How a Single Documentary has Managed to Dethrone America’s Idol
Two hours after the first installment of Leaving Neverland aired Sunday on HBO, the King of Pop, along with his golden throne, were turned upside down, with no chance of it ever being reversed.
Leaving Neverland is the documentary directed by Dan Reed that appeared at the Sundance Film Festival. It follows the story of Wade Robson and James Safechuck, two of Jackson’s biggest accusers. Over the span of nearly two hours, both men put forth testimony that directly challenges the narrative repeated by Jackson and his family long after his accidental death from acute propofol and benzodiazepine intoxication. Not only does the testimony put forth challenge Jackson’s narrative but challenges the verdict in the 2005 trial. With many still skeptical of his innocence or guilt, this documentary has seemingly managed to slam Jackson with a guilty verdict, altering his public perception.
What is important to note is that as much damage as this documentary has done to Jackson’s public image, it is not powerful enough to erase him from the face of popular culture. A single documentary, much like a bought innocent verdict, will never be enough to completely cancel Michael Jackson.
Nearly a decade after his death, Jackson has managed to maintain his mythical status, one that has absolved him of any wrongdoing. His mythical god-like status was what allowed him to buy his innocent verdict, preventing him from going to jail for 20 years. But this time around, nothing can save him from the wreck he caused.
Despite there being physical and testimonial evidence in 2005, Jackson was able to buy his verdict by casting doubt over his witnesses. Testimonies didn’t add up, Jackson acted like a complete ass in court, and the evidence was sketchy. Jackson was able to use his star-power and carefully crafted image to his advantage. But this time around, Jackson isn’t around to save himself and there is no way he could.
Leaving Neverland gives Jackson the verdict he should have received when he was alive. The first segment of the documentary provides viewers with just over two hours of unbelievably damning evidence, none of which could be made up. Every detail told over the course of the documentary weaves together to paint a morbid and ugly, but true picture.
Oprah was right when she called Jackson a “scourge on humanity,” because that is what he is. Jackson represents the worst and the best of humanity. He represents pure talent and charm. But he also represents what excessive money can do and the most morbid and twisted. This documentary has forever altered the perception of Jackson, proving that money can only take you so far.
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