In this article we will address Dan Reed‘s 2019 documentary Leaving Neverland that features Wade Robson and James Safechuck and their sexual abuse allegations against the late Michael Jackson.
Problem: “Leaving Neverland” is blatantly and deliberately one-sided
Leaving Neverland is a blatantly one-sided representation of Wade Robson and James Safechuck’s allegations against Michael Jackson, and based on interviews with director Dan Reed he did not even attempt to make it balanced. Exculpatory information that could make viewer to arrive at a different, but definitely more balanced conclusion, is left out.
Reed defends his one-sided approach by stating that the film is not about Jackson, but about these two accusers and their families. The reality is, however, that these two men would not have been given a four hours documentary on HBO, Channel 4 and numerous other channels globally, if the accused was not Michael Jackson. The hype around this film would not be anywhere near this level if the accused was not Michael Jackson. The film also has the potential to cause immeasurable and irreversible harm to Jackson’s legacy and reputation and pain to his family, including his three orphaned children. Anyone who cares about ethical and fair journalism and documentary film making, can tell that under these circumstances and with these serious allegations with potentially very serious consequences, it is just not right to not represent both sides of the debate.
The blatant disregard for a fair and balanced representation of the case did not end with Reed. Jackson’s Estate reached out to HBO and Channel 4 in letters (the two channels which commissioned the film), detailing credibility issues with these accusers which came out during their litigation in court. There was no attempt at fairness and balance by either channel. They refused to even meet with the Estate’s representatives to discuss the matter and none of them offered the Estate or the Jackson family an opportunity to tell their side of the story.
In actuality, the documentary took both Jackson’s Estate and his family by surprise. There are just about one and a half months between its surprise announcement and last minute addition to the program of the Sundance film festival and its airing on HBO and Channel 4 in the first week of March and it was very quickly distributed to other channels all around the world as well. When Michael Jackson’s nephew, Taj Jackson requested that the family could watch it before it airs, he was declined. On the other hand, influencers, social media “blue ticks” and the press were given special early screenings all around the world.
It seemed the short notice and very aggressive media blitz was planned this way deliberately, so that the Estate and the family would not have time to put together a response in the form of a rebuttal documentary or other similar means.
This raises some serious ethical questions regarding this film and the concentrated media campaign surrounding it.
In a Vanity Fair interview Reed cynically said about criticism of his one-sided approach: “What is the other side of the story? That Michael Jackson was a great entertainer and a great guy?” 
No, that is not the other side of the story. The other side of the story is, that Jackson’s Estate has been in a long time litigation with these two men and during that litigation information about them came out that, if represented in the film, would have put these allegations into a different perspective for the audience.
Now let us address some main points made either in the film or the surrounding media campaign.
Claim 1: Wade Robson and James Safechuck did not have the opportunity to harmonize their stories. Despite of that their stories are so parallel. It proves they are telling the truth
Several reviewers cited these two men’s “parallel stories” as the main factor that convinced them of the truthfulness of their accounts. For example, during an interview with Dan Reed for the Huffington Post, Matthew Jacobs remarked: “I say this not to question either of their individual experiences, but one of the most impactful things in the documentary is the way their stories align. They both experience the same progression of sexual acts, in similar contexts and circumstances, even though they didn’t know each other until now.” 
Dan Reed himself feeds into this notion to bolster the credibility of his subjects: “For legal reasons, Wade and James were kept apart, long before you even approached them about making the movie. That’s fascinating”, the Rolling Stone asked him in an interview. Reed’s answer: „Yeah. So they couldn’t exchange stories. Sundance was the first time [as adults] that they’d met. It’s the first time they’ve had any significant time together.” 
Except, it is a lie.
Wade Robson’s own 2016 deposition refutes it [10; page 164]:
In an interview with Vanity Fair Robson and Safechuck admitted that they had met during the course of their litigation, but they play it down and continue to act like the similarities in their stories somehow prove their credibility. Robson: “That’s been one of the craziest experiences for me. James and I haven’t been able to be together or talk to each other, and while I had an expectation, at least with the sexual details, that they would probably be relatively similar, in seeing the film, [I was surprised] to the degree that they were. Beyond the sexual abuse and activity, [I was also surprised] by our symptoms, the details of our lives, us becoming fathers. It’s been mind-blowing to learn each other’s stories.” 
The fact is, early 2014, when Robson and Safechuck admittedly met together with their lawyers to discuss their cases, was precisely during the time when Safechuck put together his own lawsuit before filing it.
Moreover, Robson and Safechuck are represented by the same law firm. We learn from Safechuck’s own declaration that what prompted him to make allegations in the first place was watching Robson on television in May 2013 talk about his claims [11; paragraph 26].
In or around September 2013 Safechuck sought out Robson’s lawyers, Henry Gradstein & Maryann Marzano and they worked together for eight months to put together his complaint before they filed it in May 2014 [12; paragraph 2]. When Robson then switched lawyers in 2016 and went to the more media-savvy Manly, Stewart & Finaldi law firm, Safechuck soon followed suit.
In many ways Safechuck is copying Robson’s lawsuit. The similarities aren’t just in the sexual acts described, which could be explained with abuser pattern, but also in certain events that cannot be explained by that. They allege that neither of them supposedly knew or understood that what they claim happened to them was wrong and sexual abuse, until shortly before the filing of their complaints.
“I never knew that what he did to me was sexual abuse. I continued into adulthood not understanding that what he did and what we did together was wrong” [11; paragraph 4], Safechuck claims in his declaration under oath.
A petition by Safechuck while explaining why Safechuck was unable to make these allegations until he did in 2014: “As set forth in the Petition, Jackson manipulated Safechuck into believing from a young age that no one would understand their relationship. Just as in Doe v. Bakersfield [a precedent case], it was only once Safechuck was able to realize with the help of a therapist that his symptoms and his breakdown arose from child sexual abuse and the relationship surrounding it, that he was finally able to begin to recognize that he was a victim of childhood sexual abuse. The still-recent recognition that he was a victim of Jackson’s sexual abuse also explains why Safechuck was psychologically unable to bring his claim until he did. It was only after he began a regular course of therapy that Safechuck was finally capable of facing what happened and beginning the long process of healing.” [13; page 12]
And: “Safechuck was unaware of the illicit, non-consensual nature of these acts and the harm which they caused him until he sought therapy as an adult.” [13; page 15]
In a court petition by Robson we read: “[Robson] lacked any understanding that his long-term childhood relationship with [Jackson] included ongoing sexual abuse over a seven-year period – the acts giving rise to this claim – prior to May 8, 2012.” [14; page 1]
They both talk about what triggered the realization of their alleged abuse.
Safechuck: “I got married and had a son. I continued to live in denial and secrecy. After my son was born in late 2010, my fear of exposure became worse as I realized that now other people were a part of my life and I was dragging them into it. I began to see how innocent children really are and to worry that I would have pedophilic urges.“ [11; paragraph 23]
Compare this to Robson’s realization process that he talked about in his 2013 declaration.
“I would look at my son and imagine him experiencing the sexual acts I did with [Jackson] – which I did not yet equate with being sexually abused – and, for the first time in my life, I wondered if I needed to talk to someone about what [Jackson] and I “did together”. I knew that I truly had no idea how I felt about it. I still thought that once I spoke to someone about it, I would be fine”. [15; paragraph 25]
So here we have not one, but two adult men who, until shortly before the filing of their lawsuits just did not know and understand that the graphic sexual acts described in this film were wrong and sexual abuse. Additionally they had both a very similar trigger, involving their sons, that finally made them realize that it was wrong and it was abuse. And they are both represented by the same lawyers.
Also consider that Robson’s lawsuit was public record when Safechuck constructed his own. Additionally, details of previous allegations against Jackson are also publicly available and they were both able to use those as common sources.
It is simply disingenuous to claim that they could not harmonize their stories and it is a blatant lie that they had never met as adults before Sundance.
Claim 1b: Their stories are so parallel!
Despite of Safechuck copying certain superficial aspects of Robson’s lawsuit, when you read their complaints in-depth, Robson and Safechuck’s stories are not actually that parallel as the film suggests. For example, they describe two very different kind of abusers.
In Robson’s case there is no grooming period at all before Jackson allegedly starts molesting him and his alleged abuser is described as very reckless, who would abuse him on each and every occasion whenever they were alone, even with other people (including Robson’s mother) being in the next room, able to walk in on them any time.
The abuser Safechuck describes, on the other hand, is the exact opposite of this. He is an extremely cautious one, who starts molesting him only after more than a year of grooming and who goes extreme lengths to avoid detection.
There are other differences as well, like that Safechuck (taking a cue from the 2005 Arvizo allegations?) alleges that Jackson made him drink wine. Robson, on the other hand, expressed surprise about Jackson even drinking alcohol when he talked about the last time they have spent time together in 2008. At the time Robson was 26 years old and he invited Jackson and his children to a family BBQ in Las Vegas: “So, I remember talking about that saying, yeah, let us just bring some food, and Michael being really — he just kept asking me to make sure I bring alcohol, which was also a really new, as far as to me, like, for him to talk about that and want that.” [10; page 170]
Another difference is that Safechuck portrays Jackson as a female-hater, while Robson claims in “Leaving Neverland” that Jackson was “obsessed” with Britney Spears.
Safechuck also alleges things that no one else alleged before him: a mock wedding, Jackson watching child pornography – movies in which children were masturbating – with him (although this was left out of the film) and lately he also added a new element that Jackson allegedly created videos of their sexual acts together, only he destroyed them later so, of course, there is no evidence of it. (Note: No such tapes and neither child pornographic movies have ever been found in Jackson’s possession during two extensive house searches in 1993 and 2003.) This allegation about the sex tape was not in Safechuck’s lawsuit and not even in the film, it seems to be a late addition for the media promotion campaign of the film.
We could go on about other details like this. The bottom line is that if you put Robson’s and Safechuck’s stories next to each other in a detailed analysis, rather than “parallel stories” you will find that they actually describe two different type of abusers with very different modus operandi.
The illusion of “parallel stories” is created in the film through the sexual acts described and the the theme of “grooming” which we will address in the next chapters.
Claim 2: The stories are convincing because they are sexually explicit and detailed
(WARNING: Due to the nature of the topic, in this chapter we could not avoid discussing some graphic, sexually explicit allegations. Reader discretion is advised.)
Another often cited reason for why the film is so powerful and effective is the graphic descriptions of alleged sexual acts between a man and children, that no doubt have the potential to make the viewer immediately be disgusted and angered with Jackson and sympathetic to the accusers. It may especially be triggering to victims of child sexual abuse watching it. The film heavily builds on that psychological effect. “We agreed that the sexual abuse had to be described exactly as it happened. We had to go graphic, because there’s no point making a film like this and just saying, “Well, then the bedroom door closes,” and we skip ahead” , Dan Reed told the LA Times.
But let us engage our critical thinking here! Telling graphic, sexually explicit stories may be psychologically effective, but it is not evidence that the stories are true. Adult men are perfectly capable of making up such stories.
Moreover, to many who have studied the Jackson case for many years, even decades, the stories Robson and Safechuck tell sound eerily familiar. They echo a 1996 book called “Michael Jackson Was My Lover” by Victor Gutierrez.
Gutierrez claimed that the book was based on the secret diary of Jordan Chandler, Jackson’s 1993 accuser. It contained very similar, sometimes identical stories to what we find in Safechuck and Robson’s allegations – only with the protagonist Jordan Chandler.
For example, Safechuck’s story about the movies with children masturbating is eerily similar to a story in Gutierrez’s book. Interestingly, this allegation was left out of the documentary, but in his complaint we read that Jackson has allegedly shown him ”movies in which children were masturbating” and “foreign books” that were pornographic [16; paragraph 60].
No movies with children masturbating or any kind of child pornography has ever been found in Jackson’s possession. There is no evidence supporting the claim that Jackson ever had such material and his premises were thoroughly searched in both 1993 and in 2003. No one else ever claimed such a thing, either.
The child pornography claim of Safechuck has only one precedent: Victor Gutierrez’s book. There Gutierrez claims that Jackson watched movies where children “ran around naked and masturbating”. Gutierrez also claimed that these were films with “foreign themes”. In Safechuck’s complaint we have “foreign books” [17; page 58].
In another story from Safechuck’s complaint he tells of Jackson allegedly inserting his finger into his anus. Safechuck claims that he told Jackson to stop and he did, although he later did it again [16; paragraph 38].
This same story can be found in Gutierrez’s book [17; page 79], only the protagonist is Jordan Chandler.
Before anyone shouts “abuser pattern”, let us make it very clear: Gutierrez’s book is fiction. These stories were the products of the author’s own perverted fantasy. The Chandlers denied that Jordan ever had a diary , Jordan himself distanced himself from the book in a 1997 declaration  and graphic sexual stories that are echoed in Safechuck’s and Robson’s allegations have been specifically denied by Jordan Chandler. For example, he denied any kind of anal contact in his interview with psychiatrist Dr. Richard Gardner in October 1993 .
The only people ever claiming anal sex with Jackson are Robson, Safechuck – and Gutierrez.
There are a number of other themes in Gutierrez’s book that are now echoed by Safechuck and Robson. Like Safechuck’s allegation that Jackson was a female-hater, who allegedly taught him to despise women and who got jealous when he was attracted to females and talked him out of dating girls. (Which portrayal, as we will see later, is contradicted by Brandi Jackson’s account.) That the boys around Jackson were little “lovers” of his who were jealous of each other and who enjoyed and were looking forward to having sex with Jackson. (Gutierrez writes that sometimes Jordan initiated sex with Jackson and declares “Jordie and other children actually wanted to have sex with Jackson” [17; page 124]. To get around statutes of limitations, Robson writes in a 2015 probate court declaration that he was “looking forward to being with Jackson sexually” [39; page 31] and that the shame of it prevented him from making allegations before. As you will see, in his 2016 civil court deposition, Robson will contradict this “shame” angle.) The nipple twisting scene (although Jordan did allege such a thing in 1993, so this one theoretically could be explained with abuser pattern, or that with that Safechuck took it from the Chandler allegations, but it is also in Gutierrez’s book). Etc. etc.
The most disturbing similarity between Gutierrez’s mythology and the Robson/Safechuck allegations, indeed, is the portrayal of alleged child sexual abuse as some kind of romantic-erotic relationship, a “love story”.
Dan Reed said in an interview that “[Robson] had a fulfilling sexual and emotional relationship at the age of 7 with a 30-year-old man who happened to be the King of Pop. And because he enjoyed it, he loved Michael, and the sex was pleasant. I’m sorry, that’s just the reality. 
And: “The central thing you have to understand is that these children fell in love with Michael Jackson. Jackson wasn’t a kind of grab-and-grope pedophile — he was a romance, relationship pedophile. Wade started telling me how he had fallen in love with Jackson and how that love lasted for years — decades — and how that love motivated his loyalty to Jackson. And how that loyalty ended up requiring him to lie about what happened.” 
And: “One, they don’t realize that not always but oftentimes the relationship mirrors an adult relationship in terms of [being] a love relationship. The child falls in love with his abuser. And they form a very close emotional attachment that has many dimensions. The abuser is a mentor; a father figure, as Michael was; a dazzling supernova of talent, as Michael was; and a sexual partner. And the child falls in love with that and all those good things. There are many good things about Michael.” 
Reed stated that both Safechuck and Robson were “in love” with Jackson and when he learnt about that “that’s one of the moments when I really hit the level of belief”.
“Question: What really struck me was that Wade and James really were in love with Michael.
Reed: Yes. People assume that it’s, what we call in the UK, the guy in the “Dirty Mac,” the dirty raincoat, who comes and offers sweets, and then does something disgusting with you. It wasn’t like that. These are relationships that, if they had happened between consenting adults, would be entirely normal. Loving, nurturing, mentoring. There are many relationships between a slightly older person and a slightly younger person that are fine, that are not illegal and that don’t involve any abuse. These relationships were between an adult and, respectively, a 7-year-old and a 10-year-old child. But they were characterized by all the trappings of love.
And that’s one of the moments when I really hit the level of belief. Because obviously, as a journalist, I approached the interviews and reserved judgment until I heard more. I was looking for credibility and coherence. Things I could identify as the way people behave, which I already knew in my 30 years of making films. And when Wade, and then James, said, “I loved Michael and Michael loved me and we were going to be together forever,” they spoke the way a loving adult speaks about their partner.” 
In the same interview he also says: “Michael was Wade’s lover and his close friend, to whom he owed a great deal in terms of his career and his life.”
Yes, there are situations when an abused child feels conflicted or even feels love for his or her abuser – sexual abuse can be emotionally complicated. But claiming that a 7 and a 10-year-old boy (both heterosexual) was “in love” with a man in his 30s and had a romantic, “fulfilling emotional and sexual relationship” with him (and that with the often humiliating kind of sexual acts described in the film), opens a whole another can of worms, especially when you know where Gutierrez was coming from with that same narrative in his 1996 book.
Gutierrez describes the relationship between Jackson and Jordan Chandler as a romance. At one point in his story he has Jordan say it felt like they were on a “honeymoon”. (Was this the inspiration for Safechuck’s “wedding” story and his portrayal of his relationship with Jackson as if they were some kind “married couple”?) All through Gutierrez’s book this “romantic” angle is very strong as well as the child pornographic graphic details. Exactly like in Robson and Safechuck’s allegations and Dan Reed’s film!
It cannot be emphasized enough that Gutierrez’s book is fiction! He made up the graphic sexual acts and the romantic angle. Chandler never claimed to have been “in love” with Jackson. When you read Gutierrez’s book, it has a clear agenda: to normalize and romanticize pedophilia through a romantic-pornographic fiction novel that Gutierrez made up of Jackson and Jordan Chandler.
Describing the fictitious story he made up about Jackson and Jordan Chandler, he wrote:
“The cliché of pedophiles as old men who kidnap children in sacks is as erroneous as thinking that all homosexual men attack other male pedestrians on the street. Psychiatrists report that there are pedophile rapists and murderers, just as there are homosexuals and heterosexuals who commit these crimes. These same experts indicate that sexual relations between adults and minors are sometimes loving and do not have a negative effect on the youngster’s life. What better example than Jordie? He was more harshly affected by the legal procedures associated with his case than by his relationship with Jackson.” [17; page 208]
“Michael Jackson is a pedophile, which in the eyes of society makes him a “criminal.” Not so for the young sexual companions of the singer, for whom sex with Jackson was, in their own words, “healthy” and “normal”. With that going against them, the police had no victims, much less a criminal case. For me it was confusing, not knowing whether to refer to the boys as victims or ex-lovers.“ [17; page 10]
He finishes his book with this paragraph:
“Pedophiles fall in love, they become obsessed and feel desire, just like a heterosexual or homosexual persons (sic). In most cases the relations between “couples” don’t last for long, since when the child grows, the pedophiles loses interest, at least in sexual terms. Now that we better understand the sexual drive some adults feel for children we are able to comprehend more completely Jordie and Jackson’s experience, a couple that loved intensely in a very erotic way.” [17; page 213]
The clues as to where Gutierrez was coming from are right in his book. For one, in the Author’s Note at the end of his book [17; page 214] he thanks NAMBLA, the North American Man Boy Love Association, an infamous pedophilia and pederasty advocacy organization in the United States.
In the book he also goes into a lengthy apology for NAMBLA and pedophilia using the made up “romance” between Jackson, Jordan Chandler and other boys as justification. He quotes a NAMBLA magazine stating “The North American Men Boy Love Association (“NAMBLA”) is a group that approves of consentual (sic) sexual relations between men and boys. NAMBLA is pleased that the topic of pedophilia has attracted so much attention through such a famous personage as Michael Jackson”. [17; page 210]
Gutierrez then goes into a lengthy, historical apology for pedophilia stating that “[h]istorians report that the topic of pedophilia is not new” and then listing examples of societies in history where pedophilia supposedly was considered normal. He then also lists a number of important historical figures and artists who were or suspected of being pedophiles [17; page 211].
Gutierrez did not only write an obscure fiction book about Jackson. He was actually very active in the media behind the scenes over the years and fed articles, as well as documentaries about the star with this narrative (including, but not limited to, documentaries on Channel 4 and NBC). In 1998, he was also court ordered to pay Jackson $2.7 million in damages for making up slanderous lies about him. (More about that and other Victor Gutierrez related issues here.)
Gutierrez cited as a “consulting producer” on NBC Dateline’s “Inside the Jackson Case” program:
Gutierrez cited as an “investigative journalist” in Jacques Peretti’s slanderous 2007 documentary entitled “Michael Jackson: What Really Happened”, broadcast by Channel 4. The same Channel 4 is one of the television channels that commissioned “Leaving Neverland” (the other is HBO).
He can also be connected to all those disgruntles ex-employees of Jackson who went to tabloids to sell stories about him and children. According to a journalist, Ken Wells, Gutierrez once told him that he had many connections in the tabloid business, and “that he had sold many stories, “some of which had been “B.S.” and simply made up”  . Gutierrez further said to him “that money in the tabloid business was easy, even for false stories” .
Many of the witnesses who testified for the prosecution at Jackson’s 2005 trial, and on whom the prosecution’s “prior bad acts” case was mostly built, were people who had contact with Victor Gutierrez prior to selling their stories to the tabloids for money. Former security guard, Ralph Chacon testified he and other ex-employees of Jackson (whom the media often called the “Neverland 5”) spoke to Gutierrez before they went to sell their story to The Star magazine . Former security guard, Kassim Abdool testified that he met Gutierrez once and they had a two, three hours conversation . Former maid, Adrian McManus testified that Gutierrez “was going to try to help us in our lawsuit” . Another prosecution witness Blanca Francia was likewise in connection with Gutierrez (more about her further down).
Victor Gutierrez with Blanca Francia:
Other people whom Gutierrez befriended, such as as Orietta Murdock or the Chandlers’ El Salvadorean maid, Norma Salinas also made their rounds in the media selling salacious lies about Jackson to tabloids.
Amazingly, the mainstream media did not seem to be bothered by the NAMBLA propaganda in Gutierrez’s book, nor by the fact that this was a man who was court ordered to pay Jackson $2.7 million for lying about him, they continued to hire him as a Jackson “expert”. We can see his influence in many articles and documentaries. A lot of myths surrounding the Jackson cases originate from this man. His role in shaping the allegations against Michael Jackson and the mythology surrounding it cannot be underestimated.
At times Gutierrez was blatantly obvious in the media about his agenda, yet everyone turned a blind eye.
In April 2005, while Jackson was on trial, he gave an interview to a German newspaper called Die Tageszeitung. A newspaper that according to a 2010 article in the reputable German magazine Der Spiegel had a shady history in advocating pedophilia .
Tageszeitung’s Gutierrez interview is entitled “Es war Liebe!” (“It Was Love!”) , referring to the alleged “relationship” between Michael Jackson and Jordan Chandler, and describes it as a love story while giving a platform to Gutierrez to state his opinions about pedophilia, like:
“There are different type of pedophiles, pedophilia is as old as the human race, not every game they play is a horrible crime. Victor Gutierrez says: “In the five months of their relationship Michael Jackson and Jordie Chandler were happy. It was love.” 
“In a hundred years maybe such relationships will be accepted by society”, says Gutierrez. The story reminds him of Oscar Wild and his young lover, Bosi.” 
The article also refers to Gutierrez as someone who “glamorizes pedophiles”. Meanwhile the journalist never challenges Gutierrez’s portrayal of pedophilia as some kind of consensual love relationship.
In the same article Gutierrez also claimed that in 1986 he participated in a NAMBLA conference which is only possible if he is either a member or very close to the organization.
In the September 2006 issue of the British version of GQ Magazine we find an article about plans to make a movie out of Gutierrez’s book . The producers would have been Randy Barbato and Fenton Bailey, founders of the World of Wonder production company.
Based on what is said by the two producers in the article, like the book, the film would have also served the agenda of portraying supposed child molestation as a consensual, romantic relationship.
Barbato also acknowledges that their movie “goes outside of any of the acceptable norms”:
Mind you, these are well respected mainstream media producers, who have produced content for Channel 4, HBO or the Oprah Winfrey Network, among others. And this article was published in a well respected mainstream publication.
Gutierrez’s movie never materialized, however, the mythology this pedophilia apologist created around the Jackson cases still shapes the allegations against him, as we can see in Leaving Neverland.
Whether Robson and Safechuck directly read Gutierrez’s book or not, Gutierrez laid the foundation for certain narratives about Jackson and his relationship with children more than 20 years ago and those narratives – through Gutierrez’s wide ranging media connections and activities – entered collective consciousness through tabloids, documentaries and various websites and blogs, where they were often presented as true stories.
Robson and Safechuck’s goal might be different than Gutierrez’s. They do not want to promote pedophilia, they simply needed an explanation to why they defended Jackson all these years and they found that fitting explanation in the “in love” narrative Gutierrez offers, just like they apparently lifted from his graphic, sexual, child pornographic stories.
Here we have to note that both Robson and Safechuck are heterosexual. In actuality, Robson dated two of Jackson’s nieces (one of them, Brandi Jackson, for 7 years) during the period he now claims he was “in love” with Michael Jackson, which would create a very strange dynamic.
This goes against the narrative that Jackson hated females and taught them to hate females and had issues with it if they had girlfriends.
Jackson in his own words
In an interview with Rolling Stone magazine Reed and his interviewer psychoanalyze Jackson based on the “in love” narrative Robson, Safechuck and Reed attempt to sell in the film, and they try to represent Jackson as someone who probably did not understand that a sexual relationship with a child would be hurtful to the child and abnormal.
It’s interesting going back and re-evaluating Michael Jackson’s statement about how he would never hurt a child.
He’s telling the truth — to himself.
Because he really thinks so. Even the kids would say, “We weren’t hurt. We were in love.”
Yeah. And that’s why Wade says, “I didn’t consider this to be abuse. I loved Michael and Michael loved me.” That persisted for many years, because that was embedded in his psyche when he was seven. And when we’re that age, we’re so malleable and we form our ideas of normality, right? So, for them, this was a normal, healthy thing. And it’s not until many years later — this is so typical of child sexual abuse — that that structure falls apart and they can no longer hold it together. 
This is nothing, but their own fantasy. There is absolutely no evidence of Jackson considering child sexual abuse as “love”, romanticizing it or that he did not understand it as hurting children, but there is plenty of evidence to the contrary.
A handwritten note that he wrote to his sister-in-law, Dee Dee Jackson, as his nephew, Taj was molested by an uncle on his mother’s side.
“Dee Dee please read this article about child molestation and please read it to Taj, TJ and Taryll, it brings out how even your own relatives can be molesters of children, or even uncles or aunts molesting nephew or nieces. Please read. Love MJ”
He also wrote songs which make it very clear that he knew that having sex with a child was wrong and hurtful to the child.
A song that remained unreleased during Jackson’s lifetime in which he addresses the topic of child sexual abuse. (It was written by Jackson some time in the late 1980s.)
This song (demo), written in 1999 and also unreleased during Jackson’s lifetime, touches on the issue of child sexual abuse as well.
Jackson also said in an interview: “I am not going to do anything sexual to a child. That’s not where my heart is. I would slit my wrists first. I would never do anything like that. That’s not Michael Jackson, I’m sorry… That’s someone else.” 
Even in Robson and Safechuck’s own allegations there are stories which contradict their claim that they never realized it was abuse until they became fathers, because Jackson had brainwashed them into thinking it was an expression of love.
Take for example the story of Robson’s alleged coaching by Jackson on the phone. In his complaint Robson alleged that the reason why he denied abuse under oath in 2005 was because Jackson supposedly coached him on the phone in the form of a “role play” which went like this: “They are making up all these lies about you and me, saying that we did all this disgusting sexual stuff. They are just trying to take us down, take away my power and my money, take away our careers. We can’t let them do this. We have to fight them together.” [24; paragraph 40]
Now, that this is a “role play” is Robson’s hindsight claim. On face value, it actually looks like something that an innocent man would say, not an abuser to his victim. Jackson calls the allegations “made up” and “lies”, and calls them “disgusting sexual stuff”. Not love. Not romance. Not a beautiful thing.
It defies Wade’s claim of him believing it was love until 2012, because he was allegedly brainwashed into that by Jackson. Here he quotes Jackson himself telling him that such acts would be “disgusting sexual stuff”, so how would that not, at least, ring a bell to an adult man, like Wade was in 2005, that something was wrong with the “love” angle, after all?
Same with Safechuck. In his declaration he talks about how Jackson asked him to testify at the 2005 trial: “He asked me if I would be willing to testify at the trial, and said that the charges against him, were a “scam” and that his accusers were lying and just wanted money. He then went into a speech saying things like “you believe me” and asking if I “would be there to help testify” on his behalf.” [11; paragraph 14]
Again, Jackson here does not say he was just expressing his “love” to Gavin Arvizo. He calls the allegations lies and a “scam” and pleads Safechuck to believe him. Likewise Safechuck also quotes Jackson telling him in 1993 that Jordan Chandler’s allegations were lies. This makes a lot more sense if he is innocent of Safechuck’s allegations than if he is guilty. After all, if Jackson had really molested Safechuck, they would both know that it happened, so it makes little sense for Jackson to swear up and down about his innocence to a man he had previously abused and expect him to believe him.
Claim 3: It is not about money
That Robson and Safechuck’s allegations have nothing to do with money is another blatantly dishonest claim. They may not get directly paid for Reed’s film, but they use it to assist their lawsuits that they have filed against Jackson’s companies for big monetary compensations, and that is currently in front of the appeals court. (Not long after the announcement of Leaving Neverland, Robson also started to advertise a foundation he had launched.)
If it is not about money, then why did they demonstrably lie in their court papers?
They claim that the lawsuit has been tossed just based on a technicality, but that is a half truth. While it was tossed because of statutes of limitations, but the ruling does include implicit judgements about the truthfulness of some of their claims.
For example, to get around statutes of limitations, Robson claimed that he did not know about the administration of the Michael Jackson Estate before March 4, 2013.
“Prior to March 4, I did not understand or was even aware that an Estate had been opened for administration or that I could seek to make a claim.” [15; paragraph 27]
He made that claim under oath, and it was a lie. Evidence showed he not only knew about the Estate’s administration before 2013, but he even negotiated with them in 2011 as he was trying to get a leading creative job on Cirque du Soleil’s MJ-themed Las Vegas show ONE.
Judge Mitchell L. Beckloff’s ruling on May 26, 2015 in the Probate Court case stated [36; page 2]:
An e-mail by Robson’s agent, Julie McDonald to him in February 2011, where the MJ Estate is clearly mentioned:
He had some negotiations with Cirque and the Estate about the job – here, in a May 2011 e-mail he is almost begging for it -, but eventually he was not selected.
Then in May 2012 he “realized” that he had been sexually abused by Jackson as a child and then used that allegation to sue Jackson’s entities for money. According to his mother’s deposition, Wade was also in financial difficulties. [25; page 218-219]
(Shane is Wade’s older brother. The “he” referring to Wade in the first question.)
Joy was caught up in the housing crash in 2009 [25; page 237].
From Wade’s deposition [10; page 243-244]:
For all the melodramatic burning scene at the end of Leaving Neverland where Robson burns his Michael Jackson memorabilia, the fact is that he sold his really valuable Jackson items in the past years. In October 2011, so just months before he supposedly “realized” he was “abused” by Jackson, he sold these items through Julien’s Auctions.
Julien’s Auctions stated that Wade wanted to remain anonymous, but they did not agree to that .
In his 2016 deposition Wade was asked about it and claimed he sold them for about $50,000 in total. As you can see the reality is more than double of that sum.
His sister, Chantal sold Jackson memorabilia in November 2012. At the time Robson’s allegations were not yet public, but his family already knew they were coming. So they were trying to sell these items before they could potentially lose value due to Wade’s allegations.
Then Chantal also tried to sell an autographed Jackson photo on eBay in 2015.
In the Vanity Fair interview Robson claims that he’s been hired three times for the Cirque du Soleil show, but he decided to remove himself from the project. In his 2017 deposition, Estate executor John Branca insisted that they never hired Robson. Robson’s lawyers tried to counter that by saying Wade had e-mails to prove that he was hired, which is a very strange thing to say, because if you were hired to do a job you would have a contract to prove it, not e-mails. They never showed any contract or anything to prove in court that Robson indeed was hired. [26; pages 26-29, 93-95]
Besides, Robson now claiming that he was hired three times for this project by Cirque du Soleil and the MJ Estate, only underlines that he is a liar under oath because to get around statutes of limitations in his declaration he claimed that he was not aware of the administration of the MJ Estate before 2013.
Reed hardly mentions this in his film, but the two men sue Jackson’s companies MJJ Productions and MJJ Ventures for a big monetary compensation with the allegation that these companies were “the most sophisticated public child sexual abuse procurement and facilitation organization[s] the world has known” that knowingly and deliberately “facilitated” their alleged abuse.
They make up contrived ways to try to blame their alleged abuse on the companies just to be able to sue them (because it is not about money?), calling Jackson’s personal assistant at the time, Norma Staikos a “madam” or “procurer” of child sexual abuse victims for Michael Jackson”, all the while never mentioning their own parents’ responsibility in their lawsuit. Robson alleges in his lawsuit:
[24; paragraph 11-12 and 23]
Safechuck makes similar allegations. [16; paragraph 5]
However, their portrayal of the companies as some sort of big child abuse mafia that plotted to recruit them as victims for Jackson, was inadvertently destroyed by Wade’s own mother, Joy Robson in her 2016 deposition.
Joy Robson testified that the 1987 meet-and-greet was an event where a lot of people were present and they only had a couple of minutes with Jackson. Then Jackson invited Wade to dance on stage with him at one of his upcoming shows. According to Wade’s own deposition at the concert he did not spend any time with Jackson off stage, their only interaction was on the stage.
Their encounter would have ended there, if it was for Jackson or his companies. It was Joy Robson who then made further efforts to contact Jackson again. She, with her son, had delivered a “thank you” note to Jackson’s hotel room a couple of days later and as a result they had another meeting with the star, for about one and a half hours. Again, this would have been the end of their encounters if for Jackson or his companies.
Over the next few years Joy Robson sent Jackson letters and videos about Wade’s progress as a dancer, but they never heard back from the star. The next time they met or even talked to Jackson again was more than two years later, in 1990, when, once again, it were the Robsons who sought contact with the star, not the other way around. The Robson family traveled to the USA for Wade and Chantal to perform at Disneyland with a talent school. Before leaving Australia, Joy Robson already tried to obtain contact information for Jackson by calling several Australian television channels and asking if they had any sort of contact for him. Eventually she managed to get the phone number of MJJ Productions.
When you read Joy Robson’s deposition, Wade’s claims are simply absurd. According to Joy Robson’s own story, it was Joy who initiated the contact with MJJ Productions and Norma Staikos (MJJ Ventures did not even exist at the time), and her ultimate goal was, of course, to contact Michael Jackson. The companies and Staikos were incidental to that event and definitely NOT the initiators.
How does that make Norma Staikos “a “madam” or “procurer” of child sexual abuse victims for Michael Jackson” and Jackson’s companies “child sexual abuse procurement and facilitation organization(s)”, as Wade alleges?
It is clear that it was Joy Robson who “purposely orchestrated” the meeting, not Norma Staikos, MJJ Productions or MJJ Ventures. That Wade claims otherwise in his lawsuit is a lie in order to implicate the Jackson companies and Norma Staikos, because that is the way he could sue the companies for money.
According to Joy Robson’s testimony, the idea for the Robsons’ immigration to the USA came from Wade’s father, Dennis. Joy herself too wanted it: “You know, I — I believed that Wade had a future here, and I — I felt like he had gone as far as he could go in Australia. He really needed to be here” [25; page 309], she said in her 2016 deposition.
The role of Michael Jackson’s companies in all this was that when Joy eventually decided to immigrate in September 1991, the Robsons needed a sponsor and an employer in the USA to be able to stay. Joy Robson asked Jackson to help them with that, and Jackson instructed his office to do it.
From Joy’s deposition it also becomes clear that rather than Jackson being obsessed with Wade, Wade actually felt pushed aside by him by the time the Robsons moved to the USA.
They moved in September 1991, when Wade was 9 years old. Between the Robsons’ first visit to the USA in February 1990 and their moving to the USA in September 1991, they had only two other visits to the USA and Jackson: in May 1990 and in February 1991. Most of their interactions during that period were through faxes and phone calls as the Robsons lived in Australia.
And then they move to the USA in September 1991 and 9-year-old Wade feels pushed aside by Jackson because Jackson did not want to spend as much time with him as the Robsons would have wanted. Wade wanted to go on tour with him, but Jackson would not take him. One time Joy Robson cut Jackson off for six months and that was because she got angry with him that he did not call Wade from the Dangerous Tour. [27; page 97-99]
By the way, this story also shows that poor “groomed” Joy Robson had actually no problem with standing up to Jackson.
This does not only fly in the face of the portrayal of Jackson’s companies as this big child abuse mafia who brought the Robsons to the USA with the purpose of Jackson having access to Wade to molest him (as it is claimed in Wade’s lawsuit), but also flies in the face of Reed’s portrayal of Jackson as someone who was obsessed with Wade Robson.
Safechuck had an even bigger problem with his lawsuit against the companies, as he was never even employed by these companies during the relevant time. To get around that, he tried to make up a theory about how the fact that he danced with Jackson (and other children) on stage during the Bad Tour was “employment” by Jackson’s companies. He is trying hard to come up with contrived ways to be able to sue the companies, while he does not mention his parents’ responsibility in his lawsuit at all.
In his lawsuit Robson alleged that his two nervous breakdowns in 2011 and 2012 were a result of him realizing that he was sexually abused as a child. Otherwise, he claims, he was on his way to international superstardom and his career would have continued on this “upward trajectory”. Therefore he needs to be financially compensated for his lost international superstar career, he says [24; paragraph 80-81].
In his lawsuit Robson does not mention his years of struggles with the pressures and expectations of his job, because that would show that his career would not have continued on an upward trajectory, like he alleges, and that his breakdowns had to do with other issues than alleged sexual abuse.
Safechuck too seems to have an underlining bitterness against Jackson that has more to do with his career than alleged sexual abuse. In his lawsuit he complains about Jackson not fulfilling his promises to him and his family that he would help him make a career in show business (Safechuck first wanted to be an actor, then a film director, then a musician). He also blames it on Jackson that he could not get a better college education than what he has: he alleges that Jackson talked his parents out of sending him to college and told them that he should focus on film making instead. [16; paragraph 64, 65, 66, 71 ]. These supposed events took place long after the alleged abuse stopped and do not have anything to do with it, yet Safechuck is going on about them in his complaint. He too claims that he needs to be compensated for past, present and future lost earnings [16; page 49].
There is also the issue that Robson attempted to hide evidence (such as certain e-mails) during the discovery process of this case. And at one point during his deposition, the lawyers on Jackson’s side had to ask him if his memories have changed during the course of the case, because some of his stories certainly did even since he first came up with these allegations. Robson’s answer: “They’ve evolved.” [10; page 95-96]
Robson’s “memories” still continue to evolve. In Reed’s film he alleges that Jackson once told him to get rid of a bloody underwear after anally penetrating him. This element about the underwear is a new invention compared to his complaint.
Robson claimed in his lawsuit and continues to claim in interviews that because of Jackson’s alleged sexual abuse of him, he was no longer able to do any kind of entertainment activity because those activities were too associated with Jackson and sexual abuse for him. He claimed that he could not dance, make music, make or even watch films any more because of those activities’ association with Jackson was so triggering to him. He also alleged he was “unable to continue directing in any manner or capacity whatsoever”. [24; paragraph 81] He claims that he only healed from this in 2017.
The fact is, however, that Robson continued to do all of those activities all the while claiming in court documents that he was so traumatized by such activities’ association with Michael Jackson that he would never be able to do them again, so he needed financial compensation. He directed dance and music videos for Blake McGrath in 2016, he published several dance videos that he directed and choreographed in the relevant period.
Robson directing and choreographing music videos for Blake McGrath in 2016:
Robson’s dance short film “Life in Color” – made in 2016.
On his video channel Robson also posted “making of” footage of it where he is heard and seen dancing, directing, choreographing, laughing and – far from seeming traumatized by dancing or “unable to continue directing in any manner or capacity whatsoever” – having a lot of fun with the project.
In 2015 he wrote and directed a dance video entitled “Flight”.
Also in 2015, he advertised a dance session with him on his Facebook.
On June 19, 2015 Wade’s wife, Amanda posted a photo of Wade teaching their son to dance on her Facebook and on her Instagram. Wade also posted the same photo the same day on his own Facebook. Amanda captioned it as “Wade wisdom #1: “Don’t think. If it feels good, you’re doin it right.”
Rather than it being Wade’s own wisdom, it actually echoes Michael Jackson’s philosophy in dancing and something that he would likely tell Wade as a child while teaching him to dance.
In May 2014 in his home state of Hawaii, he registered a documentary film making company – all the while claiming in court documents that he was “unable to continue directing in any manner or capacity whatsoever”.
There are numerous other demonstrable lies and contradictions in these two men’s stories as well.
Moreover, apparently his alleged “victimhood” is also something that Wade intends to build on in his new career as a selling point. In a note that he wrote to himself and that the Jackson Estate found out about and presented at his 2016 deposition, Wade stated: “My story of abuse and its effects will make me relatable/relevant.” When asked what he meant by that, Wade said that he contemplated a career as a Vedic meditation teacher and he thought potential clients who went through childhood trauma would find someone with a similar story more relatable. The same notes also contain a sentence saying: “It’s time for me to get mine!” When asked what he meant by that Wade said he did not know. [10; page 250-252]
According to a tweet to Jackson’s niece, Brandi Jackson (who was a girlfriend of Wade Robson for 7 years) Wade always talked about wanting to be relevant:
Certainly, this documentary backed up with this aggressive global promotional campaign has the potential to make Robson more relevant as a “sexual abuse victim” than he could ever be as a dancer/choreographer/film director.
Although, Safechuck’s lawsuit never got as far as Robson’s, so his allegations never got under as much scrutiny (there are no depositions and there was no discovery done in Safechuck’s case because it never got that far), but his complaint is extremely messy and contradictory as well.
As you will see further below, he makes several, contradictory allegations about when he realized that what he claims happened to him was sexual abuse and not love and what his state of mind was all those years while denying abuse. His sexually graphic stories are by far the most bizarre, outlandish and Victor Gutierrez-esque. He also seems to make up stories as he goes along, like the sex tape claim that only popped up among his allegations during the promotional campaign of Leaving Neverland (it was not in his lawsuit and not even in the film). The fact that some of his claims sound eerily similar to Robson’s (and in ways that cannot be explained with abuser pattern) is alarming too. Altogether Safechuck’s complaint looks like a patchwork with elements from Robson’s complaint, Victor Gutierrez, previous allegations and familiar tabloid myths about Jackson.
At one point in his complaint Safechuck claims that after the Bad Tour, in February 1989 Jackson flew him to New York where Jackson performed at the Grammys. He was alone with Jackson on this trip, he claims, and “ongoing sexual abuse would occur”. [16; paragraph 35] Safechuck made a mistake with this story, though, and this mistake points to a hindsight construction of Safechuck’s molestation story. The Grammys in New York where Jackson performed did not take place in 1989, but in 1988. (The 1989 Grammys were in Los Angeles and Jackson did not perform there.) 
Of course, it can happen that someone may miss a date so many years after the fact. The reason why this mistake is more significant than that, though, is that Safechuck’s allegation is that his sexual abuse started on June 25-28, 1988 in a Paris hotel room on Jackson’s Bad Tour. He paints a detailed, vivid picture of that first alleged molestation. [16; paragraph 31] This means he cannot remember “ongoing sexual abuse” at the Grammys, because in reality the Grammys did not take place in 1989, but on March 2 1988, months before he claims his first molestation happened. In actuality, elsewhere in his complaint he talks about about him and his mother accompanying Jackson to a performance of The Phantom of the Opera on Broadway with Liza Minelli on March 11, 1988, and while describing that story he states that during that New York trip – the same period as when the Grammys took place in reality – he slept in his mother’s room and his mother did not allow him to sleep in Jackson’s room.
Safechuck’s claim that Jackson flew him alone to New York to the 1989 Grammys where “ongoing sexual abuse would occur” is demonstrably false. The Grammys in New York were not in 1989, but in 1988. Safechuck was not alone on that New York trip with Jackson, he was with his mother. He did not sleep in Jackson’s room, he slept in his mother’s. And ongoing sexual abuse could not occur, when even according to his own story sexual abuse did not start until June 1988.
Safechuck also alleges in his complaint that Jackson pressured and threatened him during his 2005 trial to give testimony for him. He alleges that Jackson was very angry that he did not want to testify, and threatened him that he would “get him for perjury” for his testimony in the 1993 Chandler case [16; paragraph 73]. This makes little sense. Safechuck said in 1993 that Jackson never molested him. Jackson “getting him for perjury” on that would mean an admission of his own guilt.
Safechuck further alleges that that he continued to get calls from Jackson and also got a call from his attorneys and his personal assistant, Evvy Tavasci asking him to testify. Then he claims that “towards the end of the trial” Jackson called him again, apologized to him for not being there for Safechuck with respect to his music and career and “then asked if we could meet in person to discuss my testifying”. “He continued to pressure me to testify and told me that Gavin Arviso (the victim in the criminal prosecution) was just trying to get money.” [11; paragraph 18]
That Jackson would have a constant desperation about getting Safechuck on the stand and that until the end of the trial, does not make any sense at all, considering the fact that Judge Rodney S. Melville ruled on March 28, 2005 that testimony about James Safechuck would not be allowed in court as no one had claimed to have witnessed any inappropriate act regarding him  (the trial took place between February 28 – June 3, 2005). Jackson did not need Safechuck on the stand at all, testimony about him was, in fact, ruled out relatively early on at the trial. Why would Jackson then continue to pressure him so desperately as described in Safechuck’s complaint? And it makes even less sense with Safechuck’s story of abuse: if Jackson had molested Safechuck it would be a totally unnecessary risk for him to put this man on the stand who was so reluctant to testify and that while he did not even need his testimony.
Scott Ross, who worked as a private investigator for Jackson’s trial attorney, Thomas Mesereau in 2005, also refuted Safechuck’s claim that Jackson’s people called Safechuck, and confirmed that they did not need Safechuck on the stand.
“This is false for two reasons. 1) the attorneys would have not called, it would have been me, and I did not. 2) we had a declaration by Safechuck that nothing happened to him, based on that, there was no reason to call him, additionally, none of the 5 former employees made any allegations regarding Safechuck. He was a non-entity”, he wrote in answer to an e-mail asking him about Safechuck’s allegations.
He continued: “Also know that we would have never allowed Eve [Evvy Tavasci] to call witnesses. All she did was provide us Michael’s phone numbers if we needed one. Involving her would have made her a potential witness. Didn’t happen.”
“[Safechuck] was just not an issue. The others, including Robson, were all identified by the 5 employees who were fired for stealing and whom Michael had outstanding judgements. That’s why they were brought in. Safechuck was simply not an issue.” 
In a draft for a book that Robson was shopping about his allegations in late 2012-early 2013, he explains his consistent, convincing denial of sexual abuse over the years by describing himself as “a master of deception”.
But was Wade Robson a master of deception all those years while he denied sexual abuse, or is he a master of deception now, when he changed his story and filed a lawsuit amidst monetary demands? Once someone is a self-admitted master of deception, how do you decide WHEN he is deceiving you?
There is absolutely no evidence that Robson and Safechuck lied all those years while denying abuse. However, there is plenty of evidence that they have lied during this lawsuit while they are claiming abuse.
If this is all about the “truth” then why lie? How are you fighting for the “truth” by lying in court, to achieve the monetary compensation that you desire?
And why does a four-hours documentary did not have any place to mention information like this and other issues that transpired in court?
Claim 4: Jackson groomed these families to be able to molest their sons
The illusion of “parallel” stories is mostly created through the very prominent theme of “grooming” in the film. What the film does is that it manipulatively takes every kind and generous gesture and every gift by Jackson out of context in order to try to turn them into something more sinister. That is because neither of these men could produce a single piece of evidence that was actually incriminating.
Instead, we learn about “love letters” to James and “love faxes” to Wade, which in reality are completely innocent notes and letters with no indication of Jackson’s interest in these children being sexual or romantic. (You can check out the faxes that were attached to Robson’s court files as evidence here. “Joey” was Jackson’s nickname for Wade’s mother, Joy Robson. “Little One” was his nickname for Wade and “Chantel” is Wade’s sister, Chantal. And here is the letter to James. Notice how it starts with “thank you for your letter” which indicates it was not unsolicited.)
A review on Yahoo put the scene about the faxes to Wade among the film’s “5 most shocking moments” . The context in which it is put is telling the viewer they should be troubled by them. In the scene Joy Robson says: “The living room would be covered in faxes” and the viewer is left with the impression that the room was covered in faxes, because Jackson was so obsessed with Wade. However, a totally different picture emerges when we read the same story in Joy Robson’s 2016 deposition in proper context that was left out of the film. There she tells us that the reason why their room was covered in faxes was because after many weeks of not being able to use his fax machine, Jackson finally learnt how to do it.
Another context that was left out is the fact that Jackson had a habit of sending letters and inspirational notes like these to people all the time. As well as saying or writing “I love you” to everyone all the time. This was by far not unique to the Robsons and Safechucks, and not unique to just children and their families.
The film manipulates the viewer like this all along. Long phone conversations between Jackson and these families, especially their sons, are represented as disturbing. (Mind you, like mentioned above, the only time Joy Robson ever cut off Jackson was because he did NOT call Wade from the Dangerous Tour. In her deposition Joy Robson now characterizes this as emotional abuse. It seems like Jackson can’t win either way. If he called Wade that’s characterized as “grooming” and if he didn’t then that is emotional abuse.)
Meanwhile the director omits the context of Jackson’s habits generally that many people could have told him about if he had been interested in a fuller picture, rather than just a one-sided narrative: Jackson was on the phone a LOT and with a lot of people. Not just with children, but with adults as well. A lot of people could have talked about that and refute the “grooming” portrayal of it.
A series of phone conversations known as “the Glenda tapes” can even be found on YouTube as an example of how Jackson’s long calls looked like. On these tapes Jackson is heard in hours long boring and mundane phone conversations with a woman, Glenda, and sometimes her husband and children. But mostly the woman. According to the woman’s son, Damion Stein, who appeared in a documentary in 2005, his father secretly recorded the calls because his mother was so much on the phone with Jackson that he became jealous. But it was just a friendship. Damion attests to the fact that what Jackson was looking for in these friendships was a family atmosphere. He was most attached to his mother from the family, and he spoke with her on the phone for hours on end. “He needed someone to confide in. […] My dad would be waiting for my mom in bed, for her to come to bed and she would never come. You know, she would be speaking with him in depths on the phone, you know, late hours at a night.” 
We have other examples of secretly taped phone conversations between Jackson and others, like this one between him and AIDS patient Ryan White, that Ryan’s mother recorded without Jackson’s knowledge. (Ryan is 17 here.)
Again, such telephone calls were not unique to the Robsons and Safechucks, and not unique to children either. Jackson was sometimes even secretly recorded by people, but none of these recordings showed any evidence of him ever behaving inappropriately with children.
Every kind gesture, every gift by Jackson is now twisted to serve this “grooming” narrative by Reed and these families. Again, neglecting to mention that Jackson was generous with everyone, not just with children and their parents. There are countless of accounts of his generosity – going back to his childhood, when you cannot blame it on “grooming”. In a 1990 book his mother mentioned that one of the “problems” with him as a child was that his generosity sometimes went too far. He took his mother’s jewelry and gifted it to his teachers. His father also mentioned how even as a kid Michael would spend all his money on buying candy for other kids. There are many people who could have attested to the fact that Jackson was generous like that with almost everyone. (See many other examples in this PDF under the chapter “Grooming or a Generous Heart?”)
How these families are now trying turn every act of kindness by Jackson into “grooming” is well represented by this part of Joy Robson’s 2016 deposition where she was asked about the last time she had talked to Jackson [25; page 196].
Joy’s children were all grown-up at the time, so what was Jackson supposedly “grooming” her for? The reality is that Jackson often made such courtesy calls and kind gestures to people. Ryan White’s mother, Jeanne White mentioned Jackson calling her for Mother’s Day long after her son’s death (from 1:20). What was Jackson grooming her for?
Will.I.Am also talked about Jackson calling him for Father’s Day, even though he was not even a father. What was Jackson grooming him for?
The “grooming” narrative is also very difficult to make sense of in the context of the Robsons’ own story. According to Joy Robson, when they came to the USA (when Wade was 9 years old) they were left on their own devices. Jackson was hardly even present in their lives and she needed to do everything herself to get Wade’s career moving [25; page 115-116]. So the idea is that Jackson wanted to keep this family well “groomed” by faxes and phone calls while they were in Australia, but when they moved to the USA, when Wade was only 9 years old, he somehow did not bother to groom them any more? It is obvious that his behavior rather pissed off Wade and Joy Robson a couple of times (not taking Wade on tour with him, not calling him from tour, having to chase him around just to put Wade in videos, not helping Wade with his career like they wished he would etc). That sounds like a rather poor “grooming” job.
Claim 5: “It is not rare that child abuse victims do not disclose their abuse until many years later”
A frequent argument for Robson and Safechuck is that it is not rare that child abuse victims do not disclose their abuse until many, many years later. It also can happen that victims feel conflicted about and even protective of their abuser. That is absolutely true. We do not dispute that.
It is more rare, though, that a child abuse victim gives a strong testimony in defense of their abuser under oath – and that as an adult. It is also rare that they go around voluntarily praising their abuser for many years, calling them “one of the main reasons I believe in the pure goodness of human kind” , only to make a U-turn when they do not get a job with the Estate of their alleged abuser and their career crumbles.
But let us examine this argument a little bit in the context of the Robson/Safechuck allegations, especially because Dan Reed himself made the claim that the film perfectly answers the reasons for why these two men have not come out with their allegations earlier: because they were in love with the alleged abuser.
The problem is that the version that you hear in the film about their state of mind as to why they did not come out earlier was only one version of several that they told in their court documents. It contradicts with other versions of their story that were left out of the film.
In Safechuck’s case the story is so contradictory that when you read his complaint it is difficult to get a coherent picture about what he actually alleges his state of mind was all those years while denying abuse. As we have seen above, in one part of his complaint he claims that he did not know and understand that what Jackson allegedly had done to him was sexual abuse until his son was born in 2010/until he saw Robson on TV in 2013. In other parts of his complaint, however, he alleges he told his mother in 2005 that Jackson had sexually abused him and that Jackson was a “bad man”. [16; paragraph 74 and 11; paragraph 15] Contradicting the “love” angle, there is another narrative in Safechuck’s complaint – that Jackson threatened and intimidated him: “I knew that he could see to it that my life would be over if what happened ever came out” [11; paragraph 4], he alleges in his declaration.
(Mind you, when it serves their story both men portray Jackson as some sort of shrewd and threatening mafia boss who ran the “the most sophisticated public child sexual abuse procurement and facilitation organization[s] the world has known” and who could see to it that their lives would be over, yet in other parts of their story they portray him as someone who had the mental capacity of a child.)
Robson too contradicts himself a lot on what his state of mind was while denying abuse. According to Joy Robson’s deposition, to her he told he did not tell his “truth” in 2005 because he felt shame about it [25; page 188]:
As we have seen above, Wade too represented this “shame” narrative when he said during the Probate Court case that because he was “looking forward to being with Jackson sexually” [39; page 31], he felt ashamed about the abuse.
However, in his deposition during the Civil Court proceedings. he was on another version of his story. In that version he simply did not understand in 2005 that what allegedly had happened to him as a child was wrong and that he had any problem with it. He did not have any perspective on it until 2012. Any feeling of shame, guilt or anxiety he dealt with, he says, was in everyday social situations, not about the alleged abuse. Although now he tries to link those everyday anxiety, shame or guilt issues to his alleged sexual abuse, but fact is many people experience such feelings in life in social situations regardless if they had ever been sexually abused or not. He specifically states that until May 2012 he did not yet understand his alleged sexual abuse, so he did not feel any shame or guilt about it.
That Robson’s story changes according to audience is perfectly showcased in a blog post that he wrote in July 2018 where he lectures his audience on misguided definitions of masculinity. For the purpose of his topic, there he represents the version of his story where the shame and fear of being labeled as gay played a part in his silence:
However, as you have seen, in his 2016 deposition he was specifically asked whether the shame of being thought of as gay played a factor in his silence and there Wade denied that it did.
Robson and Safechuck know which buttons to push with whatever audience they are talking to. They meticulously prepared their lawsuits and themselves, and they both worked on their complaints for a year before filing them. They have lawyers who are well versed in precedent cases and in what angles could work in court and they also admittedly studied literature about child sexual abuse. Of course, in case of real abuse victims such literature can be a source of comfort and help. False accusers, on the other hand, may use such literature to collect material in order to build their own stories and adopt familiar elements of child sexual abuse and explanations into them to make themselves more passable as “victims”.
This would certainly explain the many contradictions in their stories: individually certain elements would make sense (some victims feel shame, some consider it love and do not feel ashamed about it, some are threatened and intimidated etc.), but when you jam them altogether in one story then those elements end up creating a very contradictory narrative.
Also, while it is true that many victims remain silent on their abuse for many years or sometimes even protect their abuser, but that phenomenon does not explain the numerous lies that Robson and Safechuck have told in this very case in court, while making these allegations.
Please also consider the fact, that while Robson and Safechuck claim that they are doing it it for other victims, not for money, their treatment of other alleged victims is inconsistent with that. In his deposition, Wade Robson was asked if he ever reached out to Gavin Arvizo, the boy at the center of the 2005 trial. Wade’s answer: “No. Not that I recall, no.” [10; page 160-161]. So despite of his claim that he filed this lawsuit, not for money but as some sort of advocacy for Jackson’s other “victims”, he never bothered to reach out and apologize to the boy whose justice Wade obscured if we believe the current version of his story that he had falsely testified at that trial.
The lawyers for Robson and Safechuck did “reach out” to Jordan Chandler,
Jackson’s 1993 accuser, but not in the way one would expect from a compassionate fellow “victim”. Their “reaching out” was trying to depose Jordan in support of his lawsuit, despite of Jordan obviously being opposed to it. Jordan, as he always does whenever it is time to tell his allegations in a court, ran away once again and refused to be served with the subpoena. As Wade’s legal team could not find him, they tried to depose his sister and his fianceé, who filed motions making it very clear that they do not want be dragged into Wade’s case. Instead of respecting the Chandlers’ obvious wish to stay away from the case, Wade’s legal team aggressively pursued them, filing counter-motions and trying to force them to testify. They even bragged in a tabloid article that they were trying to hunt down Jordan wherever he was hiding from them .
They also aggressively pursued Jonathan Spence, a man who befriended Jackson in the 1980s as a child. Spence never accused Jackson of any wrongdoing and he still says that Jackson never did anything wrong to him, but they tried to depose him nevertheless. They tried to get access to highly private information about Spence, such as his sexual and medical history.
In a motion where Spence opposed Robson’s strong-arm tactics to depose him without any sign of willing to compromise on the date when Spence could be available for a deposition, among other things, we read :
Claim 6: Brett Barnes and Macaulay Culkin were victims
The film implies that Brett Barnes and Macaulay Culkin “replaced” Robson and Safechuck as Jackson’s victims. Although Reed puts a disclaimer in his film that both men deny having been abused by Jackson, in interviews he continues to imply that they were victims. He knows that he has to because if they were not molested then that casts doubt on Robson and Safechuck’s stories as well, considering that Barnes and Culkin spent more time with Jackson than these accusers. Joy Robson in her deposition stated that Jackson preferred to hang out with both Barnes and Culkin rather than with Wade.
Both Barnes and Culkin adamantly deny any sexual abuse by Jackson. When Robson came out with his allegations in 2013, Barnes tweeted:
And when the news of Leaving Neverland hit the media:
Culkin too defended Jackson in a recent podcast interview (from around 1:10:40).
Reed is dishonest and/or superficial about a number of other issues as well. He mentions the testimony of Blanca Francia, a former maid of Jackson’s who alleged that she had once seen Jackson shower in the nude with Wade Robson. However, he fails to mention that Francia was paid by a tabloid TV show, Hard Copy for her story, and in a 1994 deposition she admitted that she did not see or hear Robson in the shower with Jackson, she only saw and heard Jackson, alone (Details). The same can be said about other ex-employees mentioned as supporting witnesses: the Quindoy couple, who only came up with their stories of allegedly witnessing abuse when tabloids paid for such stories during the 1993 allegations. Even tabloid journalists noted about them at the time that they were completely untrustworthy and that they just made up stories as they went along. Before the 1993 allegations and surrounding tabloid media frenzy they always talked in a positive manner about Jackson to the media. (Details.)
Reed mentions the 1993 settlement with Jordan Chandler as if it is a sign of guilt, but he fails to explain the legal background and circumstances behind it that would explain why Jackson was pressed to settle, regardless of his guilt or innocence.
He also repeats the old myth of Jordan Chandler’s description of Jackson’s genitalia supposedly matching photos made of it, while that is almost certainly not true.
Cynical remarks about Michael Jackson Estate’s, family, fans and other defenders
Rather than addressing the valid criticism leveled against his work and his quality of research in this case, Reed came back with cynical ad hominems against Jackson’s Estate and his family.
“Every time a song plays, a cash register goes ‘ka-ching.’ It doesn’t surprise me that they’ve come out fighting in defense of their asset” , he said in an interview.
Not only is this remark cynical, it is also very hypocritical, because let’s not forget that Reed is defending his asset as well. According to the introduction of his LA Times interview, he decided to make a documentary about the Jackson allegations, because “he was looking to do something big and investigative, an iconic American story that had the power to engage audiences on a global scale” . Robson and Safechuck’s allegations are Reed’s ticket to global fame as a documentary film maker. Nothing Reed ever did got this much attention and promotion. So he has just as much of a vested interest in Robson and Safechuck as the MJ Estate has in Jackson. This would explain Reed’s blatantly one-sided and superficial approach. Finding out that Robson and Safechuck might not be that credible would have threatened his big project. So he did not even want to give himself a chance to find out something like that. Like he said in interviews, his research was limited to talking to people (eg. prosecutors from the 2005 case) who would give him the angle that he wanted, while he was not interested in talking to people who might have offered a different perspective or refuted that angle.
Reed also compared Jackson fans and defenders to the cult of David Koresh in a fallacious attempt to discredit everything they say  (you should judge an argument based on its merit, and not based on who is saying it). But those defenders often cite court documents, depositions, many of them are intelligent, reasonable people who are very well versed in these allegations as they have followed this case through court documents in real time for over 5 years. Which cannot be said of most of the mainstream media that is cheerleading Reed’s film. They are simply throwing out emotional epithets and recurring buzzwords like the film is “compelling”, “powerful”, devastating”, that this one-sided story somehow “leaves no doubt” that Jackson was a “predator” and a “pervert” and that these men are “brave” for telling their one-sided story while the accused is not here to defend himself. They would be hard-pressed to cite court documents in this case, though, or talk about details of this case other than what they have been spoon-fed with in the film.
Reed himself does not seem to be aware of many aspects of this case and of the issues and problems it has, either. Or if he is then he deliberately omitted them from his film.
Leaving Neverland is about two men who have changed their stories. Their explanation as to why they supposedly “lied” all those years while denying abuse have various, contradictory versions. We have not one, but two adult men in this story alleging that until they were 29 (Robson) and 35 (Safechuck) years old, they just did not know or realize that the heinous acts described in the film were sexual abuse and that sex between a child and a man was wrong. Although both are heterosexual, they both allege the same story of being “in love” with the alleged abuser all those years while denying abuse. They also had a very similar realization process involving their sons. And they are also represented by the same lawyers.
The fact is that there is no evidence that they lied all those years while denying abuse, but there is evidence of them lying numerous times during their current litigation, while making these sexual abuse claims. And these sexual abuse claims come with a lawsuit against Jackson’s entities in which Robson and Safechuck demand a monetary compensation.
Why exactly are we supposed to brush aside all the red flags in this case, suspend critical thinking and just believe them? Because they have a huge platform in the form of a one-sided, manipulatively put together film backed by a huge promotional campaign? Because their stories are sexually explicit and shocking? Because the Zeitgeist is that we should just believe anyone who makes a sexual abuse claim and Robson and Safechuck use that Zeitgeist in their favor?
The presumption of innocence until found guilty is a very important pillar in modern societies that we should insist on. Otherwise we might as well as go back to witch hunts and lynch mobs. These two men have proven nothing. They are making one-sided allegations and they are simply given a huge platform to do so, while Jackson is not here to defend himself, face and confront his accusers. Accusers who have changed their stories amidst monetary demands and have a very compromised credibility.
 60 Minutes Interview with Ed Bradley in 2003
 Wade Robson’s blog “Wade’s Window” – BE A MAN (July 6, 2018)
 Deposition Transcript of Wade Jeremy William Robson (December 12, 2016) – case number BC508502
 Supplemental Declaration of Claimant/Creditor James Safechuck in Support of Amended Petition for Order to Allow Filing of Late Claim Against Estate (filed on March 18, 2015)
 Declaration of Maryann R. Marzano (filed on May 5, 2014)
 Claimant/Creditor James Safechuck’s Opposition to Demurrer of the Executors of the Estate of Michael Jackson to Claimant’s Petition for Order to Allow Filing of Late Claim Against Estate (filed on December 3, 2014)
 Notice of Petition and Petition for Order to Allow Filing of Late Claim Against Estate; Memorandum of Points and Authorities in Support Thereof (filed by Wade Robson on June 27, 2013)
 Declaration of Wade Robson (April 30, 2013)
 James Safechuck’s Second Amended Complaint (filed on September 19, 2016)
 Victor Gutierrez – Michael Jackson Was My Lover (Alamo Square Dist Inc, 1996)
 Dr. Richard Gardner’s interview with Jordan Chandler in October 1993
 Jacko: Accuser’s Uncle to Publish Exposé (FoxNews, September 8, 2004)
 Declaration of Jordan Chandler in the case “Michael Jackson vs. Diane Dimond et.al.” (August 19, 1997)
 Jan Fleischhauer and Wiebke Hollersen – The Sexual Revolution and Children, How the Left Took Things Too Far (Der Spiegel, July 2, 2010)
 “Es war Liebe!” (Die Tageszeitung, April 5, 2005)
 Robert Sandall – Michael Jackson Was My Lover (Brtish GQ Magazine, September 2006)
 Wade Robson’s Fourth Amended Complaint – see as an attachment to Notice of Plaintiff Wade Robson’s Motion to Amend the Third Amended Complaint; Memorandum of Points and Authortities (filed on September 9, 2016)
 Deposition Transcript of Lynette Joy Robson (September 30, 2016)
 Deposition Transcript of John Branca (October 18, 2017)
 Damion Stein interview from the 2005 British documentary “Michael Jackson’s Boys”
In the fashion of Martin Bashir, this documentary operated using innuendo and suggestive narration in order to raise suspicion about Jackson’s relationship with male children, however it is the narration that gives Damion’s words a suggestive angle, while Damion never claimed any wrongdoing by Jackson. For the record, the mother, Glenda Stein, stated on Facebook, commenting an article about Jackson in September, 2011, that she has never believed that Jackson was a pedophile: “I never thought that Michael was a pedophile. He loved kids but not in that sick way. Leave his family alone.” http://www.facebook.com/aol/posts/226747887382305?comment_id=2815772
 From Wade Robson’s entry in The Official Michael Jackson Opus (OPUS Media Group, December 7, 2009)
 Judge Rodney S. Melville’s Ruling about the 1108 Motion of the Prosecution at Michael Jackson’s 2005 trial (March 28, 2005)
 Scott Ross’s answers to an e-mail inquiring about Safechuck’s claims:
 Juliens Auctions tweets (February 23 and 24, 2019)
 Ralph Chacon’s testimony at Michael Jackson’s 2005 trial (April 7, 2005) http://michaeljacksonallegations.com/wp-content/uploads/2014/11/Court-Transcripts.zip
 Kassim Abdool’s testimony at Michael Jackson’s 2005 trial (April 25, 2005)
 Adrian McManus’ testimony at Michael Jackson’s 2005 trial (April 8, 2005)
 Ruling on Submitted Matter – Motion for Summary Judgement Wade Robson’s Late Claim Petition
 Michael Jackson’s first molestation accuser, Jordan Chandler, is being sought by lawyers for other alleged abuse victims (New York Daily News, July 8, 2017)
 Non-Party Jonathan Spence’s Notice of Motion and Motion for Protective Order and Request for Monetary Sanctions in the Amount of $5,135.00; Memorandum of Points and Authorities and Declaration of Sean M. Hardy in Support Thereof (filed on August 29, 2017)
 Claimant Wade Robson’s Response to Executors of the Estate of Michael J. Jackson’s Separate Statement of Undisputed Facts in Opposition to Executor’s Motion for Summary Judgement, or in the Alternative Summary Adjudication of Issues, on the Petition to File a Late Claim (March 20, 2015)