Seven Disturbing Takeaways From "Leaving Neverland"

 

**CONTENT WARNING**

HBO's four-hour documentary “Leaving Neverland” had a lot of disturbing allegations against Michael Jackson, made by Wade Robson and James Safechuck.

The two men say they were sexually abused by MJ when they were boys.

Here are some of the most shocking allegations in “Leaving Neverland:”

1) Jackson groomed families as well as his alleged victims. Both Joy Robson, Wade's mother, and Stephanie Safechuck, James' mom, say Jackson for a time felt like another son to them. He visited both families' homes and hosted them at homes he owned, including Neverland Ranch. The documentary implies that Jackson’s childlike persona and the overwhelming nature of his fame helped convince the families that Wade and James would be safe in his company.

2) Neverland had multiple places for Jackson to take his victims. Jackson's Santa Barbara County property had several spaces where he took Safechuck for sexual encounters, from a room adjacent to the main house's home theater to a bedroom above the theme park's train stations. The hallway leading to Jackson’s bedroom had a series of bells that sounded if someone was approaching.

3) Jackson sowed an "us-against-them" mentality in the boys. Wade and James discuss at length how Jackson told them not trust other people and that no one would understand their "love." He allegedly told the boys that they would go to jail along with Jackson if anyone found out what they were doing. 

4) Jackson's favored sexual tactics. Both men describe a gradual escalation from touching to more involved acts. They allege that Jackson preferred to have them kneel on hands and knees at one corner of his bed while he masturbated from the opposite corner while looking at them. Both allege he had them perform oral sex on him and did the same to them; as they got older, he showed them graphic pornography.

5) Jackson and Safechuck got "married." Safechuck recounts how Jackson used the boy's love of jewelry against him, including buying him a wedding ring to cement their commitment to one another. Jimmy then shows the camera the ring and other pieces he says Jackson gave him as rewards for sex. They would go to jewelry stores on the pretense of buying something for a woman, Safechuck alleges, using his smaller hand as a guide for size.

6) Jackson counted on both for support in court cases. As boys and as adults, both said in legal proceedings that Jackson had never violated them. When Jackson was accused of abusing boys in 1993 and 2003, he repeatedly called both and pressed them to testify on his behalf. His lawyers subpoenaed Robson in the 2004-05 trial, where Robson again said Jackson had never acted inappropriately with him. He tells director Dan Reed he wasn't ready, emotionally or psychologically, to speak the truth at that time.

7) It took years for Robson and Safechuck to understand they were abused. As Robson put it, for years he believed that. "I loved him and he loved me, and sex was something that happened between us." Safechuck told his mother of the abuse in the days following the 2003 accusations against Jackson, when the singer was pressuring the family to speak on his behalf. Robson took longer to face up to the truth. Robson sued Jackson's estate in 2013, but the case was dismissed after a judge found he hadn't filed it within the statute of limitations.

Source: HBO, Hollywood Reporter

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