PARK CITY, Utah ― The premiere of a searing four-hour documentary about Michael Jackson’s history of alleged sexual abuse cast a somber shadow at the Sundance Film Festival on Friday.
“Leaving Neverland,” which will air on HBO later this year, left audience members shellshocked. Unlike the recent Lifetime series on the serial sexual misconduct allegations lodged against singer R. Kelly, which dives into Kelly’s career and art, “Neverland” does little to examine Jackson’s legacy. Instead, the film focuses almost entirely on the harrowing accounts of two accusers, Wade Robson and James Safechuck, who both say Jackson abused them when they were children.
The only footage of Jackson’s music videos and live concerts included in the documentary are directly related to Robson and Safechuck’s recounting of their time with the internationally famous pop star, who died in 2009.
The festival’s director, John Cooper, introduced the mammoth documentary with a trigger warning, and told attendees that mental health professionals would be available to speak to them in the lobby.
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