Leaving Neverland receives mixed reaction from viewers after first night of airing

The documentary Leaving Neverland which delves into the accounts of two men who claim that they were abused by Michael Jackson as young boys aired on Channel 4 last night.

Leaving Neverland receives mixed reaction from viewers after first night of airing

The documentary Leaving Neverland which delves into the accounts of two men who claim that they were abused by Michael Jackson as young boys aired on Channel 4 last night.

The two-part series focuses on the stories of Wade Robson and James Safechuck who both allege that they had long-running relationships with Jackson when they were aged 7 and 10 respectively at his home in Neverland Ranch, California.

Robson had previously testified in a child sexual abuse case against the singer in 1993, when the parents of then 13-year-old Jordan Chandler filed a lawsuit after he accused Jackson of sexual abuse.

On January 25, 2004, Chandler's lawyer came to a settlement with Jackson.

Robson then later testified in a molestation case against Jackson in 2005, and denied being molested by the singer. Jackson was acquitted on all charges against him by a jury.

Joining Oprah Winfrey on After Neverland, alongside fellow accuser James Safechuck and documentary filmmaker Dan Reed, he explained that at the time he had no idea that what he was experiencing was sexual abuse.

"When the abuse started when I was 11 and even when I was 22 and later, I had no understanding that what Michael did to me sexually was abuse.

"From night one of the abuse, of the sexual stuff that Michael did to me, he told me that it was love, he told me that he loved me and God brought us together.

"Anything Michael was going to say to me, was Gospel to me."

He said that Michael started training him right away for what ended up happening at the trials and that he could "absolutely not" see the pattern of what was going on.

"When I was a little boy, Michael was just this incredible person to me," he said.

James Safechuck described in the documentary, a marriage ceremony with Michael Jackson.

He told Oprah Winfrey:

"That moment was part of him telling me that we'll be together forever and it was an action to solidify our love.

"I was getting a little older and I was becoming more insecure about my position so it was sort of reminding me that we'll always be together."

Winfrey asked Robson and Safechuck why they continued the association with Jackson later in life, with Robson wanted to get a job working with Jackson's organisation.

"I had no understanding of it being abuse, I loved Michael," Robson said.

"All the times that I testified, and the many many times I gushed over him in interviews or whatever it may be, that was from a real place.

"While never forgetting any of the sexual details that happened between us, but having no understanding that it was abuse, having no concept in my mind that anything about Michael could ever be bad, anything that Michael did was right to me for so many years.

He said that when defending him on the witness stand he "didn't think about it."

"I couldn't even go there, I couldn't even question Michael. If I was to question Michael and my story with Michael, my life with Michael, it would mean that I would have to question everything in my life.

"It wasn't even an option to think about it. Michael was good, that was all that existed in my mind."

"He started that training of me right away, it was if anybody ever finds out what we're doing, we'll both go to jail for the rest of our lives.

"So I was terrified."

Since its airing on television screens around the globe, the first instalment of Dan Reed's documentary film "Leaving Neverland: Michael Jackson and Me, has left viewers torn and has even resulted in radio stations pulling Jackson's music from their playlists.

Some viewers took to Twitter to share their mixed reactions to the documentary.

Meanwhile, fans who believe the singer took to protest outside Channel 4 offices in London yesterday.

Michael Jackson fans stage a protest outside the headquarters of Channel 4 on Horseferry Road, London, ahead of the airing of the documentary Leaving Neverland. Photo credit: Yui Mok/PA Wire.

Michael Jackson fans stage a protest outside the headquarters of Channel 4 on Horseferry Road, London, ahead of the airing of the documentary Leaving Neverland. Photo credit: Yui Mok/PA Wire.

Michael Jackson fans stage a protest outside the headquarters of Channel 4 on Horseferry Road, London, ahead of the airing of the documentary Leaving Neverland. Photo credit: Yui Mok/PA Wire.

Michael Jackson fans stage a protest outside the headquarters of Channel 4 on Horseferry Road, London, ahead of the airing of the documentary Leaving Neverland. Photo credit: Yui Mok/PA Wire.

Michael Jackson fans stage a protest outside the headquarters of Channel 4 on Horseferry Road, London, ahead of the airing of the documentary Leaving Neverland. Photo credit: Yui Mok/PA Wire.

Michael Jackson fans stage a protest outside the headquarters of Channel 4 on Horseferry Road, London, ahead of the airing of the documentary Leaving Neverland. Photo credit: Yui Mok/PA Wire.

The second part of Leaving Neverland airs tonight on Channel 4 at 9pm.

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