Safechuck was a child actor who says he met Jackson at age ten while filming a Pepsi commercial.Starting when he was eleven, he says, they engaged in sex acts many times at Jackson’s Neverland compound — in a castle, in an attic, in a pool, in a train station.And professional hacks and flacks share more with superfans than either camp might like to admit.
It’s hard not to walk away from “Leaving Neverland” convinced, once and for all, to put an indefinite hold on playing “P. T.” at parties, to rerank Jackson in the canon and quietly slip him out of the Spotify rotation.
The film sticks in a way no previous allegation had managed to; it becomes a longform attack on his legacy as it does the job it sets out to do, telling the frank and finally open stories of two men touched by trauma.
As was the case with Bill Cosby, the pattern of grotesque allegations has become impossible to ignore.
Wade Robson, 36, and James Safechuck, 40, have previously stated under oath that they weren’t victimized by Jackson when they were children.
As we’ve seen so many times over — with, looking only at cases from this still-young year, the worst charges against R.
Kelly receiving attention from only the most devoted of journalists before their eventual airing on a Lifetime documentary series, or with long-murmured intimations about the alleged sexual crimes of “Bohemian Rhapsody” director Bryan Singer being too explosive for Esquire, whose journalists delved into his story before publishing elsewhere — it’s easy for gatekeepers to decide to allow others to do the work.A great entertainer, yes, but almost certainly a serial abuser of little boys.That his attorneys managed to cast doubt on witnesses in a notorious 2005 criminal trial doesn’t inspire much confidence.Soon enough, in “Leaving Neverland’s” telling, these innocent forays into the entertainment industry had yielded not just a friendship with its greatest star but a sort of life-consuming intimacy, with parents excluded from the tight circle that included only a living legend and the children he kept around him.We follow Robson and Safechuck — telling their respective stories with occasional corroboration from family members, who attest to how their home lives were affected and in some ways destroyed by Jackson’s attentions, and with bits of footage of Jackson, off pop-star duty, engaging with the children and their families — from youthful exploitation to painful, ravaged adulthoods.But others will read “Leaving Neverland” differently, and, indeed, have already done so before they’ve seen it.