Why Leaving Neverland's Director Believes His Subjects' Claims of Being Molested by Michael Jackson


With Leaving Neverland’s imminent broadcast, culture as we know it faces a brutal reckoning. The four-hour documentary, which will air Sunday and Monday on HBO in two-hour installments, tells two alleged accounts of child sexual abuse suffered at the hands of Michael Jackson in stunning, nauseating detail. It surveys not just the stories of its principal subjects Wade Robson and James Safechuck, but those of their families and loved ones, who all testify how the long shadow of abuse has wreaked havoc on their own relationships and emotional lives. If this documentary is comprised of four hours of lies, as Jackson’s family and estate allege, it’s one of the most intricate hoaxes ever attempted before the eyes of the viewing public.

Leaving Neverland director Dan Reed assures us it’s no hoax, that he’s staking his reputation, built up from 30 years in documentary filmmaking, on this movie. For about an hour on Tuesday morning at the HBO office in New York, he told Jezebel about the making of his movie, which he says he stumbled into in 2016, after an editor at the U.K.’s Channel 4 suggested he look into the misconduct allegations against Jackson. That led him to Robson and Safechuck, both of whom spent time with Jackson when they were children and aspiring entertainers themselves. (Robson is a dancer/choreographer who went on to work with the likes of *NSYNC and Britney Spears, while Safechuck appeared in commercials and in fact met Jackson in the 1980s on the set of a spot for Pepsi.)

In February 2017, Reed interviewed Robson and Safechuck over the course of three and two days, respectively; he estimates he shot about 22 hours of interview with Robson alone. Besides their stories alleging abuse, he was taken by the love they professed for Jackson. Their relationships with Jackson, which began when Robson was seven and Safechuck were 10, mirrored “an adult consensual relationship in every way, except the child is seven or 10 and we can’t speak of meaningful consent,” said Reed.

If sitting through these accounts is excruciating, processing them is almost impossible. What does this mean for Jackson’s legacy? Do we stop playing him at parties? Will we even want to anymore? What about the fact that he was found not guilty in 2005 of molesting another child he had befriended, Gavin Arvizo? Or that the 1993 allegations, which resulted in a settlement with the family of Jordan Chandler, never made it to a criminal case and yielded inconsistencies? (Chandler reportedly told police that Jackson was circumcised, but his 2009 autopsy report suggested that he wasn’t.) What about other young friends of Jackson, like Brett Barnes and Macaulay Culkin, who have always denied any wrongdoing by Jackson?

If Leaving Neverland’s allegations are true, Jackson effectively had a revolving stable of young boys he abused that he’d nonetheless be seen holding hands in public with. And maybe the most disturbing question we have to ask ourselves involves our own collective accountability: Did we, as a culture, just stand by and witness it all with only the faintest of concern?

Robson and Safechuck are imperfect victims, in that they both previously denied Jackson had molested them—Robson and Safechuck each participated on Jackson’s behalf during the Chandler investigations, and Robson was defense witness No. 1 in the criminal trial of 2005. Skeptical fans also point to Robson’s perceived financial and professional ruin, his attempt to shop a book about Jackson, and other seemingly conflicting accounts they say he gave. Reed compares rabid Jackson fans, some of whom have launched a campaign to defend their idol and message Reed with threats, to conspiracy theorists.

“I feel pity for people whose first response to hearing that their idol might have raped some children is to try and pour scorn on those children,” the director told Jezebel. “I find that so sad and pathetic. Don’t these people have a life of their own or children of their own? Don’t they know any children? If they admire Jackson for being a benefactor of children and someone who gave his life to protect children and all that, don’t they care about actual, real children that he might have hurt?”

Reed is confident that he has captured a true story of abuse. He said that the length of the interviews with Robson and Safechuck left them very exposed and that “it’s very difficult to lie in that setting with me. I’ve caught people many times in lies.” Beyond finding the accounts reasonable, he told Jezebel that upon checking, “not a single detail contradicted anything they said about the sexual abuse.”

Below is an extended transcript of Jezebel’s conversation with Reed. It has been lightly edited for length and clarity.

JEZEBEL: As a filmmaker it must be strange that the effectiveness of your work is determined by how hard to watch it is.

DAN REED: Rather than the duration, you’re probably talking about the graphic sexual abuse, which is pretty hard to watch and which was incredibly shocking when I heard it for the first time.


We had to draw a line between the kinds of things that people might have expected Jackson, as a lover of children and as a gentle person who did everything he could to help children and may have wanted to kiss them or pet them a little bit—we had to draw a line between that and sex. [Robson and Safechuck describe] the kind of sex that grownups have, but with a little child. I had to make that really clear. There had to be no ambiguity whatsoever. I couldn’t simply draw a veil over the sex. The sex had to be front and center. Once we’ve confronted that unflinchingly, we can move on and tell the rest of the story, which is not about sex, which is about relationships.

Another thing that makes it so hard to watch is that it threatens to alter our collective perception of a person whose work most of us had some kind of a relationship with. And then to a smaller extent, it makes you wonder that as a spectator, if you ignored the past allegations or overlooked behavior that was in plain sight. He was photographed holding hands with little boys, with Jordan Chandler sitting in his lap. What do you make of the great power that you have in doing something like this, which can potentially alter culture as people know it?

That dimension of it—reframing Michael Jackson the idol, who’s part of the fabric of world culture—that’s not something I ever considered when I was making the film. I was very focused on: Let’s tell Wade and James’s story. Tell it with the same level of commitment to accuracy, diligence, thoroughness that I’ve told stories about terrorist attacks, crimes, whatever. I’ve had a lot of practice telling these very detailed, past-tense stories of people remembering traumatic times. I was focused on that: Let’s make this film, let’s get the moms, let’s get the sister, the brother, and the wives. Let’s find that bit of archive.

It wasn’t really until Sundance and the reaction at Sundance, and also the reaction immediately following the announcement of the film at Sundance, that I realized that when this film goes out to the public, it is going to change something fundamental about the way people worship celebrity and great creative influencers. He was an amazing entertainer. Does that mean he can rape children? That seems to be the equation. The more talented you are, the more shit you can get away with. I don’t think people are willing to accept that with the same kind of blind, unquestioning faith as they did before.

He was an amazing entertainer. Does that mean he can rape children? That seems to be the equation. The more talented you are, the more shit you can get away with.

Because of the cultural climate?

Yeah, [it’s] one of the good things about social media. MeToo is a hashtag, right? I think that’s been a major focusing, a sort of political momentum—people being able to get together and organize and speak out without getting shut down individually. Before, it was much easier to shut people down because they couldn’t communicate and they couldn’t get together.

This is a classic MeToo. James sees Wade on television and goes, “Fuck, me too.” When this film goes out, there will be, sadly, millions of people around the world who watch this and go, “Oh God, me too.” That’s the best reason for doing this film. I, hand on heart, never had the thought in my mind of toppling Michael Jackson or doing something grandiose. You can see from my track record that I’ve never made a film about a famous person before. That’s not my arena. I don’t engage with celebrity at all. This was kind of an accidental departure for me and it happened because I stumbled across Wade and James’s story in a footnote to a forum, having decided kind of reluctantly to explore the unresolved Michael Jackson story because someone had suggested it to me. I’ve ended up here by accident.

Can you explain what you mean by “footnote to a forum” and what that literally meant in terms of you getting in touch with Wade and James?

I was having breakfast in London in February 2016 with a guy called Daniel Pearl—not Daniel Pearl who was beheaded by Al-Qaeda. He’s a commissioning editor at Channel 4 and he’s like, “Great to be in business with you. What should we do?… What about the really big questions out there that need investigating? One of them might be the Michael Jackson controversy. Can you update the current status of that?” I hired a researcher and he did some research and came back with a ton of stuff. I didn’t know anything about the Michael Jackson story. I was vaguely aware. I grew up without pop music and I grew up without TV, so I had a strange upbringing and was not concerned with that kind of stuff at all. Amongst [the researcher’s findings] was this reference in a forum, I think a fan forum, to Wade Robson and James Safechuck. I thought, “Well, that’s interesting.” I hadn’t heard of these guys before. And then it turned out that there had been some stuff written online about the court case against the estate.

So then you got in touch with them?

I got in touch with their lawyers and then they changed lawyers and I managed to hang on and transition to the other law firm. Eventually I got a meeting in L.A. with the lawyers and met with them and convinced them of the fact that I was genuine. They put me in touch with Wade and James.

This is a classic MeToo.

Was that before or after their cases were dismissed?

There were two. There was a case in the probate court, which was dismissed on the basis of a statute of limitations. That was before I came on board. After I came on board, their litigation against the estate, kind of a corporate negligence suit. I’m not a legal expert but it was like, “You guys allowed this to happen to us and you knew what was happening while your main client was raping us.” That case got thrown out by Judge Beckloff on a legal technicality—the case wasn’t dismissed because the judge found their claims of sexual abuse to not be credible. We referenced the legal action, obviously, and we referenced the fact that it wasn’t thrown out because of the claims.

As a documentary filmmaker, I assume you approach everything with a degree of skepticism. Walk me through how you approached this, especially because Wade Robson was the more public of your two main subjects and he has said conflicting things.

Let’s be clear: His change of heart is the subject of my film, pretty much. If you want to know why he lied on the witness stand and then says different stuff in interview with me, in shorthand, he was in love with Michael. Michael said that he loved Wade when Wade was a child, and he had a long sexual relationship with him. Wade loved Michael and defended Michael. Didn’t want to see him in jail. Even at the age of 22, they still had a relationship—not a sexual one. He lied for love. It doesn’t justify it. It’s perjury. It’s bad, it’s wrong, and it let down this little boy who had the extraordinary guts to stand up and confront Michael Jackson, one of the most powerful people he could have picked a fight with. Wade, as defense witness No. 1, was part of crushing that little boy’s claim to justice. That’s a story we tell unsparingly in the film.

I’m saying that when you learn about all this beforehand, though, you must approach the interviews with a degree of skepticism.

Yeah, as a documentarian I have a long track record. I’m not going to walk into a room and lap up the first thing that Wade Robson tells me. I’m not going to stake my entire reputation—because this is obviously going to be a highly visible film—on unquestioningly believing some guy who brings me a story. I’ve been doing it a long time and instinct does come into it. I’ve done a lot of interviews, and a lot of very long interviews and this was the longest interview I’ve ever done.

How long?

It was three days.

How many hours per day?

Eight hours the first two days and then the third day was shorter. The third day was about six hours. So a lot of rushes. Over that length of time—with a very disciplined, chronological narrative—people are very exposed. It’s very difficult to lie in that setting with me. I’ve caught people many times in lies. You just go back and you say, “But…” So the internal consistency was important, but that wasn’t a done deal. By the end of the interview, I was inclined to believe Wade, but I needed to check anything that could possibly be checked about his account, and I needed to go look for anything that would contradict his account from outside sources. So, from the investigators that took part in the 1993 and the 2003-2005 investigations, from court records, any documentation that was available, any statements by anyone who worked for the Jackson household. Anyone who had seen anything at all at the time that Wade and James claimed they were being sexually abused by Michael Jackson—I read, I looked into, and I know about. And nothing, not a single detail, contradicted anything that they said about the sexual abuse. That’s what it’s all about. It’s not about, “Was it a black car or a blue car that I got into?” That doesn’t matter. What matters is, “I was in the room with Michael and this is what happened.” Those are the key memories.

In fact, there were plenty of people who worked for Jackson at the time who remembered weird stuff going on, who remembered Michael kissing a boy in the back of a limo, who remembered Michael in the shower with Wade, who remembered Michael in the jacuzzi with James doing weird stuff, you know, underwear on the floor. There are a lot of corroborating details that are on the record and that were part of the scope of these investigations. Speaking with the investigators, they did not have a scintilla of doubt that Michael was a predatory pedophile.

So you spoke to investigators?

Yeah, I interviewed them on camera.

Why didn’t that footage make the final cut?

You have the little boy—I call them boys—describing in the most excruciatingly graphic detail, saying stuff that no adult would ever want to say, never mind in front of a global audience. In front of your mom. In front of your wife. In front of your children. To go on camera and say this stuff, and then for the moms to go on camera and say, “I let a predatory pedophile have his way with my child for years and I thought he was my best friend, and I thought he was like my son, and I trusted him completely and I drank his champagne.” The whole family was part of this, just taken in. For all of those accounts to be incredibly mutually consistent and just the hole that it tore through those two families’ lives. I mean, are they faking that?

It is insane to me that if these allegations are true, Michael Jackson was so bold.

He comes across as a practiced, experienced pedophile. I’ve spoken to one other of his victims, Jason Francia, off camera, but I’ve never spoken to anyone who was molested before James. The way he groomed that family, the way that the mother and father were placed in hotel suites that were progressively farther away, the way he charmed his way into that household, that was all—he wasn’t experimenting, I don’t think. I think this was a tried and tested technique. And then he does the same thing with Jordan Chandler and he does the same thing with Wade Robson. I interviewed Bill Dworin, who was the lead investigator for the LAPD in 1993 and who has been involved in over 4,000 child sex abuse investigations internationally…. but the outsiders felt like aliens in the film. They felt like people who were telling what they saw from a distance when the guy is telling you what he saw an inch from [him]. He was there, he was in the room.

He comes across as a practiced, experienced pedophile.

What do you make of the Jordan Chandler penis inconsistency? He said Jackson was circumcised and the autopsy report said he wasn’t.

You’re getting technical now.

Yes. I guess the greater point is that you can see how the fans have been given enough grist through the years to feel confident in their position and skepticism.

But that’s conspiracy theorists, they connect dots. My documentaries about these terrorist attacks, they’ve all been for HBO, and you go into exhaustive detail. By the end of it I know more than the investigating police forces and the FBI and all that. It’s not a boast, we just go further and for longer. And then you read what the conspiracy theorists are saying online and it’s like, “Yeah, but this car windscreen in this shot is not broken and here it’s broken,” and, “The blood there looks too bright.” They’re all pseudo-facts. I know exactly what happened, I know exactly why that car’s there. I interviewed the driver. I have all this great firsthand information.

I’ve seen too many times how conspiracy theorists join dots that should not be joined because they have a few facts and pseudo-facts that connect those facts. I suspect this is the same thing. I don’t for a second doubt that Jordan Chandler was telling the truth. Was Michael Jackson circumcised or was his foreskin rolled back? I don’t know. I’m not going to speculate about that. What does a 12-year-old know about sex? A lot of the stuff that’s in the fan chatter is not verified. There’s stuff they repeat from one person to another. Has anyone seen the photographs of Michael’s penis? No. I don’t want to get sucked into that whole debate. I’m very concrete as a journalist. I deal in images and I deal in sitting down with someone and speaking to them. If I can touch it, I believe it and if I haven’t seen it, I’m going to reserve judgment. I don’t want to become part of the chatter and the speculation and the controversy. This isn’t about controversy; this is about two stories that I know very well, that I’m satisfied are utterly credible and that I’m happy to stake my entire 30 years’ reputation on and that’s it. I’m not a Jackson denier or a Jackson superfan. I don’t care about that stuff.

You’ve done all this war and terrorism reporting. How does that compare to sitting across from someone who’s talking about being molested as a child?

I’m a dad, so it’s difficult. It’s a mindfuck. I was very affected by Wade’s account. I was very affected by James’s struggle to unearth. His interview was very different from Wade’s, ‘cause Wade was quite composed, very poised, very clear. And James was so vulnerable and really trying to find words to articulate the things in his mind, these images, these things he hadn’t really come to terms with and was still grappling with. What emerges from both of them, and particularly from James in a very raw way, is their love for Michael and the fact that his time with them was this incredible time in their lives and their first sexual experience in this criminal, pedophile setting—which is the most disgusting thing you can imagine, but it was their first sexual experience. And [Jackson] was a mega-star. He was amazing. He was a nice guy. No one says he wasn’t a nice guy in daily interactions. He was charming, caring, he was generous. That’s how I start the film: He was great, he was amazing. “He did all these things for us. And he raped us.”

The headfuck at the core of this film is the deep attachment a predator can make with their victim, and how that lasts way beyond teens—until, in this case, the men who were little boys when they were abused have their own little boys and it’s like, “Oh, wait a minute.” There’s a complete reframing of what happened to them. I think that’s been a really fundamental pivot point for both Wade and James, who had their little boys within weeks of each other. Much more than Wade’s nervous breakdown and James’s analogous mental health issues or drug abuse issues—the general kind of implosion, it’s very typically symptomatic. But to me, even more than that, the real turning point in the movie is when they had their kids.

The headfuck at the core of this film is the deep attachment a predator can make with their victim, and how that lasts way beyond teens.

Beyond the Michael Jackson allegations, this film is an incredibly detailed description of how pedophilia operates.

Exactly, and I’m really proud of that. I think the film stands as an important document about grooming pedophilia. This is not a guy who snatched kids in the park and pinned them in the corner and raped them. This is someone who became your best friend, and I think most childhood sexual abuse happens at the hands of a trusted friend of the family. That’s why they get access over a long period and relationships develop. The film stands as a useful, I hope, and important document. The fact that it’s Michael Jackson means that a lot more people will watch it and have the opportunity to reach some kind of reckoning for themselves.

You interviewed Wade over the course of three days. What about James?

James was two days [in February 2017] and then I did a pick-up interview with him, the scene with the rings, last July.

You talked about minor details not mattering, but as they were recalling this stuff, were there memory lapses?

Yeah. They went on so many different trips with Michael, especially James, and [it was like]: “Were the Grammys in New York or were they in L.A.?” He was 10. But [there wasn’t] haziness about the sexual abuse. This was, “He was sucking my dick.” You’re not going to get that wrong.

How were you able to use footage from Jackson’s videos, concerts, and recordings in Leaving Neverland?

Clearly the estate wasn’t going to license that to us, right? That is included under fair use law. We’ve taken a lot of time to make sure that we’re not being cavalier with anyone’s copyright.

I think that he considered himself to be apart from the rest of humanity, a bit of a godlike figure.

You said part of the process was wondering whether the movie was even going to get released. Once you had a cut locked, what were the next steps? Obviously, the stakes are high.

Pretty much all of the documentaries I’ve done require a great deal of lawyering to make sure that everything we say in the film is true and corroborated. You don’t change stuff; you might change the way you phrase things, you might change the context and you make sure that certain things are said. For instance, that Brett Barnes and Macaulay Culkin have categorically denied any sexual contact: That’s an important thing to say at the end of Part 1, just to make it absolutely clear.

Has this film required a lot more lawyering than the other films I’ve done? No. We’ve done a couple of others that have been very, very sticky. The figure at the center of this, the person against who we make allegations, is Michael Jackson, and he’s dead. We have included significant rebuttals and statements of his innocence by him, by his lawyers, etc., in the film. We weren’t in a position where we could libel him. We couldn’t defame him, so that makes it easier.

Would we have not made this film had he been alive? We’d still have made it because I think Wade’s and James’s stories are so strong, so consistent, and very difficult to undermine. The only thing you can do is resort to the tactic that the Jackson side has always employed, which they employed successfully in court at the criminal trial: “No, no, no, it’s all for money and these people are scumbags. Look what they did here, look what they did there.” It’s all this misdirection, it’s pointing the other way: “Look over there. Look the other way. This child telling you he’s been molested and all these people who corroborate what the child said, that’s not important. What’s important is the mother shoplifted something a few years ago.” Discrediting the people involved in making the claims of child sexual abuse is the go-to tactic that they’ve always used. They’re trying to do the same thing now. They’re trying to discredit me and discredit Wade and James in a wildly colorful and eccentric series of letters, which contain nothing at all of any concern. Had Jackson been alive, I think we could have broadcast this film. It would have been more difficult.

Do you think it would have looked different?

Yeah, we may have had to make it even longer. It might have had to be a series.

What has it been like to receive these responses from the estate, the family, and from the fans? Has your day to day been altered or encumbered?

No. When you receive hundreds of messages wishing you were dead or died of cancer or whatever, it’s not nice and clearly some of them take the form of threats. Do we have the capacity to accommodate those threats and respond to them? Yes we do. Are measures in place? Yes they are. It’s not a big deal. I’ve faced much worse threats from other people much more serious in the past. I’m not unfamiliar with people wishing me harm or trying to do me harm because I’m trying to tell a true story. I’m not particularly fazed. I don’t like it. I feel pity for people whose first response to hearing that their idol might have raped some children is to try and pour scorn on those children. I find that so sad and pathetic. Don’t these people have a life of their own or children of their own? Don’t they know any children? If they admire Jackson for being a benefactor of children and someone who gave his life to protect children and all that, don’t they care about actual, real children that he might have hurt? So that’s all kind of sad and pathetic. The arguments they put forward in their forums, the sort of frenzied, ‘Yeah, [Robson] sold his stuff and then he’s burning fake stuff at the end of this film,’ and, ‘[Robson] was fired from the Cirque du Soleil job,’ which is bullshit. “He wrote a book and couldn’t get the book published, which is why he went to court.” All this stuff is horseshit.

Discrediting the people involved in making the claims of child sexual abuse is the go-to tactic that they’ve always used. They’re trying to do the same thing now.

The book, you think, is horseshit?

No, [Robson] did pitch a book, I believe. At the end, his entertainment lawyer said, “Trying to get a book out there is one thing. It’s just you. Some people will be persuaded, others not.” I think there was detail beyond that of what he could say in the book. I think she argued that if you want justice, in America you go to court. You go to court, you hold those people [accountable], and if they’re wrong they get punished. That was the idea. The idea of a book was superseded by litigation as a way to get the story out there. I think he had shrunk from litigation because he didn’t want to be seen precisely in the way the fans are trying to frame it: That he was after money. They take out a lawsuit against the Jackson estate, and then I turn up, not because they’re looking for me. I come completely out of the blue. I approached them, they didn’t seek me out.

Obviously, at the end of the day this is one person’s word against another’s.

That’s how it plays out in court. When you prosecute a child sexual abuse case, oftentimes you don’t have forensic evidence. You don’t have eye witnesses to the sexual acts. If you have two children who claimed they’ve been abused, I think that plays very seriously in court. I think if there had been a criminal trial now, involving Wade and James, Jackson would go down.

I think about the sheer number of people [Robson, Safechuck, Chandler, the Arvizo brothers, Francia] who have accused Jackson of this throughout the years, but I also think of him potentially making himself a target by spending the time with children that he did in the way he did and not being secretive about that. I go back in forth on this in my head.

The family’s argument has been, “He’s rich and he’s saintly so therefore he’s vulnerable.” Really? There are plenty of other rock stars and pop stars who also had a demigod status and they weren’t constantly being accused of raping kids.

Well, they didn’t have kids in their beds.

Yeah. Did family really not consider that there might be something?

Since you must have considered this while making this film, I wonder what you think Michael Jackson was thinking? If he was a child sexual abuser as Wade and James accuse him of having been, he took enormous risks by parading these kids around, holding their hands, putting one on the witness stand on his behalf.

This is pure speculation, but I think that he considered himself to be apart from the rest of humanity, a bit of a godlike figure. Part of his godlike status was his relationship with children, that that he was kind of entitled to this relationship because of who he was and this is a delusion that he had. Part of that being special with kids was having a sexual relationship with them. And so, when he looks at the camera in his statement from Neverland and says, “I would never hurt a child,” or, “I love children,” he means it. He’s being himself. He’s being magnificent when he’s walking around with children and saving children and healing the world and all this shit that he was talking and that people believed. He had a profound and sincere belief in his madness—is it madness, is it a mental health issue? He was so rich, and so influential, and so in a category of his own as an entertainer that I think he lost all perspective on who he was. He also was, I think, escaping a very difficult family situation. By all accounts his dad was a pretty harsh father.


Abusive, by all accounts. So he escapes into this Neverland of happy children. He instrumentalized Neverland as a place to attract children in order to have sex with them, I believe. He wasn’t your classic, dirty-trenchcoat pedophile lurking around school gates. He evidently thought he had some God-given right to do as he wished with children and everyone bought that. You speak to people now: “We thought he might be guilty but we continued listening to his music. You kind of never knew.” Which, I guess was the camp that I was in: “Well, yeah, he was kind of weird but hung out with children a lot but he was found not guilty, right?”

The way I reconciled everything was that I figured that pedophilia was too conventional—that what was going on with him, given his extraordinary life virtually from birth, was beyond classic diagnoses.

Take away his talent and his music, what do you have? If this was the guy up the street, a white middle-aged guy spending every night with kids, going around and holding their hands, you wouldn’t think twice before deciding what that guy was up to, right?

But the families say that he didn’t have a childhood. We knew that about him. We knew that was going to manifest…

That always makes me crazy when people say that.

Because you think he did have a childhood?

No: “You didn’t have a childhood so you think you can rape kids.”

But what I mean is, there is a certain logic in believing that his not having a childhood would make him behave differently in general and might explain how he spent the time he did with kids without raping them.

Lots of kids didn’t have childhoods. I had a weird childhood. It doesn’t entitle me to do dreadful things to kids deliberately, repeatedly, consistently, and use all the power I have to cover up and crush anyone who comes against me and to pay off the ones that I can’t get rid of. This wasn’t some kind of vulnerable dreamer, who had this innocent or semi-innocent passion for children. He wasn’t some kind of lost soul who didn’t know what he was doing. He knew exactly what he was a doing. He was having sex with children, multiple children in the same timeframe and access to these children was facilitated by the people who worked around him. He had an organization that catered to his interest in little boys. Whether people who worked for that organization knew that he was raping these children, I don’t know.

The family says you are telling a one-sided story. Did you try to reach out to them to talk to them?

No. There were lots of people who probably thought Ted Bundy was a nice guy or Hitler was a good watercolorist. Michael Jackson was a nice guy and he was talented and he was magnificent and he was charismatic and he was warm and generous and supportive and he was a pedophile. Reconcile those things.

Leaving Neverland airs on HBO in two parts on Sunday, March 3 at 8 pm ET and Monday, March 4 at 8 pm ET.

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