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If Leaving Neverland is True Michael Jackson’s Legacy is a Lie

by Deborah Cruz

I’m going to be honest with you. I watched Leaving Neverland the HBO documentary alleging that Michael Jackson was a predatory pedophile with a penchant for young boys. It was shocking and disturbing to see it all laid out in the documentary. I feel torn. Not because I’m wishy-washy on how I feel about pedophiles. But I feel like my entire childhood was a lie.

Do I believe Michael Jackson was a pedophile who preyed on naïve young boys? Boys who admired him and their eager to please stage moms? I do. Not because this is new information. I believed it in 2005. I found it peculiar that a grown man, even an eccentric one who never had a childhood, would host children (that weren’t his own) in his bed. Even more peculiar was why their parents would allow it?

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It never sat well with me either that he always seemed to have a young boy as his sidekick on his tours. It’s right there in black and white in the press; Michael Jackson walking hand in hand with some preteen boy who accompanied him on his yearlong tours. It was weird then and, as a mom now, it’s absolutely suspicious. I don’t care if it was God, you cannot sleep in the bed with my child.

The world had been conditioned to expect odd behavior from the socially awkward, musical genius known as Michael Jackson. The world turned a blind eye or maybe we just didn’t want to see it and we certainly didn’t want to believe it. The thought that such a seemingly sweet, childlike man could be a predator was beyond the fathomable. Why would a man who could have almost any man or woman he wanted in the world choose little boys?

I think we all wanted to believe that he felt a kinship with these boys. He was somehow living his missed childhood with them. Or maybe he too was a victim as a child? Isn’t that how many predators become predatory? Or maybe he was just born a pedophile? Michael Jackson will never be adequately punished for his crimes.

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However, if all that was said in Leaving Neverland is true Michael Jackson was the worst kind of monster because he used his celebrity to lure these families, his money and fame to blind them and the public’s opinion that he was a “good guy” to mask the monster within. If this is true, he was one of the most predatory and dangerous pedophiles to ever live because he was beyond reproach even when all the evidence said he was guilty.

Michael Jackson is dead and we will never have definitive proof of his guilt or innocence. We’ll never have the satisfaction of hearing his confession. From here on out, everything is hearsay. We only have the word of broken men who claim to have been his victims when they were boys. The stories are compelling and too similar to one another to be a coincidence. The damage is done.

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Michael Jackson songs tick marked my childhood. No one ever wanted the allegations to be true because what we want and what we get are two very different things. We need to embrace the truth and disappointment. I’m having trouble reconciling what I believe to be true about Michael Jackson and my love of his music. As much as I loved the music of Michael Jackson, the thought of singing along with a pedophile who preyed on young boys turns my stomach.

Listening to Wade Robson and James Safechuck describe their sexual abuse in graphic detail made me cringey. Hearing the voicemails Michael Jackson left for these young boys, reading the faxes and knowing how he ingratiated himself into the trust of their families made me sick. He was a cunning predator. He groomed his victims. The intent behind his communications is obvious to us as outsiders. Michael Jackson’s larger than life fame afforded him allowances for his odd behavior. Alarms failed these families who were duped by his celebrity.

 More than anything, though, it was difficult to watch Robson and Safechuck clearly struggling with their conflicting feelings about Jackson in real time; they are both repulsed by him and appear to have some lingering reverence, a testament to Jackson grooming them to serve his perversions.

There is nothing we can do to punish Michael Jackson. There’s not much we can do to help his victims but hear their stories and recognize their pain. We can believe them. I can no longer willingly listen to Michael Jackson. I can’t even look at his image without being disgusted. Where I once saw an icon now all I can see is a predator of children.

Have you seen Leaving Neverland or Oprah Winfrey Presents After Neverland?

What are your thoughts?


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Cori 2019/03/08 - 4:17 am

You hit the nail on the head about seeing the 2 men struggle with conflicting feelings. It’s was bizarre, heartbreaking and hard to watch. I believe them 100%

I try my best not to judge other parents because I myself am not perfect, but those moms! Putting aside allowing the kids to sleep in his bed in the first place (which is odd in itself)…. I cannot imagine being so star struck to not see the faxes …or his request to keep their child for A YEAR!?! As a red flag!?!

As for MJ, i do think his legacy is tainted…
But it kind of always was. As awful as it may sound, I think his music will live on because it was such a huge part of people’s lives and childhood.

jeanet 2019/05/19 - 1:27 am

“You hit the nail on the head about seeing the 2 men struggle with conflicting feelings. It’s was bizarre, heartbreaking and hard to watch. I believe them 100%”

Sheesh. Based on what evidence? Accusations are not evidence. Where is the proof they were abused? Trial by a one-sided documentary is not evidence of wrongdoing. A little research will reveal these two men have lied under oath, and Mr. Jackson, who was a target of several extortions attempts, was vindicated at trial and by the FBI who investigated him for 10 years. The FBI report is online for anyone to read it. And there were many who knew MJ as children both male and female who claimed MJ never abuse them. Why weren’t they interviewed? Why should I believe these two?

I am really afraid the “Me Too” movement with Orphan as its unofficial heads have gone too far in legitimizing any accusation of sexual abuse. I saw the documentary and frankly, despite all the tears and graphic content, I saw two young men seeking a big payday. These two men can try MJ in the court of public sympathy, but I want MJ’s reputation to have its day in court and fortunately, his family is prepared to fight back against these allegations.


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