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Leaving Neverland: First Trailer For Devastating New Michael Jackson Documentary Released

HBO/Channel 4 production features the testimonies of two men who allege that the singer sexually abused them as children

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Powered by Guardian.co.ukThis article titled “Leaving Neverland: first trailer for ‘devastating’ Michael Jackson documentary” was written by Benjamin Lee, for theguardian.com on Tuesday 19th February 2019 19.32 UTC

It’s a documentary Michael Jackson’s estate doesn’t want you to see. But despite legal threats, HBO and Channel 4 will air Leaving Neverland next month.

A new trailer offers a first look at the troubling two-part, four-hour film that premiered at Sundance film festival last month, featuring the testimonies of James Safechuck and Wade Robson, who allege that Jackson sexually abused them as children.

“He told me if they ever found out what we were doing, he and I would go to jail,” says Robson in the trailer.

The film shocked critics and audiences when it was shown at Sundance. Variety’s Owen Gleiberman called it “devastating” and the Hollywood Reporter’s Daniel Fienberg praised it as “complicated and heartbreaking”.

“This is not a movie about Michael Jackson,” said director Dan Reed to Variety. “This is not a movie about Michael Jackson abusing little boys. It’s a movie about two families and how two families came to terms with what their sons revealed to them many years after Jackson died.”

Jackson’s estate has already criticised the film in a 10-page letter addressed to HBO’s CEO. It denied the allegations and condemned director Dan Reed for not speaking to anyone in Jackson’s family or legal team. Since the film premiered, some Jackson fans have attacked the director and the two accusers.

“There is also this league of fans who are almost like a cult, and they say very nasty things [about the film] on social media,” Reed said to Vice. “And their words echo the two-decade-long rhetoric of the Jackson family and legal team, which is shaming the victims. It happens often in these cases. It’s what they do very aggressively and relentlessly, and I don’t think you can get away with that in 2019 like you could in the past.”

(August 18, 1993)  LAPD investigation

After Jordan Chandler makes allegations during a police interview that Jackson has abused him, an investigation begins. Jackson had met the 12-year-old boy the previous year.

(August 25, 1993) Barnes and Robson press conference

Teenagers Brett Barnes and Wade Robson hold a press conference stating that they had shared a bed with Jackson on multiple occasions, but that nothing sexual had happened.

(September 14, 1993)  Chandlers sue Jackson

A lawsuit from the Chandler family alleges sexual abuse by Jackson and seeks m.

(December 22, 1993) Jackson video statement

Jackson describes being strip-searched and photographed by the LAPD two days earlier as “the most humiliating ordeal of my life”. He states: “I am not guilty of these allegations, but if I am guilty of anything it is of giving all that I have to give to help children all over the world.”

(January 25, 1994)  Jackson settles lawsuit

Jackson settles out of court with the Chandlers for m – m goes to Jordan Chandler to be held in a trust fund until he turns 18.

(September 15, 1994) LAPD investigation fails

After two grand juries fail to indict, and Jordan Chandler tells authorities he will not testify in court, the Los Angeles and Santa Barbara district attorneys end their investigation.

(May 31, 1995) Scream released

The lead single from Jackson’s album HIStory is released. A duet with his sister Janet, the song angrily addresses media coverage of the child sexual abuse allegations against him. 

(February 6, 2003)  Bashir documentary

Jackson discusses regularly having sleepovers with children, including a young cancer patient named Gavin Arvizo, in Living with Michael Jackson – a documentary fronted by the British journalist Martin Bashir. “It’s not sexual,” said Jackson on-screen. “We’re going to sleep. I tuck them in. It’s very charming.” The film rekindles police investigations.

(November 18, 2003) Police raid and arrest

Jackson’s Neverland estate is again searched by police, and a week later Jackson is arrested.

(December 18, 2003) Jackson charged

Michael Jackson is formally charged with committing lewd and lascivious acts with a child under the age of 14.

(February 28, 2005)  Trial begins

During Jackson’s trial, Arvizo and his younger brother testify that the singer showed them pornography and made them drink “Jesus juice” – wine. Both say Jackson masturbated in front of them and molested Arvizo on multiple occasions. Blanca Francia, one of Jackson’s former housekeepers, testifies she saw Jackson showering with Wade Robson. Witnesses for the defence, including Macaulay Culkin and Robson, say that Jackson never molested them.  

(June 13, 2005)  Not guilty verdict

The jury finds Jackson not guilty on all 14 charges brought against him.

(June 25, 2009)  Jackson dies

In the run-up to This Is It, a planned residency at London’s O2 Arena, Jackson dies age 50 of a cardiac arrest

(May 15, 2013)  Wade Robson sues

Wade Robson takes legal action against the Jackson estate, alleging that Michael Jackson molested him over a seven-year period between the ages of seven and 14.

(November 15, 2014)  James Safechuck sues

Safechuck alleges Jackson abused him on more than 100 occasions after the pair met when Safechuck appeared in a Pepsi commercial alongside the singer.

(January 25, 2019) Leaving Neverland

Dan Reed’s four-hour documentary Leaving Neverland opens at the Sundance film festival. In it Wade Robson and James Safechuck discuss at length the abuse they claim they suffered at Jackson’s hands. It is described as “a public lynching” by Jackson’s surviving family. 

(March 3, 2019)  Television screenings

Leaving Neverland is shown on the HBO network in the US, with a UK screening on Channel 4 on 6 and 7 March. The Jackson estate sue HBO for 0m, claiming the network is in breach of a non-disparagement clause in a 1992 contract.

(March 6, 2019)  Radio ban

Radio stations around the world, including in New Zealand and Canada, begin to pull Jackson’s music from the airwaves.

Earlier this month, a Chicago pre-run of an upcoming Broadway show based around Jackson’s music was cancelled because of the Actors’ Equity Association strike reportedly causing delays. Equity has rejected that its “modest” demand was to blame for the cancellation.

“The developmental lab that was scheduled for this production was delayed by 12 working days during the strike,” a spokesman said. “It is difficult to understand how a modest delay in February would impact a run that was scheduled for late October.”

guardian.co.uk © Guardian News & Media Limited 2010

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Cardinal George Pell’s Appeal Denied; Convictions On Sex Abuse Will Stand

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MELBOURNE, Australia — An Australian court has confirmed convictions against the most superior Catholic to be found condemned of child sex abuse.


The Victoria state Court of Appeal by a 2-1 majority ruling published Wednesday denied Cardinal George Pell’s appeal of the unanimous verdicts a jury issued in December finding Pope Francis’ former finance minister condemned of molesting two 13-year-old choirboys in Melbourne’s St. Patrick’s Cathedral in 1996 and 1997.

At the time, Pell had just become archbishop of Australia’s second-largest city and had established an international-first reimbursement method for victims of clergical sexual abuse.

His lawyers are predicted to appeal the decision in the High Court, Australia’s final arbitrator.

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Attorney Cites Trump’s Rhetoric In National Anthem Attack On Montana Teenager

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Curt James Brockway, 39, is charged with felony assault on a minor.(Montana Department of Corrections)

MISSOULA, Mont. (AP) — The attorney for a Montana man accused of throwing a 13-year-old boy to the ground at a rodeo because the teenager didn’t remove his hat during the national anthem says his client believes he was acting on an order from President Trump.


Attorney Lance Jasper told the Missoulian newspaper that the president’s “rhetoric” contributed to 39-year-old Curt Brockway’s disposition when he grabbed the boy by the throat and slammed him to the ground, fracturing his skull at the Mineral County Fairgrounds on Saturday.

Jasper said Brockway is an Army veteran who believes he was acting on an order by his commander in chief. He adds that Brockway’s decision-making has been affected by a brain injury he suffered in a vehicle crash.

Brockway is charged with felony assault on a minor.

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Ruth Bader Ginsburg: ‘I am very much alive’

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(CNN) — Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg on Tuesday sought to quell concerns that her recent health-related issues could cause her to leave the court, saying in a new interview, “I am very much alive.”

The comments to NPR from Ginsburg, 86 — who earlier this year took a break from the court after undergoing cancer surgery — come amid concerns from progressives that her death or retirement would give President Donald Trump an opportunity to replace a reliably liberal seat on the court with a conservative justice. Ginsburg has sought in recent days to signal that her health is stable and she has no plans to step down with the court facing major issues in its next session on immigration, gun control, gay rights and possibly abortion.

During Ginsburg’s recent surgery, doctors removed from her left lung two cancerous nodules, which were found during scans taken after the justice sustained three fractured ribs in a fall last November. In the interview with NPR, published Wednesday, Ginsburg made reference to the late Sen. Jim Bunning, R-Kentucky, who suggested in 2009 that she would soon die from the pancreatic cancer she had been diagnosed with.

“There was a senator — I think it was after the pancreatic cancer — who announced with great glee that I was going to be dead within six months. That senator — whose name I’ve forgotten — is now himself dead. And I am very much alive,” Ginsburg said.

Bunning, who later apologized for the remarks, died in 2017.

In the NPR interview, Ginsburg also weighed in on an idea circulating among some Democrats to increase the number of justices on the court should a Democrat be elected president, saying she disagreed.

“Well, if anything, it would make the court appear partisan. It would be that one side saying, ‘when we’re in power, it was only to enlarge the number of judges so we will have more people who will vote the way we want them to,'” she said. “So I am not at all in favor of that solution to what I see as a temporary situation.”

Ginsburg’s health has become the subject of much attention in recent years. In November 2014, she underwent a heart procedure to have a stent placed in her right coronary artery, and in 2009, she was treated for early stages of pancreatic cancer.

In 1999, just six years after being sworn in as an associate justice, she successfully underwent surgery to treat colon cancer.

Last July, Ginsburg said she hopes to stay on the bench past 2020. On Tuesday, she revealed that she traveled with the late Justice John Paul Stevens “in the last week of his life” to Lisbon, Portugal, for a conference where the two justices attended meetings, visited museums, vineyards and castles.

“His conversation was engaging, his memory amazing,” she said on Tuesday. As they were leaving the US ambassador’s residence during their last evening in Lisbon, Ginsburg told Stevens, “My dream is to remain on the court as long as you did.”

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