HBO just premiered the first part of the controversial and infamous documentary Leaving Neverland, and apparently it was not an easy two-hour watch.
The documentary, which the Michael Jackson estate sued HBO over, features interviews with Wade Robson, James “Jimmy” Safechuck, and their families as they document their entire relationships with Michael Jackson when the two boys were children, starting with how they met and going into graphic detail about how the alleged sexual abuse occurred.
When the four hour documentary premiered at Sundance Film Festival, healthcare professionals were made available in the lobby of the theater to help any audience members upset by the content of the film, and that makes perfect sense given what we’ve seen in the first half of it. It’s a tough watch and a complicated, controversial, and upsetting topic, and the allegations that have been denounced by the Jackson estate.
“This is yet another lurid production in an outrageous and pathetic attempt to exploit and cash in on Michael Jackson,” the estate said in a statement to E! News around the time of the premiere. “Wade Robson and James Safechuck have both testified under oath that Michael never did anything inappropriate toward them. Safechuck and Robson, the latter a self-proclaimed ‘master of deception’, filed lawsuits against Michael’s Estate, asking for millions of dollars. Both lawsuits were dismissed.”
The first part of the documentary does not address those testimonies (it ends right before the first allegations were made in 1993), but it does explore how the boys met Jackson and how their relationships played out. Whether you watched it or whether you’d understandably rather not, here are the basics of what the Robsons and the Safechucks said during part one.