Trailer for HBO's controversial 'Leaving Neverland' doc triggers angry reaction from Michael Jackson fans
Dan Reed's film centers on two men who say Jackson sexually abused them as boys
HBO has released a trailer for its explosive two-part documentary Leaving Neverland, a film that depicts late entertainer Michael Jackson as a pedophile who sexually abused young boys. MJ's fans are predictably reacting negatively, flooding YouTube with hundreds of angry comments.
"HBO, one word: shame!" wrote a fan under the user name Michael Jackson FanSquare.
In the hours since the trailer appeared online Tuesday it has quickly accumulated more than a quarter million views. Just over 780 viewers have given it a thumbs up, but more than 3,000 gave it thumbs down.
Part one of the film directed by Dan Reed debuts on HBO on March 3, with part two debuting on March 4. Leaving Neverland is based on disturbing accounts from James Safechuck and Wade Robson who claim the pop superstar engaged in long-term sexual relationships with them starting when they were pre-teens. Robson says he and Jackson had sex regularly from the time he was 7 until age 14. Safechuck says his romantic relationship with Jackson, which allegedly included a mock wedding where they exchanged vows, started when he was 10.
"Wade Robson is a cold man. STOP LYING!" commented user MJUnity Family on YouTube. "I feel sorry for people who believe in these lies," declared user Klaudia 2001.
"Michael Jackson was an angel sent to this earth and we never deserved him," opined a user named Ross McKernan.
The Jackson estate has denounced the men as liars. But audiences at the Sundance Film Festival were sufficiently moved by Robson and Safechuck's testimony to give the men a standing ovation at the world premiere.
Matthew Carey is a documentary filmmaker and journalist. His work has appeared on Deadline.com, CNN, CNN.com, TheWrap.com, NBCNews.com and in Documentary magazine.