Oprah Winfrey praises 'Leaving Neverland', says the problem is much bigger than Michael Jackson in new HBO special
Oprah Winfrey sat down with James Safechuck and Wade Robson — the men who accused the Michael Jackson of sexual abuse in the documentary 'Leaving Neverland' — to discuss abuse
TV host Oprah Winfrey on Thursday sat down with the director of the documentary 'Leaving Neverland' and the alleged victims of Michael Jackson for a HBO and OWN special titled 'After Neverland'.
In the TV special which will air on Monday, Dan Reed, director of the documentary, and James Safechuck and Wade Robson — two men who accused Michael Jackson of sexual abuse — discuss the controversial documentary. The two men alleged that Jackson had sexually abused them when they were 10 and seven years old. Oprah, who is also a survivor of sexual abuse, has put all her might into promoting the documentary through her official social media handles.
In a clip from the special, Oprah is seen speaking about the importance of 'Leaving Neverland' and also saying how it would make a difference in explaining to people that seduction also plays a role in sexual abuse. In the beginning of the video, Oprah said, "Here's the reason why I'm here. Twenty-five years of the Oprah show, I taped 217 episodes about sexual abuse."
She added, "I tried and tried and tried to get the message across that sexual abuse was not just abuse, that it was sexual seduction. But, for me, this moment transcends Michael Jackson, it is much bigger than any one person. It is a moment in time that allows us to see this societal corruption. It is a scourge on humanity."
She made a strong case for the importance of the documentary by saying, "It's happening right now. It's happening in families. We know its happening in churches, and its happening in schools and sports teams everywhere. So, if it gets you, our audience, to see how it happens, then some good would have come of it."
Later in the video, Winfrey also spoke about the difference between those who have been sexually abused and those who have not by citing the example of her friend Gayle King. She explained, "I remember when Gayle's children were younger and smaller, and I would always be talking about this subject, and she would say to me: 'My kids aren't going to let themselves be hurt. They're not going to let themselves be punished'."
She also stated that many parents do not understand that it doesn't feel like hurt. Winfrey and King watched the documentary together on the former's birthday. King had then tweeted, "Just watched ALL FOUR hours of 'Leaving Neverland'. Powerful, compelling & a game changer for those who have been afraid to speak up of child sex abuse. My heart goes out to Wade Robson & James Safechuck. Thank YOU for sharing your pain it will make a difference. Bravo to producer Dan Reed.. I’m still reeling."
As a TV host, Winfrey had sat down with Jackson just once in 1993 and the episode remains one of the most watched interviews on television with 90 million viewers.