Leaving Neverland: The shocking story that needs to be heard

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Truthfully, I didn’t know much about the sexual abuse allegations against Michael Jackson until recently. So when I saw that there would be a documentary on it, I was looking forward to watch it.

Leaving Neverland tells the story of Wade Robson and James Safechuck, two men who claim that the pop star sexually abused them as young boys. They tell their harrowing side of the story in the 3-hour documentary, which is a tough but important watch.

The graphic and extremely disturbing descriptions of what Jackson did to them is shocking, and the trauma shown on the faces of the victims and their families is powerful. It shows how much Jackson ruined their lives, and how he scarred them for life.

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While the content of the documentary is shocking enough, what is even more surprising is the outraged backlash it received. Channel 4, who broadcasted the documentary in the UK, came under intense scrutiny and faced protest outside their London HQ.

Many people have heavily condemned Dan Reed’s documentary, among them diehard fans and relatives of the late singer, who passed away in 2009. The criticism is understandable after all, how could a film accusing one of the most influential figures of the music industry of child abuse go unchallenged? But the problem comes from those who are directing their abuse towards the victims and their families.

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There are people slamming Robson and Safechuck for ‘trying to ruin Jackson’s image’ and ‘trying to take more money off a dead man’. But what can you expect them to do? The two men were traumatised, scarred and held back for years, their lives completely ruined by a disgusting, exploitative man. They were forced by Jackson to lie for years, and are only capable of speaking the truth now after decades of silence.

Whether you are a fan of Michael Jackson or not, you need to watch this documentary. You need to know the truth, and understand the effect the singer had on these two boys. Just from watching the facial expressions and emotions of those involved, you can see the pain and hardship they went through.

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I’m not condemning those friends and family who are saying Michael Jackson is innocent I’m condemning those hurling abuse and hate at the victims and their loved ones. They can continue to argue that ‘the documentary is biased because Michael Jackson can’t defend himself’, but what is there to defend? He should’ve been charged, he should’ve been prosecuted and he should’ve gone to prison for a long time.

It is a shame to know about Jackson’s sexual abuse. I liked his music and was sad when he died 10 years ago, but now I can’t bear to listen to his music, let alone respect him. Whether you like it or not he was a paedophile, and he almost certainly sexually abused young boys.

Though it’s a harrowing truth to hear it’s one that should be known to everyone. It’s painful to watch, but it opens your eyes to the side of Michael Jackson that no one wants to believe; but one that we need to know.

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Click here to watch the documentary on the Channel 4 website (UK only)

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