At the end of the extraordinary special following the final installment of HBO’s Leaving Neverland documentary on Monday, Oprah Winfrey turned to the three men she was interviewing before saying, “We’re all gonna get it.”
Leaving Neverland is a four-hour film that follows James Safechuck and Wade Robson as they recount the alleged sexual abuse at the hands of Michael Jackson when they were little boys.
What Winfrey meant was that herself, the two men featured in the documentary and the doc’s director, Dan Reed, would become targets for the Jackson estate and his loyal fans, who are angry about the controversial HBO documentary.
“Don’t let anybody in your world make it about what Michael Jackson did or do not do,” Winfrey told the audience, which was made up predominately of child sexual abuse survivors. “It’s about this thing, this insidious pattern that’s happening in our culture that we refuse to look at.”
“I hope we can get past Michael Jackson, the icon,” she added. “Stop staring into the sun and do what is necessary to heal our children and heal ourselves.”
HBO went ahead and broadcasted the film despite a $100-million US lawsuit filed by the Jackson estate to prevent it from airing. And fans have been steadfast in their denials of Wade and Safechuck’s accounts, calling them liars, extortionists and everything else in between.
But Oprah was also on the receiving end of some of that ire beforre and after the special aired. Jermaine Jackson, Michael’s older brother, specifically called her and other media outlets out for “taking #LeavingNeverland at face value, shaping a narrative uninterested in facts, proof, credibility.”
So many in media, inc @Oprah, blindly taking #LeavingNeverland at face value, shaping a narrative uninterested in facts, proof, credibility. We faced similar "graphic" claims + trial-by-media in '05. Jury saw through it all. Trial-by-law proved Michael's innocence long ago. Fact.
— Jermaine Jackson (@jermjackson5) March 4, 2019
— Nicholas Hollywood Tetreault (@nicholastmusic) March 5, 2019
Trash immoral !
She is advocating for those proven liars who r selling false stories..
They r lying !
AND so is Oprah. She knows they r liars but she has her own vested interests and agendas.
Also when will she interview his friend's Harvey Weinstein's accusers?🤔
— 🍃🌹🌸🌻🍃 (@DREAMS_InMOTION) March 5, 2019
I'm done with Oprah but she's going to get dragged internationally. I'll worry about Queen Sugar and Greenleaf later. I can't believe this is happening, I never thought I would #muteoprah
— I Am A Rich Child of a Loving Universe $$ (@richuniversekid) March 5, 2019
But many also stood with Winfrey’s decision to use her platform to talk more about child sexual abuse and the impact it has on the lives of its victims.
No one does it like Oprah. That #AfterNeverland special was educational, compelling, emotional, necessary TV. "This moment transcends Michael Jackson."
— Kevin Fallon (@kpfallon) March 5, 2019
— Ellen DeGeneres (@TheEllenShow) March 5, 2019