Oprah Winfrey has defended her decision to publicly support James Safechuck and Wade Robson, the two men whose accusations of child molestation by Michael Jackson were at the centre of Leaving Neverland.
Speaking on The Daily Show, Winfrey explained why she considered it so important to host Oprah Winfrey Presents: After Neverland, in which she talked at length to Safechuck and Robson as well as the film’s director Dan Reed.
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“I had a lot of hateration,” Winfrey told host Trevor Noah. “Also, when I first saw that documentary I realised that a lot of people are going to get triggered, and a lot of people aren’t going to understand what the pattern is.
“It’s not about one person, it’s about the pattern. It’s about the seduction. People call it molestation but there is a big seducing that goes on and the pattern of that seducing. And that was important enough for me to take the hateration.”
Asked whether she had ever wavered in her belief that Safechuck and Robson’s accusations were true, Winfrey made reference to the school for girls she established in South Africa.
“You know why I’ve not wavered?” She added. “I’ve had girls at my school who were sexually assaulted and abused. And I have never won a case, and the reason I have never won a case is because when you put a girl on the witness stand and she can’t remember was it Thursday or Wednesday, it’s automatically discredited. When you’re in the midst of trauma, with terrible things happening to you, you may not remember the exact time.”
The two-part film Leaving Neverland divided opinion when it premiered in the UK, with fans taking to the streets of London to protest it being broadcast while radio stations around the world started to ban Jackson’s songs. Controversial adverts have also appeared on London buses in defence of Jackson, and there has also been a surge for his music in the charts since the film aired.
Jackson denied any wrongdoing before he died in 2009.