The British singer talks about his complicated feelings after watching the controversial HBO docuseries and what it’s missing.
Boy George dropped by the “Watch What Happens Live” clubhouse and pointed out the one key thing that journalists have been criticizing about the recent “Leaving Neverland” documentary regarding Michael Jackson.
“I think, one of the things that isn’t in any of those documentaries is the word ‘alleged,'” Boy George told Andy Cohen. “It’s just taken almost for granted that this is what happened and therefore we all should accept it.”
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In this era of listening to and believing victims, it’s put many people in an awkward position, because the documentary never did present any other side of the story than the one of its two central figures and alleged victims of abuse, James Safechuck and Wade Robson.
As such, while the stories were horrific by any standards, they were not corroborated in any substantial way. “And unfortunately, he’s not here to defend himself,” Boy George said of Jackson.
His family, however, is still here and they swiftly condemned the documentary and threatened to sue HBO if it was aired. Jackson was never found guilty on any of the charges of child sexual abuse brought against him and maintained his innocence until his death.
And that’s what leaves viewers of “Leaving Neverland” uncomfortable and yet uncertain at the same time. “What I think is really interesting about that documentary is it hits you with so much information, but you’re left with nothing to say that’s useful,” Boy George said. “You watch it and you just go, ‘I don’t know what I can say now.’ Do you know what I mean?”
While Boy George and Michael Jackson both enjoyed tremendous success throughout the 1980s, the British singer admits he didn’t have any sort of friendship with Jackson. “But I was a massive fan like most people,” he said.
“It’s difficult,” he continued about the documentary. “You don’t want to disrespect the people that are telling their story, but also you also don’t want to kind of disregard the fact that Michael Jackson isn’t around to say–“
“Right, one way or the other,” Cohen finished.
And that’s why “Leaving Neverland” has been one of the more controversial releases of the #MeToo era. Jackson was brought up on charges of child sexual abuse multiple times and never found guilty. Both Robson and Safechuck testified on his behalf while he was alive.
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They explain this as part of their healing process in the documentary, but without any interview subjects on Jackson’s behalf or even commentary from Jackson himself in his defense, the film came across to many as incredibly one-sided.
That just leaves viewers, as Boy George put it, a little unsettled. And it did nothing to resolve the decades-long debate as to whether or not Jackson did these things he’s been accused of doing. His defenders saw nothing to change their minds, while his detractors saw even more evidence.
And a lot of people, like Boy George, are left with mixed feelings. It was a lot of disturbing information to process, but without proper journalistic due diligence, it just feels like another piece of evidence brought into the mix rather than a conclusion.