "robotic".
They felt the documentary was one sided, and the interviewees were untrustworthy.
I swore I wouldn’t watch this, yet here I am. I’m not believing their stories, too many holes and no substantial evidence. How are they not more affected by this ‘alleged’ abuse? A little too convenient now that he’s not here to defend himself yet again. #leavingneverland— G (@GlennMillanta) March 8, 2019
And others just stand by the artist. Or a cardboard cutout of his likeness.
If you or someone you know needs support, see Reach Out for a list of organisations that can help.
The second instalment of Leaving Neverland airs on Saturday night on Channel 10 at 9.30pm.
I’m watching Leaving Neverland now. I can see where it’s going. The long term grooming. So they should get a decent payout. Fancy waking up to this reality. No wonder Jackson was so drugged up. Knew the truth would come out?— Petra Campbell (@PetraAu) March 8, 2019