Michael Jackson Documentary – Leaving Neverland – Welcomed By Charities Who Warn ‘Stardom Should Not Blind People’s Judgement’
Sometimes celebrities are not what they seem. I grew up watching Michael Jackson perform on awards shows and in music videos in the early to mid 1980s, and he was quite a talent.
Jackson also seemed modest, shy, clean cut, decent, if not a little eccentric.
I never would have imagined that Michael Jackson would or could be a pedophile.
As it stands now, I’m not quite sure if he’s guilty or not. But I’m at least willing to hear his accusers out and consider the possibility that perhaps Jackson did fondle them.
Life experience, and repeated news reports involving other celebrities and fallen mega-church preachers – tells me that often times adults who molest children or who sexually exploit other adults are predators, and they are masters of manipulating and grooming those around them, as well as the public.
They often follow the same play book. Their fame or apparent likability puts them above suspicion for a long time.
I never would’ve thought that “America’s Dad,” the publicly squeaky clean, affable, clean cut actor Bill Cosby would or could drug and rape women, but he did in fact do so – he is now in jail for that.
I’ve written several blog posts at this stage about how actor Chris O’Dowd is kind of a jerk in his personal life and a let down – he is most definitely not like the kind-hearted, nice guy he played in the “Bridesmaids” movie.
A singer or movie actor can come across as very sweet, loving, or friendly in interviews or in roles they play, but in their private lives, or when granting interviews, they can be very rude, vulgar, or condescending.
What you see in public from them, in music videos or acting roles, may not necessarily be who they are in their private lives.
It’s sad to see the number of raging Michael Jackson fans running around all over the internet, on Twitter, and under You Tube videos, absolutely refusing to consider that perhaps Jackson is guilty of molesting some children.
I have additional commentary below this link and long excerpt:
by Oscar Quine
January 29, 2019
Charities and campaigners have welcomed a new documentary [entitled “Leaving Neverland’] containing claims from two men that they were sexually abused by Michael Jackson from the ages of seven, as an opportunity to challenge the leniency shown towards celebrities in cases of child sex abuse.
Leaving Neverland, which aired at the Sundance Film Festival on Friday amid threats of protests from angry fans of the singer, contains the testimonies of Wade Robson and James Safechuck who claim they were molested by the singer.
Both Mr Robson and Mr Safechuck, who were regularly pictured accompanying Mr Jackson on public outings in the 1990s, claim they were befriended by the star before being sexually abused by him.
….[Robson and Safechuck both claim Jackson befriended both of them when they were children, gave them alcohol, and manipulated them into performing sexs acts on him, or allowing him to perform sex acts on them]
Speaking to The Telegraph yesterday, Yvonne Traynor, CEO of sexual assault charity Rape Crisis, called on the public not to be blinded by the fame of the accused in cases of sexual assault.
“People can think that figures in the public eye are blameless and that they don’t commit crimes. As we’ve seen with Harvey Weinstein and the #MeToo movement, nobody is above committing offences. If you take away the star-quality and you were left with an ordinary person and all this evidence, what would you think?
“Stardom is blinding people’s judgement. We put these people on a pedestal and often do not want to believe anything bad about them so we fail to approach allegations made against them with an open mind.
“When you strip away the stardom, these are just middle aged men taking advantage of children.”
Ms Traynor went on to commend the courage of the two men for speaking out, drawing on the British public’s early response to allegations of improper behaviour leveled at Jimmy Savile.
“This is not an easy step for anyone to take. I hope they [Wade and Robson] have the support they need so they can sustain the backlash, because in these high-profile cases, there will always be a backlash.
“Even with Jimmy Savile, there was the immediate response of ‘hang on, he’s an idol – this can’t have happened’. And then of course people come forward showing that it has.”
She added that in many high-profile cases, the perpetrator’s fame proves instrumental in their ability to carry out the act, saying that parents as well as children are victim to their grooming. …
[The article goes on to explain how pedophiles groom children – by gaining their trust, by giving them presents, etc]
— end excerpts —
I do hope that Jackson is innocent. I certainly hope Jackson did not molest any children, but there are a few things that are red flags to me, that make me lean towards thinking he may be guilty.
I would hate to think that the very entertaining, presumably humble, sweet guy I grew up watching in the “Thriller” and “Billie Jean” videos and on awards shows, could be perverted in his personal life.
The fans always like to point out the flaws and sins of Jackson’s accusers, which doesn’t hold much weight with me.
The same phenomenon occurs anytime a well-known Christian preacher is accused by women or children of having been sexually exploited by that person: the church members never, ever want to believe their pastor could be a sexual predator. It’s too painful to accept.
So, they try to find ways to discredit the accusers, or to make them sound “deserving” of the abuse, to make them sound as though they did something to “ask for it.”
The church members will then start shifting focus on to the accuser, point out that she may have changed her story at times, or taken back parts of her accusation, or, they will accuse her of being out for money.
They may bring up her sexual history, if she has one, in order to discredit her story.
I’ve seen this happen too many times in the context of sex abuse within churches, when preachers or priests rape or molest adult or children members – the rest of the church always wants to side with the abuser and kick the abused to the curb. They always want to believe the accused. They never want to side with the victim.
I see this same thing happen when accusations are made against celebrities.
Here are some of the red flags that stood out for me in regards to the Michael Jackson allegations:
First of all, it looks bad for an adult to sleep with children on a continual basis, especially if they are not family members. This is one practice that Jackson engaged in regularly.
Most adults won’t spend an inordinate amount of time with children, and especially not sharing sleeping quarters, because they know how it will be perceived. A normal adult will not even want to be suspected of pedophilia, so they won’t put themselves into those sorts of positions to start with.
I recall in the news at the time, around the late 1990s or so, after Michael Jackson gave televised interviews, and later, the police raided his “Neverland” compound, it was discovered that Jackson had an alarm system (and other sources said chimes) set up in the hallway outside his bedroom, so that when he was alone with children in his room, and an adult began approaching, he’d be notified.
If one is sharing one’s room with children regularly (which looks very bad to start with), and it’s totally non-sexual and it is NOT inappropriate, there would be NO NEED for any sort of alarm system to notify that other adults are going to enter the room.
That Jackson had alarms to warn him of approaching staff in these rooms he shared with kids tells me he had to have known on some level that it was not normal for an adult to spend time alone with a child in a bedroom.
I used to think at the time that due to his childhood abuse and the early fame that was difficult to take, that perhaps Michael Jackson had the mentality of an eight year old child trapped in the body of an adult.
Perhaps, I thought, Jackson really did view those boys he “buddied around” with as nothing but platonic friends.
However, according to various news reports, Jackson would not only do things like have alarm system in place in his bedroom (or the hallway leading to the bedroom), but when he went off on trips, he would try to keep the boys’ mothers physically separated from him and the boys as much as possible: the boys would stay in one room with Jackson, while Jackson would have the mothers stay in another room, or in another floor of whatever hotel they were staying in.
Jackson also showed favoritism to male children. He would usually snub girls. The girl children who went to Neverland would notice this. Any time Jackson spent time with a boy who had a sister, Jackson would try to get rid of the sister.
One source (which you can debate if you like) quoted a former Jackson staff member as saying that when Jackson sorted through his fan mail, he was interested ONLY in fan letters from white, Asian, or Hispanic children: he would, the source said, usually throw away fan letters from little girls – and by black children of either biological sex.
Some sources say when the boys “aged out” of Jackson’s preferred age limits for boys (which seems to be somewhere around age 7 to age 14), he would begin ignoring them, for the most part.
That is another red flag. If you befriend someone at age seven, and then start giving them the cold shoulder as they grow older (or hit puberty, as some of the boys claimed), that looks very questionable. It makes me wonder what your true motivation was for friending a kid to start with, just to treat them like disposable trash when they get older.
But even those sources aside, I remember seeing many documentaries or televised reports or interviews with Jackson in the 1980s and into the 1990s, and it was clear that the man preferred male children.
Every time I saw Jackson on a playground, or on the Neverland train or Neverland grounds, holding hands with a kid, or hanging out with a kid, it was always a male child.
I never remember seeing Jackson spending as much time with girls. I don’t recall seeing numerous photos of him holding hands with girl children, or just playing games with them.
When the police searched Jackson’s Neverland property, they found a bunch of pornography. (Additional sources for this issue can be found on The Independent, on Huffington Post, and here on Vanity Fair.)
Some books and articles say that Jackson had his staff throw away incriminating items before the police arrived (they were tipped off the police were going to search his home). If that is true, who knows what went into the garbage?
His fans like to argue that all of the pornography found at Jackson’s home was legal, even the magazines or books (such as artistic books) that depicted young male nudity.
My point and concern is, even if the child porn in question was strictly legal, it shows that Jackson had a preference or some kind of sexual attraction for young males, and that is not normal.
One wonders if the police were correct that the “hetero” porn they found on his property was to entice, groom, or titillate the young boys who came to visit him at his home.
Even if Jackson did not molest the boys, I view pornography as being sexist, and I still question the morals of any adult who knowingly and willingly shows porn to children. That is a very grotesque, immoral, and irresponsible thing to do, and very hypocritical, coming from someone who claimed to be very caring and concerned about and towards children.
I really don’t want to believe the accusations against Jackson are true.
However, in this day and age of all the women (and a few men) coming forward under the “Me Too” phenomenon, also consisting of many movie actors who say they were sexually harassed or assaulted by movie directors, other actors, or Harvey Weinstein, and in light of revelations about Bill Cosby, I’m much more open minded now and willing to accept that even once-beloved pop cultural figures may have had a very dark side in private.
More on the Leaving Neverland Documentary
Premiere of Dan Reed’s two-part, four-hour exposé — in which two men allege the King of Pop sexually abused them — is a bombshell
The director of Leaving Neverland, a forthcoming documentary about two men alleging they were sexually abused as children by Michael Jackson, has responded to the Jackson estate’s criticism of the film.
Dan Reed told The Hollywood Reporter in an interview that he’s not surprised by the estate’s reaction. “They have a very precious asset to protect,” he said.
… Reed also said he’s received death threats since the film was announced and believes he’s the target of a coordinated harassment campaign. “Over a week I had about a thousand emails from China and then they stopped about as suddenly as they’d begun, saying vile things to me, making threats,” Reed said. “I know that there’s a level of organization. Some of the email writing is cut and paste because we found a web page that explains to people what to do [to protest].”
by Sam Adams
…To reckon with why it took Robson and Safechuck so long to tell their stories is, in a way, to reckon with why it has taken the culture so long to believe them. The allegations against Jackson have been public record for 26 years, but even before that, it was as if Jackson existed in a bubble where the rules and judgments that would have applied to anyone else simply did not exist.
One moment in Leaving Neverland that particularly haunts me is a news broadcast from 1992, in which Jackson is shown on a hotel rooftop, peering over the edge to give the fans massed in the streets below a tantalizing glimpse of his sunglasses-framed face.
He’s accompanied by a 9-year-old boy, who also sticks his head over the edge, participating in the playful spectacle, soaking up a moment shared by the two of them alone. In the film, it’s presented as evidence, received via a TV news broadcast, that Robson had been replaced as Jackson’s favorite—which even now, it seems, still feels to him like a betrayal.
But I was struck by the way the broadcast referred to the 9-year-old boy as Jackson’s “traveling companion,” as if that required no further explanation and was certainly no cause for alarm.
We were collectively, willfully blind, because the thought of losing, or even tarnishing, Jackson’s monumental contribution to popular culture was too much to bear. As Dave Chappelle put in in a Chappelle’s Show sketch, “He made Thriller. Thriller.”
…But it requires watching both halves of the film to understand, not just intellectually but emotionally, why victims of abuse can take decades to come forward and why their response to that trauma may not take the clichéd forms we expect.
Robson and Safechuck weep when discussing the long-term harm the abuse has done to their families, but neither sheds tears as they describe how Jackson abused them, although Safechuck swallows hard when he approaches the subject, and his hands shake as he picks through a box full of jewelry he says Jackson gave him in return for sexual acts. Safechuck often talks about the abuse in the second or third person, and Robson frequently refers to “sexual stuff” without going into further detail.
Director Dan Reed discusses his new HBO documentary, which profiles two men who say they were repeatedly molested by the pop superstar before puberty.
Interview with the documentary’s director, Reed:
The other thing that sets the Jackson story apart from most of the other stories of men who have faced recent allegations is that he’s dead and cannot speak for himself. How did that factor in?
Michael’s views about this story ― his refutations and his statements ― are included in the film. The views of his lawyers who defended him in the criminal trial [in 2005] and who defended him in the ’93 civil case are prominently featured in the film. So it’s not as if there are no voices defending Michael in the film.
I believe, had Michael still been alive, his lawyers would’ve said similar things — “It’s all about the money.” That’s been their main line of attack, always characterizing the accusers as gold diggers.
I don’t think it’s true to say that he’s dead and he can’t say anything. Well, that’s literally true. But we have gone to some pains legitimately because it should be represented in the film to have Michael denying the ’93 and the 2005 allegations to say, “I love children in an appropriate way.”
Did he believe that he was harming children? I don’t know. Maybe he didn’t. Maybe to him, he wasn’t harming children. And therefore when he makes that statement from Neverland and says, “I would never harm a child,” maybe he believes it.
So I think Michael is in the film, and he speaks for himself, and his lawyers speak for him, and his fans speak for him. We’ve got that, a couple of fans [in archival footage saying], “Wade, I hate you.”
So I do think that, in spite of the fact that he’s dead, we’ve done our very best to include him in everything ― and include him not in a token way but in a way that really pushes back against the allegations we make.
It’s very typical, but most people don’t know that, and some Jackson superfans won’t accept that. Are you mindful of the fact that, because there is limited corroboration, as we see it, in these four hours, people will still refuse to believe and refuse to understand the epidemic behind the ideas that are in the documentary?
Yeah, I think the two big things that people don’t understand about child sexual abuse:
One, they don’t realize that not always but oftentimes the relationship mirrors an adult relationship in terms of [being] a love relationship. The child falls in love with his abuser.
And they form a very close emotional attachment that has many dimensions. The abuser is a mentor; a father figure, as Michael was; a dazzling supernova of talent, as Michael was; and a sexual partner. And the child falls in love with that and all those good things. There are many good things about Michael.
Robson and Safechuck do start by saying that he was one of the kindest and most gentle people they knew and that this began as the happiest experiences of their lives.
Yeah, so I’m not taking a baseball bat to Michael Jackson. I’m telling a story from the point of view of the child.
Now, people do need to understand that these [might have had the character of] romantic relationships, but [were actually] criminal ones, and that what powerfully motivated the child was the desire to continue the relationship and to be loved by Michael.
They felt chosen, they felt anointed. He made them feel very special, and that was an amazing thing.
And that feeling continued for a long, long time, until his death and past it ― even long after the sexual relationships were finished.
And so that love, the deep emotional attachment to Michael, is something that I think the fans don’t understand.
And that motivated Wade to lie in defense of Michael [in the 2005 trial] and to the detriment of a child [Gavin Arvizo] who had the courage to stand up in a court. That’s a big decision to make, but Wade made it.
And in terms of the abuse only being recognized by the victim or divulged by the victim years later, that is so typical.
I spoke to one of the investigators in the 1993 case that the LAPD had begun investigating, a criminal investigation against Jackson, which of course never went to trial. He’s a man who is retired now. He’s been involved in more than 4,000 child sexual abuse investigations.
He said Jackson’s modus operandi was absolutely typical, and the fact that Wade and James only came to terms with what happened to them and understood it in its true context much later in life is also very typical.
And in fact, one of the detectives who came to see the Safechucks at the time in the early ’90s, when they were denying that anything happened and saying Michael’s wonderful, said, “You know what? Your son’s going to come back to you when he’s in his 30s, and he will say, ‘Michael abused me.’”
This post has been edited to add additional links and excerpts.