Sunday, May 19, 2024

New documentary series revisits abuse

If he hasn’t been exiled from your personal music library yet, now is the time to do so.

Friendships, relationships and sexual abuse. HBO’s explicit documentary “Leaving Neverland,” a two-part documentary series that premiered on March 3 and is a tell-all of the alleged sexual abuse victims of Michael Jackson. 

Wade Robson and James “Jimmy” Safechuck, the then 7 and 10-year-old victims, recounted the time they spent with the King of Pop and detailed their relationships with him behind closed doors. 

Through painful interviews, the documentary paints a bigger picture of the timeline of abuse that has led the men to speak up. The victims had denied any relationship for years, and once they thought it was time to own up to the truth and come clean, many thought it was a hoax for money. 

The issues of child molestation and sexual abuse surpasses Jackson and his career. It’s bigger than one person as it continues to becomes a prevalent issue in society. 

“Leaving Neverland” never poses any arguments disputing the victims, which can be seen as both a positive and a negative; a positive because it allows a full platform for Robson and Safechuck to tell their stories, and a negative because it doesn’t allow for other voices. 

Criminals come in all shapes, sizes, races and classes in life. Just because Jackson was adored for his music doesn’t mean he wasn’t capable of doing harm.

The idolization of the celebrity is so ground-breaking and people frequently treat the rich and famous as divine beings. They can do nothing wrong in the public eye until their bad behavior hits the web for the world to see. At that point, one must disassociate the celebrity from the criminal. 

Take the “superstar” element away from Jackson and transform him into a normal 30-year-old, who said he jumped at the chance to climb trees, play with toys and watch kids television shows.  He is like a “9- year-old,” saying your child is his closest companion, and talking to children on the phone for hours at a time. Would you let your kid rest alone in his home, let alone in his bed?

Well, some parents did. 

After openly admitting to allowing her then 7-year-old son to stay in a room with Jackson, Joy Robson, mother of Wade, was asked if she was ever suspicious of Jackson’s behavior. “Just kid things, they were just doing kid things,” she said.

Stephanie Safechuck, Jimmy’s mother said, “I didn’t think it was appropriate for my son to go sleep with him.” She later added, “You drive in [to Neverland] and you forget about all of your problems, It was a fantasy.” 

The abundance of movements against sexual abuse making headlines have been trailblazing for victims worldwide. The pattern of sexual abuse is one we’ve seen time and time again. Jackson and R&B singer R-Kelly both preyed on the weak psychologically and emotionally, leaving the victims oblivious to the abuse happening before their eyes.  

In a recent interview with Gayle King, R Kelly was unhinged when speaking about his scandal with underage girls. Kelly lost his temper when King asked if he has had sex with any underage woman. 

He continually denied the allegations saying, “I am not a devil and by no means am I a monster.”  

King’s composure was calm and unwavered while Kelly blew up in front of her. Money and fame enable celebrities to get away with horrible things normal people wouldn’t be able to. 

Robson and Safechuck have since been taunted over the delay of their confessions and spoke out about their feelings and the timing of the abuse to Oprah in a separate interview that aired on HBO. 

Ridiculed over something that occurred when their brains were developing and being questioned about “normal” development of trauma was wrong. Though they are fully developed adults now, the judgment toward what happened with children is unfair.  As children, they were not capable to discern between abuse and love. Children will do anything their protector asks them to do in order to secure that love they need. This is clearly the situation with the relationships Jackson had with Robson and Safechuck. 

It is scary and uncomfortable to now know that the safe and secure sound of the very pop stars we idolize can be something very different when the stage lights turn off and the music stops. 

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