Leaving Neverland

Discussion in 'Documentaries' started by Richard Channing, Mar 3, 2019.

  1. Ome

    Ome Admin

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    Michael Jackson said this
    Another boy said that

    Based on what we've seen we're never going to know which one is telling the truth. I get where you're coming from and I respect that, however, I see it completely opposite and unless someone can dismiss either of our opinions we're just going to have to go with what we believe to have happened.

    But this is where I can not understand where you are coming from. I just can't believe there is anything that can justify a man in his 30s sharing a bed with various boys aged 7-10

    I don't know enough about Culkin to know if he's credible or not, hasn't he served prison time for drug use? Is he not messed up himself?

    I believe his accusers were lying. I'm not saying all accusers tell the truth, I'm saying that some do and some don't.

    The case with these two guys coming forward after all these years sounds more credible to me. Part of MJ's grooming was telling the boys that they would go to jail if anyone found out. He also showered them with love and attention, he won them over, they never thought it was wrong what was happening to them.

    That said, I can't comment much on Cliff's case because I only know that he was accused and then found innocent. There's more info on the MJ case so it's easier to form an opinion.
     
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  2. pete lashmar

    pete lashmar Soap Chat Fan

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    Unfortunately we now live in a world where everyone can claim whatever they want and you are guilty until proven innocent.

    The #metoo movement has created more problems than it's solved.

    It's a very sad state of affairs really - going way back to 9/11 where people claimed they were there and claimed compensation, now it's moved onto sexual abuse and such like.

    Jussie Smollet faking an attack so he could get a payrise, but not any attack, oh no, a black homophobic attack by 2 white men who tried to lynch him after an acid attack. But it seems they were black, they were his friends and he set it all up.

    Jackson was always an easy target as soon as the Chandlers were paid off - it opened it up for anyone to accuse him - they knew him, they knew what his home looked like and they knew what his bedroom looked like. It's just such a great shame he couldn't accept this and stop the sleepovers. I'm sure he'd still be alive and at the top of the charts if he did.

    But people want something for nothing these days, that's why the "Celebrity culture" has become so massive. People don't want to work anymore they want to be a celebrity blogger,vlogger and such like.
     
    Last edited: Mar 13, 2019
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  3. Angela Channing

    Angela Channing World Cup of Soaps Moderator

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    Like I said in a previous post, I think Michael Jackson had a personality disorder, one which cause him to have delayed emotional intelligence. I have no proof of this but it's consistent with his behaviour as an adult and with someone who had a traumatic childhood. So whereas he saw it as being like a child playing with other children, others see it as something more sinister. I'm not trying to justify his behaviour, I'm just trying to explain why I think it could all have been totally innocent.

    Yes, he's had his own problems in the past but now comes across as a balanced, intelligent, down to earth guy who remains friendly with the Jackson family. He and Michael Jackson remained close friends to the end which I can't imagine would have been the case if he had witnessed any abuse or had been abused by Michael Jackson himself. I find what he has to say about Michael Jackson to be totally credible and what's more important, so did the jury when he testified for the defence during Michael Jackson's trial.

    I just used Cliff Richard as an example because his treatment has been totally different to Michael Jackson even though they were both found not to be guilty of accusations of abusing young boys.

    In a previous post it was suggested that because there were several accusations against Michael Jackson, it is difficult to imagine they are all lying. However, you have no problem accepting that the various people accusing Sir Cliff of abuse all lied. I have no problem with that point of view but the Cliff Richard case demonstrates that just because several people make false accusations against the same individual it doesn't follow that they are all telling the truth.
     
  4. TJames03

    TJames03 Soap Chat TV Fanatic

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    And I think you are underreacting......
     
  5. Willie Oleson

    Willie Oleson SoapLand Battles Moderator

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    Then how about family nude beaches?
     
  6. TJames03

    TJames03 Soap Chat TV Fanatic

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    I think the police should raid them and arrest the parents on morals charges. That is absolutley disgusting and, as far as I am concerned, perverted behavior.....
     
  7. Willie Oleson

    Willie Oleson SoapLand Battles Moderator

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    If you think nudity equals perversion then maybe you should talk to someone.
    Or go back to the 17th century LOL
     
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  8. TJames03

    TJames03 Soap Chat TV Fanatic

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    When there are underage kids around and different genders, yes, it is freaky.

    Back to MJ, even (ahem) "sleeping" in the same bed with a boy is cause for severe concern.
     
  9. Ome

    Ome Admin

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    I don't know much about Cliff's case other than he had accusers and they were dismissed. With MJ it's happened many times over different decades. Had there been just that one court case I might have been more sceptical. Too many things are in play with MJ that makes me believe he is guilty.
     
  10. Alexis

    Alexis Soap Chat Warrior

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    Also even after he was accused and then settled out of court for reportedly between 5 and 20 million dollars he continued to have children stay at his house. In his bed, for decades! I mean... Why? Why would anyone do that. Even if cleared of all charges he was still aware a great deal of people still suspected him. Why would he feel that need to have more boys stay at his home. To have them spend the night with him?
    There just is no reason for it other than the obvious.
     
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  11. Ome

    Ome Admin

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    I think there's an element of 'getting away with it' as well as a dose of 'I always get what I want' mixed into all this.


    Patterns follow when it comes to breaking the law.

    You start to shoplift some sweets - if you get away with it, you continue and some go on to shoplifting more expensive items and it breeds on that.


    He believed in his own hype, that he was unstoppable, he had the boys eating out of his hand. Once he got them to deny anything happened, he knew that this would go in his favour if anyone else was to start throwing allegations about him.

    Right up to his death he pressured his doctor 'I always get what I want' to give him the drugs when other doctors refused.
     
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  12. Willie Oleson

    Willie Oleson SoapLand Battles Moderator

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    This could also be interpreted as MJ being totally convinced of his innocence.

    For every "this" there's a "that". No-one is going to win this.
     
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  13. Alexis

    Alexis Soap Chat Warrior

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    Yea... ok... right.

    Actually no. Just no.
     
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  14. Ome

    Ome Admin

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    Are you suggesting that while all this went on, not one person told him it was wrong to sleep with little boys? I say boys because it wasn't just one, he went looking for more and more.


    Plus, if someone accused me of this or any crime, the last thing I would do is pay them to be quiet!
     
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  15. Ome

    Ome Admin

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    It's not about winning really, is it, or scoring points. It's about what people think is right or wrong or even misunderstood.
     
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  16. Alexis

    Alexis Soap Chat Warrior

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    Yes... Nothing will ever convince me that Jacko wasn't a paedophile. Every thing in me crys out that he is. It's an instinct. Others will feel that way, others will not.
     
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  17. Karin Schill

    Karin Schill Super Moderator Staff Member

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    Okay so I have finally watched the documentary "Leaving Neverland" and also the Oprah follow up interview. First of all the documentary in itself is excellent in it's simplicity. By mixing archive footage with pseudomonologue where the boys and their moms, siblings and grandmother tell us about their memories, feelings and thoughts about Michael Jackson and this period of time in their lives the documentary has a subjective point of view where we are supposed to identify or at least sympathsize with the alleged victims and their families.

    This is Wade Robson and James Safechuck's story. It's about how this famous man came into their lives and deceived their parents. He made them believe he was their friend and he made the families feel special. They were seduced by the power of the celebrity.

    The narrative of the story is told mostly chronologically with the different years showing up in the frame to let the viewer know when these things happened. Then throw in lots of beautiful drone shots of the families houses in Los Angeles and Neverland Ranch as well as Heavenhurst and Australia to give the viewer a sense of location of where these things occurred. Add a little sad piano music to give it some more feeling.

    The film maker is invisible in all this. There is no voice over that explains things to us or help bind the different stories together. There are no audible questions asked on camera. It creates a sense of objectivity and that what we are watching is reality. The only voice overs used are from the interviews with the families and from old recordings of Michael talking to the boys. It could be from their answering machines. They also use old faxes written in Michael's handwriting to show us how special his relationship was with these young boys.

    So technically I don't think this documentary was that difficult to film. It relies heavily on the talking heads portions where the interviews with the families tells the story and drive the narrative forward.

    It is done in a way that is meant to appeal to the audience. We are brought into Wade' and James' world. The home movies and photos at the beginning are there to show us how the two families lived happy lives and how much James mother loved her only child. Also Wades' mother is portrayed as someone who loved her children. By showing their old super 8 films and photos we feel like we get to know them. It is an excellent beginning to a story that becomes more and more extraordinary the further along the story goes.

    I think for a lot of men who are about the same age as Wade and James what happened to them at the beginning, how they were gaining access to Michael Jackson was a dream come true. Even though it can be argued that having that kind of experience as a child might not be the most healthy thing in itself even if there had been no sexual abuse involved.

    Anyway the documentary grows darker as it deals with more and more tough topics. At the center are the boys relationships with Michael Jackson that in some ways mirror each other and in some ways are different. Both boys fall in love with Michael who claims to love them and convinces them of that the sexual stuff they are doing is just a part of manifesting that love physically. As any adolescent who enters into their first sexual relationship the boys become more cut off from their parents and turn more to their lover instead. They share a level of intimacy and in James Safechuck's case, it is so intense that he feels like he is married to Michael. It is a romantic relationship for him. The problem is that it is wrong since Michael is a man who is about 20 years older than the boy he claims to love. If Michael had been 40 and James had been 20 their relationship would have been more equal and more accepted. But since we are talking about a 10 year old boy and a 30 year old man it is illegal and wrong. In Wades' case the age difference between him and Michael is even bigger and he is even younger when the sexual abuse starts. It is confusing for these young boys since on some level they like all the attention that Michael is giving to them and probably also some of the sexual stuff that he has taught them. They are too young to be subjected to this and just like Michael himself claimed to have had no childhood he is now effectively robbing his victims of their childhood. They are taught to lie for him to protect him. They are full of shame and guilt and are messed up. All because of this man.

    In the case of the Robson's it seems to me like what hurt their family the most was the fact that Michael manipulated Wade's mom into moving to the USA, which split their family in two and lead to the couple's divorce and later on to their father's death. You can tell that especially Wade's older sister and brother are deeply hurt by this loss of their father or mother. The scene where Chantel (I think that was her name) tells us how her dad begged her not to go and how she asked him not to force her to make that choice is deeply painful for her. I imagine knowing that her father would later commit suicide after his whole family abandoned him makes this even harder for her.

    It is established that their father suffered from bipolar disorder. It is hinted at that it was brought on by the stress of losing his family. The mother is taking the blame for the move. In retrospect she said that she lost her mind when she moved her family to the USA to focus on Wade's career. But it is very clear that in retrospect the Robson's are also blaming Michael for ruining their happy home and tearing their family apart.

    The documentary also shows Wade's inability to express sorrow over his father's death. But he reportedly cried over MJ's death. In fact the whole Robson family grieved for Michael and was at his funeral. James is also sad that MJ died but remains more distsant, whereas James' mother is happy he is gone since he could no longer hurt anymore children the way he hurt her son. Apparently James came out and told her that MJ was an evil man and told his parents not to testify on MJ's behalf during the Gavin trial.

    Wade on the other hand kept living the lie and testified on Michael's bahalf even when he was in his 20's. Considering where he was at the time it makes sense for him to shut up about the abuse, since he didn't want to ruin his career. He wasn't prepared to being confronted with it then. Later he express some remorse about it for Gavin's sake.

    The story cleveryly uses archive footage to show us a new twist on what we already knew. MJ went to trial for child molestation and was found not guilty. Wade and his family helped MJ get off. James family did the first time and was rewarded with a better house, but not the second time after he'd admitted the truth to his mother. This is cleverly put together since the viewer is already familiar with the trials and accusations but not with the burden of the secret that Wade and James was carrying around at this time and how it affected their decisions to testify or not in relation to this event.

    The documentary shows how their adult lives have been affected by being victims of sexual abuse as children. It is lucky for Wade and James that they have found strong women who stand by them and married them and gave them the opportunity to heal by becoming father's themselves.

    Watching the Oprah interview afterwards it appears that Wade is more angry while James is more sad and heartbroken about the whole thing now. It is established that Wade has gotten further along in his healing process than James who still feels like he's let Michael down.

    So now as for the million dollar question, having watched all this, do I believe their story or not?


    Before I watched this I thought MJ was innocent. This was a conclusion that I draw from having read three biography books about the man. One was built on extensive research about MJ from a journalist that interviewed MJ and his family on several occasions. One was written by his brother and one was written by Michael himself.

    Why I believed Michael over the two boys that accused him in the past was because Gavin's mother had used his cancer prior to the trial to get money from strangers. So therefore it was credible that her motif was of financial gain. That she was after money from Michael.

    Also after MJ's death it was reported that the first boy who accused him Jordan Chandler had come out in the press and reported that his parents put him up to the accusasions. Nothing happened. It was all a ploy on his parents side to get money and his father ended up committing suicide after Michael's death since he regretted destroying the man.

    Add to that Lisa Marie Presley who has gone on record saying in interviews that her marriage to Michael was real and that they had sex. I believe that is true since Lisa Marie Presley has no reason to lie about something like that. She is famous in her own right, about equally wealthy as Michael and she probably understands him better than anyone being the child of a celebrity with no normal childhood of her own. So even though their marriage seems weird I do believe it was an actual love match. The timing of course was to MJ's advantage.

    Michael Jackson went to trial for child molestation and was found not guilty. The FBI tried to put him behind bars but failed. They investigated him for years and yet they never found any evidence when looking through his home.

    The ex-maids who have testified were most likely among the five housekeepers who were fired by Michael after being caught stealing. They are selling their stories to the press and are not credible.

    Other boys like Macaulay Culkin, who were also friends with Michael has gone on record saying that nothing happened.

    Michael was not just friends with little boys who were childstars, but also with other celebrities like Elizabeth Taylor, another childstar, who was old enough to be his mother. It wasn't just little boys. There were other celebrities too. Elizabeth Taylor stood by Michael and claimed that he was innocent. He was not a child molester. As a fan of Elizabeth Taylor I naturally value her opinion.

    So add all of this together and yes my conclusion was that I believed Michael Jackson when he said he was innocent.

    However having watched the documentary Leaving Neverland, there is too much raw emotions in it for me to ignore it. There is no question in my mind that the men in the movie and their families have been deeply hurt by Michael Jackson. So I now have to accept the fact that Michael Jackson most likely molested these men and God only knows how many other young boys. :cry:

    I believe them. I especially find James Safechuck credible since he has not lived a life in the spotlight the same way that Wade Robson has and he also refrained from testifying at the final trial and told his mother what MJ did prior to MJ's death. He broke contact with his abuser prior to MJ's death too. Whereas Wade remained friendly with him since it benefitted his career I guess. In Wade's case there's no doubt in my mind that he has been hurt and in those childhood photos there were pain in his eyes, but was it caused by MJ abusing him or by his parents split up and father's death?

    When you combine the two stories they do get more weight together. There was a pattern and since Wade's mom left Wade alone at Neverland with Michael for five days when he was 7 years old there certainly was opportunity for MJ to abuse the boy.

    A part of me doesn't want to believe them but I do. Michael Jackson was a complex man and there was definitely more to him than met the eye. He was unique I can't think of anybody else like him. So maybe it's not so strange that he didn't fit the psychologist's critera of a pedophile when he was being psych evaluated before the trial. They came to the conclusion that if MJ was a pedophile he was the first of his kind. I guess it makes sense if you put it within the context of who Michael Jackson was and how he was no ordinary man.

    Finally Oprah tries her best to shift the focus from Michael Jackson to the crime of child molestation in itself. She does a good job but it doesn't change the fact that on some level this is still about Michael Jackson. Because if MJ wasn't the accuser this documentary would not have had the audience it have. Maybe it never would have been made at all.

    Maybe that would have been better for some people. I can't help but feel like the director used these two vulnerable men to tell this story. Some people might claim that he empowered them by giving them a platform to tell their story. But I think the lines between that and of exploiting someone's personal childhood trauma because there was a famous person involved are becoming blurred.

    I am still doubtful if this documentary will actually help Wade Robson and James Safechuck to heal or not. Because like it or not they do get hate messages and death threats from the most dedicated MJ fans and that can only hurt them.

    Wade Robson's father also committed suicide after having battled mental illness for ages. The documentary blames MJ for it and also all of Wade's problems at work. However there is also a possibility that Wade could have inherited his father's proneness to developing this mental illness and there is a risk that the attention this documentary will bring with it could push him over the edge. In fact maybe he already has this illness but nobody talks about it since the family rather blame MJ for their problems than their late father.

    Then there are still MJ's children. If their father in deed was a child molestor it raises the question, did he ever molest his own children?
    I am sure they are being bullied at school about it regardless of if there's any truth to that assumption or not. So I feel sorry for them that they have to put up with all of this negative publicity about their father. He was someone who they loved and they lost him at a young age. So they are already vulnerable even before this and yet no consideration at all has been taken to their feelings or well being by anyone involved in this production.

    The documentary also raises the question about how many other children that were being molested by MJ. Was it true that James Safechuck was his first sexual experience like he told the boy?

    I think probably not.

    I do think it's possible that MJ was in fact bisexual and that he only chose to molest some children. It is not certain that all men he befriended were his lovers. Some might simply have been his friends. But who falls into which category is impossible for us to tell unless more victims come forward.

    Finally this documentary does raises the question why Michael Jackson would do something like this?

    Since the man is dead and can not defend himself we will never know. But I think it's probable that he was subjected to sex at an early age. In fact I read in one of the MJ books that when the Jackson 5 were on tour together his brothers would get it on with some of their female fans in the bed next to Michael's when he was supposed to sleep at night. I think there is most likely a destructive pattern established somewhere in Michael's childhood that lead him to abuse his fame and money like this and do to other little boys what might have been done to him. But of course that can never be proven.

    Still good luck to Michael's nephew, who is planning to make a documentary of his own to show the world how his uncle was not the man portrayed in this film. I am sure it will be an interesting watch as well. Although with MJ long gone it will be hard for them to prove that he was not the man this film made him out to be.
     
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  18. James from London

    James from London Soap Chat Mega Star

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    The question that I was left with, and there really isn't a conclusive answer, and I'm not just talking about Michael Jackson specifically, although not every (alleged) child molester will have the exact same mindset, is how self-aware he was. Does he start out thinking, "I am a sexual predator attracted to young boys and this is how I will systematically manipulate them into doing what I want?" or does he experience an equivalent kind of denial to the kind described by the two men and their families in the film? I get that there are paedophile rings where men collude with each other to get who and what they want, but that doesn't seem to be the case here. Jackson was far more isolated than that. So if he was never confronted about his urges or actions by a responsible adult and if he never, ever spoke about them to another human being, did that allow him to believe they were something other than what they were -- a "love that dare not speak its name" rather than the terrible, terrible crime that it was?

    As the documentary and the after show illustrated, child abuse (0r child seduction as Oprah Winfrey called it) is a very, very complex thing. The people interviewed admitted they are still trying to get their heads around the reality of what happened to them years and years after the event. If it's that hard for the victims (let alone the rest of us) to understand, why should the abuser necessarily have a more sophisticated understanding of their own desires? Obviously, the grooming and manipulation and seduction involved suggests a level of calculated premeditation. Yet I'm not sure I buy the "evil mastermind" image that conjures up. Are the people who have these urges also born with their own mental handbook 'How to Seduce a Child'?

    It's that tabloid "black or white" (excuse the pun) view of things: child rapists are evil monsters, their victims are little angels. Yet the 'cycle of abuse' syndrome means that a lot of kids who are abused then become abusers. So when does that little angel suddenly turn into the evil monster? By all accounts, Jackson grew up in an abusive, violent home, and maybe suffered an equivalently skewed idea of what normal is to the one his own eventual victims did. Not that that in any way excuses his actions. I don't know what my point is really, just that those are the thoughts I was left with after watching the film.
     
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  19. Ome

    Ome Admin

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    As much as I believe MJ did what he did to those boys, I do not think there was any mastermind going on and I don't think it started off as premeditated. I think it was something that gradually happened to him.

    It's not like he touched them, to begin with. It looks like he lured them in and maybe that's what he did after the first encounter.

    I also think in the mind of Michael he thought it was love. But then that starts to change somewhere along the way because he did coach the boys by saying they must never tell anyone - the first sign that he knows it's wrong to do it.

    I also don't think that if there was a child sex ring going on that MJ would be part of that. This all happened in his world of Neverland. His little secret, falling into the 'I always get what I want' mantra.



    :lol:
     
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  20. Willie Oleson

    Willie Oleson SoapLand Battles Moderator

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    Like, becoming the King Of Pop (part 1), build Neverland (part 2), lure the kids in like the witch from Hansel & Gretel: mission accomplished!

    No, I also don't think that's what happened.
     

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