The Jacksons have released a documentary in response to Leaving Neverland
‘Neverland Firsthand’ features interviews with Jackson’s inner circle
A new documentary, called Neverland Firsthand: Investigating the Michael Jackson Documentary, has been released this week, and claims to further explore allegations made in HBO’s Leaving Neverland documentary.
Last month, the Michael Jackson documentary Leaving Neverland was released in the UK and US. The two-part, four-hour documentary was based on the claims of Wade Robson and James Safechuck. Both men say that as boys, they stayed with Michael Jackson at his Neverland Ranch and were abused. The documentary caused a lot of controversy, and members Michael Jackson's family hit back claiming it was lies, and promised a counter documentary to tell the "facts" of the story. This comes in the form of Neverland Firsthand.
Here is everything about the Neverland Firsthand documentary, and you can watch it below.
What does the Neverland Firsthand documentary include?
Neverland Firsthand is a 30 minute documentary created by Liam McEwan, and contains interviews from Michael Jackson's family and close circle. It directly responds to the shocking claims made in the Leaving Neverland documentary from last month.
Neverland Firsthand was uploaded to YouTube over the weekend, and the description says: "Neverland Firsthand: Investigating the Michael Jackson Documentary is a mini-documentary which further explores allegations made in HBO's Leaving Neverland, that the King of Pop sexually abused two young boys. Through interviews with those closest to the situation, as well as members of Jackson's family, the film sheds light on information that was excluded from HBO's broadcast."
In the aftermath of the Leaving Neverland documentary, Michael Jackson's nephew, Taj Jackson, said he wanted to create a counter documentary, and he is the main interviewee in this film.
Speaking to NME after the HBO documentary, Taj Jackson said the Leaving Neverland counter documentary won't focus on Jackson's success or be simply complimentary towards his uncle, as there are "loads of those already". He said: "It's going to start off with the 1993 allegations because I think that's where everything started. So it's going to start there. It's going to talk about the settlement in terms of the civil suit and why he settled. At one point he was very against settling and angry and then gave in. So why did he do that? So it's going to talk about all of that.
"So 1993/1994 to 2005 are the big parts of his life. So this is not going to be a puff piece. it's not going to be, ‘Oh, let's show Michael Jackson the humanitarian.’ This is about exposing all the things that have been mustering for 20, 30 years, you know?
"I’m gonna go with the facts."
The YouTube documentary contains tapes of phone calls with Jordie Chandler's father (who accused Jackson of abuse), as well as a phone interview with Scott Ross, the private investigator for the defence in the 2005 trial of Michael Jackson. He says he never felt he was on the wrong team when defending Jackson.
There is also an interview with Taj Jackson, Michael's nephew and Brandi Jackson, Michaels niece. Brandi dated Wade Robson – one of Jackson's accusers in Leaving Neverland. She discusses her relationship with Wade, and how he allegedly cheated on her. She also says their relationship wasn't mentioned in the Leaving Neverland film as it "completely discredits" Wade Robson's claims.
There is also footage from the police search of the Neverland Ranch and an interview with Brad Sundberg, a technical director for Michael Jackson. He worked with Michael every day in his recording studios, where abuse allegedly took place.
The show's producer, Liam McEwan, then puts together a timeline of Wade Robson's claims and when he was in and out of work, hinting that the claims were made for financial gain.
Charles Thompson, a UK investigative crime journalist, is also interviewed. He has been studying the case for years, and talks about inconsistencies in the victim's claims, and the lack of evidence. It's then discussed how victim's stories match parts of books.
The show's producer concludes the half hour film by saying: "This just gets wilder every day."