Unless you've successfully managed to avoid the entire internet for the past week, it's likely you'll have witnessed the online storm which is the Leaving Neverland documentary. The HBO show details the abuses of now-disgraced King of Pop, Michael Jackson, focusing on two survivors in particular, Wade Robson and James Safechuck.
The emotional subject matter and unflinching detail makes for some difficult viewing, but the impact of the documentary is clear. In fact, many have called for a boycott on Jackson's music in the wake of the horrific allegations.
The documentary didn't offer too much in the way of defence for Jackson - there were no interviews with anyone on his side of the story. But now Jackson's daughter has broken her silence on the subject. Taking to Twitter to get her voice heard, Paris decried the hysteria surrounding the doc, and offered everyone some (slightly bizarre) advice.
Michael Jackson was one of the most famous men of all time.He existed in an era of celebrity that just doesn't exist anymore. His musical talents and slightly oddball persona made him more of a godlike figure than an actual human being.
He rose to fame at a particularly young age.Jackson was a part of child pop band, The Jackson 5. Many have speculated that his youth in the limelight, plus troubled relationship with his father, caused Jackson serious psychological damage.
There's no denying he was a troubled man.One way this manifested was in his ever-changing appearance. Jackson suffered vitiligo, and wore heavy white makeup to cover his skin tone. He also underwent multiple plastic surgeries, most famously on his nose.
But there was another slightly odd aspect to Jackson's character.Throughout his career, he had consistently close relationships with a number of young boys. These boys would be alternately chosen as Jackson's 'favorite,' and granted special privileges with him, including sharing his bed while on tour.
These relationships have long been subject to speculation.
via: Getty ImagesAnd they've recently been brought to the fore, thanks to a certain HBO documentary. Directed by Dan Reed (pictured here at the premiere at the Sundance Film Festival), Leaving Neverland was released last week, and has caused an enormous impact.
The documentary aired on HBO.It detailed the abuses Jackson inflincted in his career, focusing particularly on the harrowing experiences of two Jackson survivors. The doc made for extremely difficult viewing, but told a hugely important story.
Two men shared their experiences with Jackson.
via: Getty ImagesJames Safechuck, pictured here aged ten in 1988 with Jackson, had a long "relationship" with the star which lasted through his childhood and adolescence. In a particularly horrific part of the documentary, Safechuck shares memories of a fake wedding ceremony he and Jackson shared.
Wade Robson was the other accuser.
via: Getty ImagesHe'd actually spoken out before on his past abuse by Jackson, on the Today Show in 2013. Robson had similar experiences with Jackson to Safechuck, and eventually had his family uprooted from Perth, Australia to Los Angeles in order to be closer to the star.
This wasn't the first time the public have heard allegations against Jackson.
via: Getty ImagesIn fact, Jackson has managed to avoid two convictions in the past - once, paying off the victim's family, and another time found not-guilty by a jury. Many fans of the star believe the allegations are a calculated plan to tear him down.
After the documentary aired, Oprah hosted an emotional interview.Both Robson and Safechuck were interviewed, alongside director Dan Reed. The audience was primarily made up of survivors of child sexual abuse. It makes for powerful viewing.
In the wake of the documentary, some defenders have come forward.
via: Getty ImagesMany of Jackson's most intense and dedicated fans have decided the allegations against their hero must be false, and have started a campaign to defend him. Here are some protesters outside the Sundance premiere.
Many don't want their hero's reputation tarnished.
Some of those closest to Jackson have spoken out in support.
#Neverland OK I WATCHED IT ALL I KNOW IS WHAT I EXPERIENCED, & YES EVERY EXPERIENCE WAS THE SAME....RIGHT UP 2 THE… https://t.co/96bgju9Syf— Corey Feldman (@Corey Feldman)1551688039.0
Nonetheless, it seems the majority believe the allegations.The impacts have been clear. Many institutions are seeking to professionally distance themselves from Jackson, including The Simpsons, who have pulled their episode featuring the musician.
It was thought keeping the episode in the run was too problematic and potentially damaging to the survivors.Speaking to NME, produces James L Brooks said, "“It feels clearly the only choice to make. The documentary gave evidence of monstrous behviour. I’m against book burning of any kind. But this is our book, and we’re allowed to take out a chapter."
Many radio stations are seeking to distance themselves from Jackson, too.
Michael Jackson's music has been 'dropped' by BBC Radio 2 https://t.co/YLlVnFUEA5— The Independent (@The Independent)1551609784.0
There are reports of a counter-documentary in production.
via: Getty ImagesJackson's nephew, Taj, has decried Leaving Neverland as overly biased, and wants to tell the whole story in a new movie.
Public opinion seems to be on the side of the accusers.
Well #LeavingNeverland is horrendous. I loved Michael as a kid but we need to be able to speak about the fact that… https://t.co/JNGULDpYmk— Protect Trans Kids / BLM ✊🏾 (@Protect Trans Kids / BLM ✊🏾)1552295828.0
Journalist Abby Martin also spoke out.
#LeavingNeverland is one of the most horrifying documentaries I’ve ever seen. It leaves absolutely no question that… https://t.co/2DFKXW0IEk— Abby Martin (@Abby Martin)1552186510.0
In spite of this, the movement in Jackson's defence is also gaining momentum.
I’m so so happy about that 😭❤️ #MJInnocent https://t.co/a8iE379hhZ— Best of michael Jackson (@Best of michael Jackson)1552082347.0
Those closest to Jackson have largely remained silent on the subject, until now.
via: Getty ImagesOne of Jackson's kids, Paris, has taken to Twitter to air her thoughts on both the documentary, and on what it means for her father's legacy.
Jackson has three biological children.His eldest, Michael Junior, was born 1997, and his second, Paris Michael, was born in 1998. Their mother was Debbie Rowe - who claimed she never actually had intercourse with Jackson.
His third child, Prince Michael Jackson II, was born in 2002.
via: Getty ImagesThe baby was nicknamed "Blanket," and Jackson caused huge controversy for dangling the child over the edge of a balcony in Berlin. Jackson later apologized for the incident.
Now Paris, Jackson's daughter, has spoken up.
@omertaamor yeah they do that to everyone with a good heart and tries to make a dfference but do you really think t… https://t.co/n4VWUSUVzx— PK (@PK)1551944282.0
Paris claims the allegations are part of a media scandal.
@omertaamor so..... not love and peace and trying to carry that message out? tabloids and lies are the bigger picture? i’ll pray for you— PK (@PK)1551943770.0
Paris thinks the best course of action is to ignore the story.
if everyone reacted this way towards articles, they’d stop making lies and start writing actual news https://t.co/wWB4Jm1IGL— PK (@PK)1551944123.0
She finished with this (slightly odd) message.
y’all take my life more seriously than i do. calm yo tittaaaaysss— PK (@PK)1551918569.0
There's no denying this story must be horrific for Jackson's kids.
via: Getty ImagesNot only do they have to hear the allegations, but they have to know that the entire world is talking about them, too. We can't imagine how they must be feeling.
In this context, Paris's pleas for calm seem a little more understandable.
Nonetheless, standing with survivors is really the only course of action.
Michael Jackson Estate Questions Why Accusers Only Coming Forward Steadily Since Early 1990s https://t.co/cDsgX0D09C https://t.co/6qUmld55hU— The Onion (@The Onion)1552264924.0