There were threats and protests surrounding this year’s Sundance Film Festival debut of Leaving Neverland. Reviews were damning, too: This Michael Jackson documentary, it seems, holds proof of Jackson’s pedophilia, using the intimate testimonies of two men who claim the singer sexually assaulted them as kids. They are adults now, and they’re ready to talk about it.
The two-part, four-hour film will be released on HBO next month. In a ten-page letter addressed to HBO’s CEO Richard Plepler, Jackson’s estate denied all allegations and criticized the film’s veracity; scores of Jackson superfans have followed suit, threatening the director and the two accusers. It hurts to hear your favorite artist—someone who quite possibly saved your life, or made you who you are—tarnished by accusations. Leaving Neverland director Dan Reed has openly condemned the victim-shaming and Jackson’s more vicious fans.
Michael Jackson’s reputation will be far more difficult to diminish than those of Louis C.K., Harvey Weinstein, or even Bill Cosby. He is more beloved, more revered. But next month we’ll see just how far the #MeToo movement has brought us; how willing fans are to look their idols’ misdeeds squarely in the face; how far people will go to defend him when charges become both persistent and possibly indisputable.
Watch the trailer below.