In the new documentary Neverland Firsthand, Michael Jacksons family members and former colleagues push back against Leaving Neverland, the shocking, two-part HBO documentary that highlighted pedophilia claims made against the late singer. The doc is a direct response to the allegations made by Wade Robson and James Safechuck, two men who say that Jackson sexually abused them for years when they were children. Jackson, who died in 2009, denied all claims of sexual misconduct when he was alive. He was criminally charged with abusing children, but acquitted after a trial in 2005.

Neverland Firsthand, directed by Eli Pedraza and uploaded to YouTube on Saturday, features interviews with Taj Jackson (the singers nephew), Brandi Jackson (the singers niece), and Brad Sundberg, the longtime technical director for the late singer, who also worked on Neverland Ranch.

“Not in a million years did I ever see a child around Michael Jackson that looked like they had been distressed, hurt, abused,” Sundberg says in the film, in an interview with producer Liam McEwan. “[Neverland] was such a peaceful, safe, fun place.”

Brandi, meanwhile, speaks directly about Robson, whom she met when she was a child and claims she dated for over seven years. “He has always been a bit of an opportunist,” she says, claiming Robson went public with his claims for financial gain. “He knows how to position himself into different situations that will benefit him in a financial way.” In a previous statement to Billboard, Robsons attorney Vince William Finaldi said: “Ms. Jackson was not with Wade and Michael Jackson when the sexual abuse occurred, and as such, she has nothing relevant to say about the topic.”

Taj, who has repeatedly defended his late uncle and has set up a GoFundMe for a rebuttal doc, says Jackson is the victim in this situation. “When you have a certain niceness, people take advantage of it,” he says of the various lawsuits that piled up against the singer. The 30-minute film can be seen below.

In the wake of Leaving Neverland, Robson and Safechuck have stood by their allegations and have sat down for a handful of interviews, including a lengthy chat with Oprah Winfrey. The television icon hosted an hour-long discussion with the pair, as well as Leaving Neverland director Dan Reed, after the second part of the documentary aired.

There has been a slow backlash to the newly revived allegations against Jackson; radio stations in Canada and New Zealand have stopped playing Jacksons music, while the creator and two producers of The Simpsons permanently shelved an episode that featured Jackson. The singers estate has responded by denouncing the documentary and filing Read More – Source

[contf] [contfnew]

Vanity Fair

[contfnewc] [contfnewc]