Michael Jackson Film Leaving Neverland To Air On Channel 4 This March

The controversial documentary Leaving Neverland now has a release date in the UK.

The feature length film, which contains allegations of sexual misconduct on minors against the late pop star Michael Jackson, will be shown on Channel 4 at 9pm on Wednesday 6 and Thursday 7 March.

In a year that has already seen documentary films shock the world through Surviving R Kelly and the various Fyre Festival films, this promises to be the most controversial yet.

Leaving Neverland premiered at Sundance Film festival in the USA last month and was considered so shocking that trained professionals were hired in case the flick was too much for anyone in the audience.

Directed and produced by Emmy nominated British filmmaker Dan Reed, the film tells the story of Wade Robson and James 'Jimmy' Safechuck, who were ten and seven years old when they first met the singer.

HBO's synopsis of the film reads: "The two-part documentary Leaving Neverland explores the separate but parallel experiences of two young boys, James 'Jimmy' Safechuck, at age ten, and Wade Robson, at age seven, both of whom were befriended by Michael Jackson.

Jackson, pictured a few before his death in 2009. Credit: PA
Jackson, pictured a few before his death in 2009. Credit: PA

"They and their families were invited into his wondrous world, entranced by the singer's fairy-tale existence as his career reached its peak.

"Through gut-wrenching interviews with Safechuck, now 37, and Robson, now 41, as well as their mothers, wives and siblings, Leaving Neverland crafts a portrait of sustained abuse, exploring the complicated feelings that led both men to confront their experiences after both had a young son of their own."

Jackson was accused of sexually abusing then 13 year old Jordy Chandler in 1993 but settled the case out of court. In 2005 he was again accused of sexual abuse, this time against 13 year old Gavin Arviso.

He was found not guilty.

Jackson's mugshot after his arrest in 2003. Credit: PA
Jackson's mugshot after his arrest in 2003. Credit: PA

Now, in Leaving Neverland, Robson and Safechuck say that the singer also abused them as young boys in the 1990s.

Michael Jackson's estate reject the claims made in the film categorically. In fact, Jackson's nephew Taj has started raising funds for a counter-documentary.

The Jackson estate issued a statement about the documentary that reads: "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."

Michael Jackson. Credit: PA
Michael Jackson. Credit: PA

However, in response, Reed said: "I don't seek to characterise him at all. I don't comment on Jackson. It's not a film about Michael. ... The film itself is an account of sexual abuse, how sexual abuse happens and then how the consequences play out later in life."

Decide for yourself on March 6 and 7.

Featured Image Credit: PA

Tom Wood

Tom Wood is a freelance journalist and LADbible contributor. He graduated from University of London with a BA in Philosophy before studying for a Masters in Journalism at the University of Salford. He has previously written for the M.E.N Group as well as working for several top professional sports clubs. Contact him on [email protected]up.com

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