Leaving Neverland reportedly left audiences “shellshocked” when it premiered at the Sundance Film Festival in January. HBO’s anticipated two-part documentary is built around interviews with James Safechuck and Wade Robson, two men who allege that they were molested by Michael Jackson at the ages of 10 and seven, respectively. Their allegations, among several others, have existed in cultural consciousness for years, but Dan Reed’s film is said to craft “a portrait of sustained abuse, exploring the complicated feelings that led both men to confront their experiences after both had a young son of his own.”
If that doesn’t already sound like a tough watch, the above trailer follows the two boys’ childhood jaunts around Jackson’s Neverland estate before touching on the darkness of what was happening behind closed doors. As one subject puts it, “He told me if they ever found out what we were doing, he and I would go to jail for the rest of our lives.”
Since its debut, both the Jackson family and the Jackson estate have decried the documentary, accusing it of not having “a shred of proof or single piece of physical evidence.” The latter characterizes it as a “tabloid character assassination,” while the former calls it a “public lynching.” Reed stands by his work, saying he’s “maniacally fussy about factual accuracy.” As we reported earlier today, he’s open to making a sequel centering around Jackson’s other accusers.
Leaving Neverland’s will air in two parts on March 3 and 4 on HBO.