Leaving Neverland: 20 Little Known Details About HBO's Michael Jackson Doc

Leaving Neverland is a special documentary that aired on HBO over two parts on March 3rd and 4th of 2019. It casts Michael Jackson and his true character in an entirely new light, and follows the lives of the two men whose lives were irrevocably changed by their interactions with the pop sensation.

The title Leaving Neverland is hard to miss right now. Whether you're watching the news, are on social media, or are even just talking among your friends over dinner, it likely has come up at least once, if not several times. It's all anyone can talk about right now, and for good reason.

It raises questions, starts debates, and makes you wonder if those who we idolize are not as perfect as we once thought they were. And if that is truly the case, what exactly is lurking behind their superstar facade? Regardless of your position on the HBO two-part, four-hour documentary, there is a lot to unpack and digest in a short amount of time.

But even with the many details released throughout the two-night special, there were things about Michael Jackson, as well as those involved in this documentary, that were left out. Some of these details or events took place after its initial premiere at Sundance at the end of January 2019, while others simply didn't make the cut of the film. For those who are still itching for more information about this documentary and the lives of those involved, look no further.

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20 The Jackson Family Thought This Would Happen Around The 10-Year Mark Of Michael’s Passing

Michael Jackson passed away in June of 2009, which means we are coming up on the 10-year anniversary of that day. And according to his family, they felt that these allegations against him would be brought up again around that time.

They were prepared because they felt the media would find it to be perfect timing to coincide with the anniversary. The family has vehemently denied the allegations against their superstar brother, so they feel this is all a huge ploy for money and fame.

19 Oprah Winfrey Did A Special After Leaving Neverland Aired

Everyone has been abuzz ever since this doc first aired, including none other than Oprah Winfrey. She aired her own special about this documentary, aptly titled After Neverland. 

She has expected— and received— backlash for her views from Michael’s devoted fan-base, since she is keen to believe what was said by his accusers. On her special, she interviewed the director of Leaving Neverland, Dan Reed, as well as Michael's accusers, Wade Robson, and James Safechuck. She began to receive backlash for the interviews before it even aired.

18 Michael Jackson’s Neverland Ranch Is Currently For Sale For $31 Million

Michael’s famous Neverland Ranch, now called Sycamore Valley Ranch, is currently for sale for a whopping $31 million. The 2,700-acre California compound has had difficulty selling, since it was originally listed at $100 million and has had the price drop significantly due to lack of interest.

Granted, someone could come and buy it because they view it as a "steal," but with all of the negative press surrounding the Jackson estate at the moment, potential buyers would definitely need to think twice about the purchase.

17 Leaving Neverland Filmmakers Didn’t Contact The Jackson Family

For anyone who has seen this documentary, it is apparent that the main focus is surrounding Wade Robson and James Safechuck, as well as their families. But that meant no one in Michael’s family was contacted by the filmmakers, much to the family’s dismay. They felt they had a right to defend their brother.

Director Dan Reed wanted the sole focus to be on the victims and how the actions of Michael's past with them directly affected them for the rest of their lives.  

16 The Mothers Of The Accusers Have Faced Backlash After The Doc

The biggest questions since the Leaving Neverland doc premiered on HBO are, “Where were the mothers during all of this?” and “Why didn’t they suspect what was happening right away?” Because of this line of questioning, it has led several to put the fault on the mothers just as much as they do on Jackson for the accusations against him.

The mothers felt they were "groomed" by Michael just as much as their children were, but there are still many people who can't understand how they were blind to what was apparently happening for so long.

15 Michael’s Longtime Makeup Artist Worked For Him For Nearly Three Decades

Karen Faye, who was Jackson’s makeup artist up until his passing in 2009, was mentioned briefly in the HBO special.  She also was a longtime friend and makeup artist to Michael over the three decades of his career before he passed.

Gossip magazines even speculated they were together during his marriage to Lisa Marie Presley. Since Leaving Neverland aired, she has come out with her own defense of Michael and still seems to be just as loyal to her former boss and friend as ever.

14 Jackson’s Black Armband He Always Wore Was For Children

Michael Jackson was almost always seen wearing a black armband everywhere he went, and there was apparently a reason he wore it so frequently. According to him, it was for the children around the world who were struggling.

Those who believe Jackson is innocent find this to be an endearing trait, one representative of his character, while those who believe he was guilty of the allegations against him think this might have been more sinister than endearing the entire time.

13 The Leaving Neverland Doc Has Sparked Debates On Social Media

Since HBO aired both parts of the Leaving Neverland doc that featured Michael Jackson and his supposed past, there have been debates all across Twitter, as well as other social media platforms, causing people to take sides.

There is, of course, Michael's extremely dedicated fan-base who denies all of the allegations against their King of Pop. But there are also those who are on the opposite end of the spectrum, who believe the victims and the stories they told.  This has caused Twitter to blow up with debate after debate since the airing of this special.

12 Michael Carried Around Oscars Before The End In Case He Needed Money

Before Jackson’s sudden passing in 2009, he was having financial woes, according to his bodyguards at the time.  They said he had them carry around two Oscars in a silver suitcase just in case Michael needed money.

The Oscar statuettes were both from Gone With The Wind, and the singer bought them in 1999 for $1.5 million. He was so worried he would have to pay a bill and be completely broke that he carried them with him on his bodyguard's person at all times.

11 The Lawyer Who Represented Michael In 2005 Is Familiar

Anyone who has watched this special may have done a double take when seeing Jackson's lawyer.  He's hard to miss with his stark white hair, but he also has a familiar face. Thomas Mesereau helped Michael to get acquitted in the infamous 2005 trial where he faced similar allegations to the ones presented in the documentary, but he is also known for defending a slew of other celebrities.

His defendant list includes Mike Tyson, Robert Blake, and Bill Cosby, among many other famous faces.

10 His Lawyer Also Blames #MeToo For The Doc

The very same lawyer who had defended Michael through serious allegations in the past, has now stirred up controversy with his views on this documentary. Apparently, Jackson’s former lawyer, who is, of course, no stranger to controversy, is blaming a popular movement— #MeToo— as the reason behind the Leaving Neverland documentary.

But according to the men featured in the special, they had started this process before the #MeToo movement even existed.  So there is no actual proof that Thomas Mesereau's statements have any truth behind it.

9 Director Dan Reed Didn’t Talk To Jackson’s Staff For A Reason

Leaving Neverland's director, Dan Reed, says there was a very specific reason he didn’t consult any of Michael’s staff about the accusations against the late pop icon. He personally felt they would bring no value to the production.

He also thought that the story should be focused on Wade Robson and James Safechuck instead of anyone else and that including people who were in Michael's inner circle would basically take away from the story the two men were trying to tell.

8 The Jackson Estate Is Suing HBO

They are alleging in a lawsuit filed recently, that “Leaving Neverland violates a 1992 contract agreeing the channel would not disparage Jackson in the future.” HBO is claiming that the lawsuit is just a “desperate attempt to undermine the film.”

The contract that was apparently violated was so HBO could air a concert of Jackson's in 1992. Despite the family's lawsuit against HBO, they still went forth with airing the two-part documentary on March 3rd and 4th. They wanted to stand by their decision to tell this story.

7 BBC Radio 2 Removed Michael’s Discography From Rotation

There has been plenty of speculation on what will happen now that these stories have been told about Michael Jackson and his possible actions before his passing. The main question is if it will officially change the way fans of him and his music view him.  

So far, there have not been many significant changes to the Jackson empire, but the pop icon has officially had his discography removed from BBC Radio 2, which is the U.K.’s most popular station. This could mean there will potentially be more radio stations to follow.

6 Jermaine Jackson is “1000% Sure” Of His Brother’s Innocence

Loyalty has not wavered in the Jackson clan to their brother, Michael, and that goes for Jermaine, as well. He is quoted as saying he is “1000% sure” of Michael’s innocence in the allegations against him.

He also went on to say as he was choked-up, "Just leave us alone. Leave him alone. Let him rest. Please, let him rest. He deserves to rest.” This was during a 10-minute interview on Good Morning Britain in the first televised interview with him since the doc originally premiered at Sundance.

5 Michael’s Accusers Were Not Paid For Leaving Neverland

A lot has been said about the assumed victims, including that they are only in this for the money, but neither were ever paid for making the documentary surrounding their past with the King of Pop. Safechuck was quoted saying after the premiere on January 25, 2019, "From the get-go, there was no money ever offered and we never expected anything. It was really trying to tell the story and shine a light on it." Robson added, "We’ve been looking for a platform to be able to tell the truth. This film was nothing we ever thought about or sought out. It came to us individually.”

4 Macaulay Culkin Won’t Discuss The Doc

Macaulay Culkin was famously friends with Michael Jackson from a very young age, which was mentioned in Leaving Neverland. But not only did Culkin not participate himself in the documentary, but he also won’t discuss it now that it has aired.

Multiple outlets, including Huffpos, have reached out to him for a comment and the response they got from his publicist was short and to the point. She said, "We are receiving myriad requests all with the promise of intent to ‘handle the topic responsibly,’” but she went on to say that while she thanked him for his interest, "no thank you."

3 The Jackson Family Is Trying To Discredit The Accusers

Since the now infamous and controversial documentary has aired, Michael’s family members have been doing whatever they can to defend his name— including discrediting the accusers. There have been claims of financial woes spurring them to do this as well as other accusations like Robson how was not picked for the Cirque du Soleil show about Michael's life. But none of it has been proven as of yet. Robson stated he left the Cirque show himself due to nervous breakdowns he was having. So it’s hard to say what actually happened there.

2 Corey Feldman Has Thoughts On Leaving Neverland

Corey Feldman is an actor and celebrity that was especially famous in the '80s. He also was a close friend of Jackson's growing up. He has said that he felt the film was “one-sided” and that there was nothing about the Michael he knew that resembled what was said in the film.

However, he did say we should let Robson and Safechuck’s voices be heard. This may be because of his own advocacy for victims in similar cases, but he still seems to side with his late-friend.

1 Michael Jackson’s Legacy Is In Jeopardy

Since the release of the controversial Leaving Neverland documentary, it is all anyone can talk about.  No matter what side of the fence you are on, you are bound to have feelings on it. With that knowledge, it’s no surprise that there is much speculation about how this will all effect Jackson’s legacy - as well as his empire as a whole. There is a good chance that even with his dedicated fan-base through all of this, that his empire may slowly start to crumble after these heavy allegations that are against him.  Only time will tell.

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