It’s Time to Leave Neverland

 BY Samantha O’Donnell

Staff Reporter

The world once viewed Michael Jackson as the King of Pop. Now, his reputation is being questioned with the release of the HBO documentary, “Leaving Neverland.”

“Leaving Neverland” tells a disturbing story of two men, Wade Robson and James Safechuck, who were allegedly groomed by Jackson for sex. The two men claim Jackson molested them when they were little boys, according to The Associated Press. 

Students had their own opinions about the allegations against Jackson. 

“Obviously, anyone that would do that with a child or minor is a monster and is absolutely detestable,” said junior Mike Villanueva.  

This is not the first time Jackson has been accused of molestation.

In 2003, another documentary centered around the pop star called “Living with Michael Jackson,” showed the singer’s relationship with a boy named Gavin Arvizo. This documentary led to a trial in 2005, where Jackson was accused of molestation, but ultimately was acquitted on all charges.

Fans of Jackson are conflicted since the release of the documentary. 

“I thought it was pretty disturbing, but also unfair, since the man is dead and can’t defend himself against these claims,” said junior Rose McKenna.

When asked about the documentary in an interview with Associated Press, Jackson’s brother, Marlon Jackson, questioned filmmakers’ intentions. 

“I do not understand how a filmmaker can make a documentary and does not want to speak to myself or some of the other families who were at Neverland,” said Marlon Jackson during the Associated Press interview. 

With Jackson’s reputation in question, fans feel conflicted as to whether or not to continue to listen to his music.

 “I don’t know how to feel about listening to his music anymore,” said Villanueva. “I feel like I should feel guilty listening to it, because in a way, it feels like I’m supporting him. But I also can’t help that he made great music and a lot of it has become so mainstream and popular and a lot of it is downloaded onto my phone. I don’t think I’ll stop listening to his music all together, but I don’t think I’ll be blasting his music in public or at parties anytime soon.” 

According to the Associated Press, “Leaving Neverland” has become HBO’s third most watched documentary premiere of the last decade. Within one week of its release, the documentary has been watched by 5 million viewers for the first episode and 3.5 million viewers for its second episode. 

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