Michael Jackson’s music is climbing the UK charts following the release of ‘Leaving Neverland‘. The controversial new documentary focuses on two men who claim that Jackson befriended, groomed and sexually abused them as children. The two-part, four-hour documentary aired on Channel 4 on Wednesday and Thursday this week following its US premiere a few days before.
Wade Robson, Jimmy Safechuck and their families describe their relationship with Jackson and how the two men were allegedly abused as boys at Jackson’s Neverland Ranch in California and at his apartment in Century City. The Jackson estate has denied the claims and have issued a statement in response to the documentary, “The two accusers testified under oath that these events never occurred. They have provided no independent evidence and absolutely no proof in support of their accusations.”
Following the documentary, public opinion on Jackson has become divided. His music has been pulled from various radio stations around the world in response to the allegations, while the BBC has not pulled the singer’s music with a spokesperson confirming that they do not ban artists, “We consider each piece of music on its merits and decisions on what we play on different networks are always made with relevant audiences and context in mind”.
However, despite the allegations made in ‘Leaving Neverland‘, Jackson’s music has climbed up the charts. According to an article on the Evening Standard website and at the time of writing, Jackson’s ‘Number Ones‘ album had climbed from 87 to 43 on the iTunes music charts, and his greatest hits compilation ‘The Essential Michael Jackson‘ had reaches number 79. Jackson’s 1978 album ‘Bad‘ ranked at 147 while 1982’s ‘Thriller‘ sat at 172.
In the UK, many viewers of the documentary were disgusted by Jackson’s alleged actions, with some going on twitter to praise the bravery of Safechuck and Robson as well as announcing they would never listen to the artist again.
I am so impressed by the courage of James Safechuk and Wade Robson. #LeavingNeverland It breaks my heart to see how they are struggling with what happened to them.
— Rayanne Rodier (@RayanneRodier) 6 March 2019
How can anyone defend a 44 yr old man in a position of power, befriending children, their families, grooming them over a period of time, sleeping in bed with them for weeks. The images of him just looking at them are enough for me. #leavingneverland
— Lolly (@Laurenyvetteb) 6 March 2019
Avid fans of Jackson protested outside Channel 4 headquarters on the day the first part of the documentary aired on television. They brandished banners of the singer’s face with the words ‘innocent’ placed over his mouth. This coincides with a fan-funded bus advert campaign professing the king of pop’s innocence.
‘Leaving Neverland‘ is available to watch on All 4.