Following the airing of the second part in the “Leaving Neverland” documentary, Oprah hosted a special with the two men who allege Michael Jackson sexually assaulted them. But social media have since erupted with abusive and hate-filled messages aimed at the Queen of talk.
After the second part of the two-part series of “Leaving Neverland” aired, HBO followed it up with “Oprah Winfrey Presents: After Neverland.”
The two-part documentary directed by Dan Reed focuses on the allegations of two men, 36-year-old Wade Robson, and 41-year-old James Safechuck against Michael Jackson for sexual abuse.
The first part of the documentary showed how Michael Jackson gained the trust of Robson and Safechuck’s parents, how he lavished them with gifts that even included a house. The last part of the series focussed more on the actual allegations.
Michael’s family referred to “Leaving Neverland” as a “public lynching” of a man who is not here to defend himself. They also pointed out that the late singer was found not guilty following the criminal trial of another boy in 2005. Both James and Wade had also previously testified that Michael had never laid a hand on them.
For Oprah’s special, she had the British director Dan Reed along with the two accusers, Wade and James on stage for a discussion about the two-part series.
Oprah asked the two accusers some tough questions about their change in testimony and their long silence before they spoke up. The talk show host also spoke of the first time she saw “Leaving Neverland” as it was so much more to her than just the story at hand as she said:
“After I saw Leaving Neverland for the first time, I called up Dan Reed—I didn’t know Dan Reed—and told him, ‘Dan,’ I said, ‘You were able to illustrate in these four hours what I tried to explain in 217 (episodes of my show).’ And I know people all over the world are gonna be in an uproar and debating whether or not Michael Jackson did these things or not, whether these two men are lying or not lying, but for me, this moment transcends Michael Jackson.”
Speaking of the bigger picture, Oprah added:
“It is much bigger than any one person. This is a moment in time that allows us to see this societal corruption. It’s like a scourge on humanity.”
Having experienced sexual abuse herself, Oprah showed empathy and shared understanding with the two accusers when they shared accounts of what happened to them.
Although Oprah made it clear that the type of situation is cause for inquiry, rather than just individual cases, Michael Jackson supporters responded with anger and hate speech as one MJ fan wrote:
Others believe all Oprah cares about is the money she rakes in from this special featuring Michael’s accusers:
Negative, derogatory comments are plentiful and also called Oprah out on her friendship with Harvey Weinstein up on charges of sexual assault as another wrote:
It didn't take long for members of Michael Jackson’s family to speak out about Oprah’s special either. Shortly after it aired, Michael’s older brother, Jermaine Jackson slammed the talk show host for praising “Leaving Neverland” during the show.