Leaving Neverland is a controversial new documentary which aims to expose Michael Jackson as a manipulator and child abuser.

The film features accounts from Wade Robson and James Safechuck, two men who allege they were groomed and sexually abused by Jackson from the ages of seven and ten, respectively, with much of the abuse alleged to have happened at Jackson’s Neverland Ranch in California.

But the documentary has been criticised by many for throwing up unsubstantiated claims aimed at attacking the legacy of the singer. 

Here are five things you need to know...


Leaving Neverland first aired on HBO in the US on Sunday and Monday. But in the UK,it will air at 9pm on Channel 4 on Wednesday, March 6 and Thursday, March 7 2019.


Leaving Neverland was made by BAFTA-winning director Dan Reed, who was behind HBO’s Terror documentary series, and the documentary takes its name from Jackson's California estate Neverland, where he lived from 1988 to 2003.

The documentary investigates the allegations of sexual abuse and child molestation made against the singer during and after his career and is told from the viewpoint of two alleged victims, James Safechuck and Wade Robson.

The official Sundance synopsis reads: “As one of the world’s most celebrated icons, Michael Jackson represents many things to many people—a pop star, a humanitarian, a beloved idol.

“When allegations of sexual abuse by Jackson involving young boys surfaced in 1993, many found it hard to believe that the King of Pop could be guilty of such unspeakable acts.”


Wade Robson and James Safechuck filed a civil action lawsuit against the Jackson estate in 2015, claiming both had been sexually abused by the star.

Wade Robson was living in Australia when he met Jackson after winning a dance competition. He claims to have been sexually abused by the singer between the ages of seven and 14.

James Safechuck met Jackson when they filmed a Pepsi advert together, and alleges that the singer sexually abused him from the age of ten.


Both accusers featured in the documentary have previously testified in Jackson’s defence in court, when other allegations were brought against the singer.

Both men testified during his 1993 case and Robson again appeared in court as part of his defence in 2005.

Following Jackson's death in 2009, Robson even wrote a tribute to the singer. He said: "Michael Jackson changed the world and, more personally, my life forever.

"He is the reason I dance, the reason I make music, and one of the main reasons I believe in the pure goodness of humankind.

"He has been a close friend of mine for 20 years. His music, his movement, his personal words of inspiration and encouragement and his unconditional love will live inside of me forever. I will miss him immeasurably, but I know that he is now at peace and enchanting the heavens with a melody and a moonwalk."

Robson says it wasn't until he had a son that he says he confronted his experiences of abuse in 2013. Safechuck did the same a year later.


Last week it was widely reported that Michael Jackson’s estate is suing HBO over the network’s plans to air the documentary.

The estate claimed that by showing Leaving Neverland, HBO is violating a non-disparagement clause from a 1992 contract. According to the suit, when HBO aired Michael Jackson in Concert in Bucharest: The Dangerous Tour, the clause precluded them from disparaging the singer in future works.

In a 53-page complaint, the four-hour, two-part documentary is referred to as “a one-sided marathon of unvetted propaganda to shamelessly exploit an innocent man no longer here to defend himself”.

Jackon’s nephew, Taj Jackson, also criticised the documentary. He took to Twitter to address the issue.

He tweeted to his 121,000 followers: “I’m so tired of these lies about my uncle. MJfam, I see all your comments and messages about wanting to fight back. I doubt the media wants to learn the truth or is even interested in it. Negativity sells. But please post below on what we all can do to expose this documentary.”