• TheFinalGirl

"Leaving Neverland" Is Easier Said Than Done.

Updated: Mar 25, 2019

FADE IN:


I don't really remember ever being introduced to the "King of Pop" that is Michael Jackson. I think he is ingrained into our minds as soon as we're born like an instinct if that makes sense. Kind of like Disney World, we already know at a young age that that's our dream vacation!


I've never been a die-hard fan of MJ, never got into the craze although I undoubtedly LOVE his music and dance moves and I do have memories of him.


My Best Friend's Dad in elementary school was his biggest fan! One night she brought over the behind-the-scenes video of Thriller and boy was I scared to watch it! My Aunt Monica was also there and to make me feel better about Michael Jackson transforming into the werewolf, she told me "See! It's like he's a giant pussycat!" I'll never forget that. A few years ago I visited the "Thriller" house in downtown Los Angeles. It looks exactly the same as it does in the video.


Another memory is watching the short film he was in promoting the film, Addams Family Values. Does anyone else remember that?!


And then I remember the day he died. My family and I were taking my little sister to leadership camp at Villanova University (which I loved!) and then after that we all went to Applebee's and that is when everyone's heads in the restaurant turned towards the TV screen. "King of Pop" Michael Jackson dies at age 50. My first thought was, "Darn. I'll never be able to cross Seeing Michael Jackson in Concert off of my bucket list. That would have been really cool".


A few months later, my Step-Dad got me the This Is It DVD so I could still experience a Michael Jackson concert. Just a month ago, I rewatched it on Netflix and it's amazing. And then I see the trailer for Leaving Neverland.



I knew a little bit about Wade Robson, only that he like dated Britney Spears at one point or another. And I never heard of James Safechuck. I knew that Michael Jackson had allegations, but I didn't really believe them because I'm a Corey Feldman fan and he swears Michael Jackson could never do such a thing.


I love documentaries especially when they are about music, movies or celebrities so I got the free trial of HBO NOW so I could watch both parts and then watch the Oprah Winfrey interview after.


I will never unsee or unhear Leaving Neverland.


I watched Leaving Neverland Sunday night and Monday morning. It's Wednesday, and I still cannot stop thinking about it. That's why I'm writing this blog so I can get my thoughts out. I tried rewatching it so my mind would be fresh for the blog, but it was way too much for me to handle again.


I enjoyed watching both of these men's stories of how much of an influence Michael Jackson was early on in their lives BEFORE the abuse began. They are two of the cutest kids I have ever seen and THEY CAN DANCE.


Left - James Safechuck, Right - Wade Robson

I was completely smitten by the Pepsi commercial of both Safechuck and Jackson where James Safechuck states that his reaction of seeing Michael on camera is his REAL reaction of his first time seeing him. His laugh alone exudes innocence.


The descriptions of abuse start right off the bat and there is so much footage of Safechuck and Jackson. It truly looked like they were a couple holding hands in Disneyland and running away together from the paparazzi.


I will not go through it all, but I will say Safechuck's relationship with Michael exceeded being a friendship at the tender age of 10 years old. What struck me most was that Michael held a faux wedding ceremony for the both of them and in the documentary Safechuck shows us the diamond encrusted ring.


I personally believe Wade Robson kept his sexual "relationship" with Jackson a secret and testified several times that MJ was innocent because it would ruin his career and his relationship with the Jackson family. I believe that the both of them kept it a secret because they truly loved Michael like a family member (Wade knew him since he was 5 and James knew him since he was 10!) and didn't want him to be thrown into jail especially when the second allegations were when Michael had kids and was physically ill.


The documentary is four hours long set against a haunting whimsical musical score. We learn everything about both families and it's crazy to believe how involved Michael Jackson was in their lives. Even though both of the men blame their mothers, you can understand how the mothers did not suspect a thing. Jackson groomed them with houses, all expense paid trips from Australia to the US, vacations at the Neverland Ranch, etc. It's heartbreaking to hear the men state that they still have not forgiven their mothers after all of these years and I don't think the mothers will ever be able to forgive themselves.


I was still left with unanswered questions after watching all FOUR HOURS and the interview! What did Safechuck's dad think of all of this? Did Jackson leave anything to them in his will? And most importantly to me... Do they still love to dance?


Like Judd Apatow stated on Twitter: "It takes days to recover from this documentary".


So why is "Leaving Neverland" easier said than done? Because I believe Wade Robson and James Safechuck. These men were considered family and lovers.


Safechuck said, "When the attention is no longer on the film, I still have to go on and deal with this. This will be the rest of my life".


And what will stay with me, was when Wade was describing the night he found Jackson huddled in a dark corner, sobbing about not wanting Wade and his family to go back to Australia after staying with him for a week at the Neverland Ranch. Wade was 7 at the time and he thought that was the night he'd experience Michael Jackson transform into the "Thriller" werewolf...


Little did he know, Jackson didn't need a transformation.


Music Listened To While Writing:

Michael Jackson - Man In The Mirror





FADE OUT




67 views

© 2019 by Casey J. Hempel