The second part of the documentary will air tomorrow
Leaving Neverland has left viewers divided as the first part of the four-hour documentary received its UK premiere.
The two-part film explores the allegations of sexual abuse made against Michael Jackson by Wade Robson and James Safechuck, who both say the pop star abused them as children. Jackson’s estate have denied the claims, while a civil suit was thrown out by a judge in 2012 after it was ruled the estate could not be held liable for Jackson’s behaviour.
Following its US premiere last weekend (March 3 and 4), the first half of Leaving Neverland was broadcast on Channel 4 earlier tonight (March 6). Viewers have taken to social media to share their thoughts on the documentary, revealing a split in opinions on the contents of the film.
Many commented on the graphic retelling of the allegations, calling it “so uncomfortable and sickening to watch.”
“#LeavingNeverland is really distressing to watch,” wrote one Twitter user. “Oh, I’m gonna be sick. This is horrible,” added another.
Others came to Jackson’s defence, accusing Robson and Safechuck of lying. “It’s difficult not to have doubts about #MichaelJackson’s accusations, but watching #LeavingNeverland I’m finding it hard to believe these two guys!” wrote one. “It just seems like another scam…”
Someone else wrote: “Fake news, they clearly have been coached. Get a lie detector on them.”
Viewers also criticised the parents involved, calling them “negligent” for allowing their children to share a bed with Jackson and questioning their demeanour in the documentary. “Why is the Safechuck mother smiling and giggling whilst recalling the events of her son getting abused?” asked one. “This documentary is a hot unreliable mess.”
Another added: “Can’t understand why the mother is laughing and smiling whilst reminiscing about a man who has allegedly abused her child. Doesn’t add up.”
Other viewers pointed out not all sexual abuse victims act in the same way and suggested that the parents were “groomed”, as well as the children.
Earlier today, fans of Jackson marched from Westminster to Channel 4’s HQ to protest the decision to broadcast the documentary. The demonstration came after the broadcaster refused to pull Leaving Neverland from its schedule, despite messages from fans and Jackson’s estate.