Screenshot of "After Neverland" / YouTube

Oprah Says Message of ‘Leaving Neverland’ is Bigger Than Michael Jackson

Oprah Winfrey interviewed two men featured in a documentary who claim Jackson sexually abused them when they were kids.

Almost a decade after the death of Michael Jackson, allegations of sexual abuse still remain.

Jackson settled one case against him, in 1994, where no charges were filed, then was acquitted of a second in 2005. But a new documentary, “Leaving Neverland,” brings his past front and center to face the modern-day #MeToo movement.

In the documentary, Wade Robson and James Safechuck claim Jackson molested them when they were kids. Oprah Winfrey gave the men a platform to further tell their stories; meanwhile, the Jackson estate condemns the allegations calling it a “public lynching.”

But Oprah, a survivor of sexual abuse, said the discussion is greater than the Jackson allegations.

“I know people all over the world are going to be in an uproar and debating whether or not Michael Jackson did these things and whether these two men are lying or not lying,” she said during her interview with the men, called “After Neverland,” which aired Monday night on HBO. It was filmed in front of an audience of over 100 survivors of sexual abuse.

Oprah continued, “But for me, this moment transcends Michael Jackson.”

“It is much bigger than any one person. This is a moment in time that allows us to see this societal corruption. It’s like a scourge on humanity. . . . If it gets you, our audience, to see how it happens, then some good would have come of it.”

Robson alleges the sexual abuse began age 7 and Safechuck, 10, when they were in Jackson’s inner circle. They claim the singer performed sex acts with and in front of them in various locations in his home, the Neverland complex. Safechuck even said Jackson “married” him in a mock wedding ceremony.

“Don’t let anybody in your world make it about what Michael Jackson did or [did] not do,” Oprah said. “It’s about this thing, this insidious pattern that’s happening in our culture that we refuse to look at.”

She added, “I hope we can get past Michael Jackson, the icon. Stop staring into the sun and do what is necessary to heal our children and heal ourselves.”

The Jackson family, in a statement, referred to the documentary as “a public lynching”:

“Michael always turned the other cheek, and we have always turned the other cheek when people have gone after members of our family – that is the Jackson way. But, we can’t just stand by while this public lynching goes on … Michael is not here to defend himself, otherwise these allegations would not have been made.”

Jermaine Jackson criticized Oprah and the media in a tweet posted on Monday:

Dan Reed, the film’s director, said that he doesn’t doubt Robson and Safechuck’s validity. But Jackson super-fans are coming out against the film and Oprah.

Director Ava DuVernay even received flack for sharing an article on Jackson.

“Leaving Neverland” comes out during a time when there’s a reckoning for celebrities who’ve been accused multiple times of sexual abuse, such as R. Kelly.

Dream Hampton’s recent Lifetime series, “Surviving R. Kelly,” first aired in January. Kelly was charged in February with 10 counts of aggravated criminal sexual abuse involving four women, three of whom were minors at the time.​

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  1. Lavette Wright

    I agree that the conversation had to be had. I honestly believe she meant no malice to Michael. I do question the fact that she’s not interviewing her other prominent friend’s victims. Those accusations are recent.

  2. Donna Howlett

    I think the difficulty in this current conversation is being able to get past this being about a “cultural icon”. But if people could take the name “Michael Jackson”, and apply it to Uncle Joe, Brother Joe, Sister Sue…whatever, there may be a way to start the conversation. I believe it’s a conversation worth having. Unfortunately the world we live in always wants to put the responsibility for “change” on people we have no control over like actors, musicians, athletes, etc., but these are conversations we need to have in our own families and in our own worlds. How do we help our children survive if we can’t even have the conversation. It’s time to bring it to your living room, and not through the television screen. Just my thought….

  3. Dawn Kelley

    I don’t know if Michael Jackson is guilty of abuse, but people need to stop being part of the problem. If you don’t know what happened, you really have no say in it. Men who are in power or in a position where they are idolized are the very men that get away with this. They hide behind their name and believe that they will never be found out. How many times do we hear, She’s in it for the money: Why did she wait so long to say something: He is an honorable man, I know he wouldn’t do this; Just look at the way she was dressed, she was asking for it. People need to realize that the sexual abuse of woman children and men happens every day. Stop bulling the people who could be victims, and start finding ways to help. #METOO


    i refuse to watch this documentary.
    it is an insult and offensive to the family and a deceased person.
    While i recognize people grapple with issue associated with abuse at different level and at different point in their life, i’m often perplexed why they need the need to grapple with issue in the public eye—— showcase it…which lead one to believe the real motivation is money or other futuristic incentives…money always follow an idea even where at face no initial monetary compensation

    here a man, a black was found not guilty and his name image, greatness and character is being trashed in death, and even under circumstance where a jury of his peers found him not guilty.

    Respectfully, it always seems to happen with men of color.. they raise to the up and then are kicked in the knee by the public…shame…. the benign racism!!!

    To the JACKSON family my love my respect my admiration for you Michal Mom Dad and the whole family..Dont let nonsense sour your spirit. YOUR BROTHER AND DAD ARE ARE AT PEACE AND AWAY FROM THIS NONSENSE!

    i hope Ms Jackson is not watching this nonsense or Michael’s children

    • Dawn Kelley

      Many people do not report sexual abuse (you can read my comment above if interested) Federal statistical series obtaining data on arrested or convicted persons ¾ Uniform Crime Reports, National Judicial Reporting Program, and National Corrections Reporting Program ¾ show a remarkable similarity in the characteristics of those categorized as rapists: 99 in 100 are male, 6 in 10 are white, and the average age is the early thirties.
      Sex Offenses and Offenders An Analysis of Data on Rape and Sexual Assault By Lawrence A. Greenfeld – Bureau of Justice Statistics U.S. Department of Justice Bureau of Justice Statistics February 1997, NCJ-163392.
      The Bureau of Justice Statistics (BJS) reports that the majority of rapes and sexual assaults perpetrated against women and girls in the United States between 1992 and 2000 were not reported to the police. Only 36 percent of rapes, 34 percent of attempted rapes, and 26 percent of sexual assaults were reported. Rennison, C.M. Rape and Sexual Assault: Reporting to Police and Medical Attention, 1992–2000. Washington, DC: U.S. Department of Justice, Bureau of Justice Statistics, August 2002, NCJ 194530.

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