The final installment of “Leaving Neverland” aired Monday night and the documentary about child abuse allegations against the late Michael Jackson was just as disturbing as the first part that premiered Sunday on HBO. Everyone from Ava DuVernay to Wendy Williams has reacted. In addition, Oprah Winfrey was scheduled to conduct an interview with the accusers, Wade Robson and James Safechuck, Tuesday night.
Twitter had mixed reactions that ranged from outrage that the documentary even aired to starting the social media hashtag #MJInnocent to people glad survivors are being heard.
According to Rolling Stone, the film’s synopsis is described as “At the height of his stardom, Michael Jackson began long-running relationships with two boys, aged 7 and 10, and their families. Now in their 30s, they tell the story of how they were sexually abused by Jackson, and how they came to terms with it years later.”
Jackson’s estate told TMZ back in January, “This is yet another lurid production in an outrageous and pathetic attempt to exploit and cash in on Michael Jackson. The so-called documentary is just another rehash of dated and discredited allegations. It’s baffling why any credible filmmaker would involve himself with this project.”
In 1993, Jackson was accused of molesting a 13-year-old boy. In January of 1994, he reportedly settled for $23 million. The accuser’s father committed suicide in 2009, five months after Jackson passed away. Jordan Chandler reportedly has never come forward about the allegations and supposedly lives outside of the country. In 2017, when Robson, a choreographer, accused Jackson of sexual assault—even though he’d said in the past the singer didn’t assault him—there was a hunt to find Chandler. According to The Daily Mail, he left the U.S. to avoid investigators.
In 2003, Jackson was charged with seven counts of child molestation and two counts of administering an intoxicating agent to a 13-year-old boy. He was ultimately acquitted of all charges.
Many people have been saying the documentary is untrue, including Brett Barnes, who said he knew Jackson when he was child. According to TMZ, the film “implies Jackson molested him as a boy. As for why Barnes thinks this … Wade Robson — one of Jackson’s well-known alleged victims — claims in the doc, Barnes ‘replaced him.’ The film then shows Michael and Brett together on tour. Thus, the insinuation.”
Barnes has threatened HBO with a lawsuit “claiming the documentary puts him in a false light and subjects him to ‘hatred, contempt and ridicule.’ Presumably, the lawyer is saying MJ supporters will target Barnes as a result of the documentary.”
Barnes testified at Jackson’s criminal trial in 2005 and said he was never assaulted by Jackson. He also tweeted this in January.
See the celebrity reactions below:
1. Ava DuVernay
Michael Jackson super fans are really going hard in my comments for simply sharing an article by a cultural critic who shared his opinion on the doc. This is one of the kindler, gentler comments. I mean, Annie, are you okay? ‘Cause this is a lot. 🥺 https://t.co/GWQIIPiyKa— Ava DuVernay (@ava) March 4, 2019
2. Bill Maher
Just watched Neverland doc - riveting, as has been so much on HBO with Richard Plepler at the helm, now resigned. I don't usually speak publicly about the inner workings of the/my biz, but just have to say...best boss I'll ever have.— Bill Maher (@billmaher) March 4, 2019
3. Wendy Williams
4. Rose McGowan
The survivors are brave. .@Oprah is brave. The documentarians are brave. This is what brave is folks, standing against the grain, going against the norm, rocking the boat because sometimes it needs to be rocked. It is hard to hear truth, but that’s what growing pains are. #Brave https://t.co/luV8wiImAp— Rose McGowan (@rosemcgowan) March 3, 2019
5. Stephanie Mills
My sweet Michael Jackson was a kind compassionate loving person never said an unkind thing about anyone. Leave him alone! This documentary is about nothing but money. The man is dead let him rest. I love Michael. Ms. Winfrey why, why, would you continue to defame Mr. Jackson name pic.twitter.com/vypKe73xbz— Stephanie Mills (@PrettyMill1) March 4, 2019
6. Oprah Winfrey
7. Bishop Talbert Swan
Wade Robson admitted in #MichaelJackson’s trial that he’d never been molested by Michael.— Bishop Talbert Swan (@TalbertSwan) March 4, 2019
He changed his mind and sued his estate in 2013, 4 yrs after Jackson died. He lost.
Now we’re #LeavingNeverland with a one sided story because MJ can’t defend himself from the grave.
8. Daris McCrary
There's a whole lot of lying going on ... But in the words of @MichaelJackson ... "Lies run sprints truth runs marathons" ... Flying like the Eagles ... we'll find out who is gonna make it in the long run ... See u @ the top or from the top... #liar ... xoxoxo #MichaelJackson🕯🙏🏾 pic.twitter.com/ogmOd3Kf4U— Darius Mccrary (@DariusMccrary) March 4, 2019
9. Rosie O’Donnell
michael jackson docu is on now on HBO - haunting ...— ROSIE (@Rosie) March 4, 2019
10. Taj Jackson
You are right. I’ve been around my uncle only thousands and thousands of hours. And since my uncle is not here to defend himself, the credibility of the accusers matter. And Wade and James have none. https://t.co/fF0OgYXUBz— Taj Jackson (@tajjackson3) March 4, 2019