Michael Jackson documentary leaves viewers 'shellshocked' with graphic child abuse allegations

Michael Jackson with James Safechuck.
Michael Jackson with James Safechuck. Photo credit: Getty

A new four-hour long documentary about Michael Jackson left audiences and critics "shellshocked" after presenting graphic allegations from two men claiming the singer abused them as children.

Leaving Neverland premiered on Friday (US Time) at the Sundance Film Festival detailing the accounts of Wade Robson and James Safechuck who claim Jackson befriended and then sexually abused them starting when they were just seven and 11-years-old respectively, reports Variety.

The material was apparently so graphic in its description of the sexual acts Jackson allegedly forced the children into that healthcare professionals and counsellors were present in the theatre in case any audience member needed to talk to someone about the footage.

The film reportedly features interviews with Mr Robson and Mr Safechuck - as well as their family members - about their first encounters with the singer and how they were groomed by him.

Jackson, who repeatedly denied sexual abuse allegations and was acquitted of child molestation charges in 2005, allegedly initiated sexual contact with the children during sleepovers before inviting them on trips, according to Variety.

Both men had been involved in the 2005 investigation into Jackson, with Mr Robson testifying that the singer never molested him - something he now says he did because he was scared of what would happen if he told the truth.

During a ten minute intermission for the film, viewers supposedly appeared dazed and shook by the film, and by the end, were completely "shellshocked", reports RollingStone.

Outside the cinema, a few fans of the singer turned out to protest the film but police outnumbered them and strictly screened audience members entering the theatre.

Some fans tweeted that just because the film made explicit allegations, it didn't mean they were credible.

"I've seen enough Law & Order and SVU to rattle off some wild scenarios too. The basis for believability should be grounded in something other than shock value," said one fan.

The Jackson estate released a statement calling the documentary a "rehash of dated and discredited allegations".

Other allegations presented in the film include that Jackson staged a mock wedding with Mr Robson and gave the boys jewellery in exchange for sex.

He allegedly tried to create a rift between the children and their parents, teaching the kids not to trust them or any woman.

The singer's Neverland Ranch also apparently has several secret rooms where the alleged sexual activities would take place.

Following the film, several film critics spoke out saying they were left shaken and feeling sick.

"Shaking. Wow. We were all wrong when we cheered for Michael Jackson. He was a pedophile," claimed US Weekly critic Mara Reinstein on Twitter.

Hollywood Elsewhere tweeted that the documentary should be considered a "horror film".