The HBO/OWN exclusive saw Winfrey, 65, conduct a one-hour interview with director Dan Reed, Wade Robson and James Safechuck — the latter two being the driving force behind the making of Leaving Neverland.
Although the two previously defended Michael Jackson (under oath) during the People v. Jackson 2005 sexual abuse trial, Robson, 36, and Safechuck, 41, individually accused the late King of Pop of molesting them in 2013 and 2014 respectively.
They are the two most recent men to accuse Jackson of sexually exploiting them during their childhood. In 2017, their cases were dismissed.
Winfrey delved deeply into the long-spanning allegations and ultimately questioned the innocence and intentions of Jackson. As a result, Winfrey is now facing a major amount of backlash from long-time Jackson supporters.
Jackson fans across the globe have flocked to various social media platforms to send the host their hateful messages — many claiming that After Neverland is strictly “one-sided” while urging others to #MuteOprah.
Winfrey is known widely for her history in social activism and works aimed to expose sexual abusers and pedophiles, which is why many believe After Neverland stays true to her format.
However, there are many opponents who are questioning her intentions, including some who claim she conducted the interview for the “ratings” or “numbers.”
After Neverland came as one of Winfrey’s infrequent television appearances following the conclusion of her own talk show, The Oprah Winfrey Show, in 2011.
The OWN special was filmed in front of an audience of about 100 sexual abuse victims — a factor which many dedicated Jackson fans believe made the interview entirely biased.
A timeline of Michael Jackson’s sexual abuse allegations
Although the special never averted the topic of the singer’s supposed sexual abuse crimes, Winfrey claimed that the whole point of After Neverland was to raise awareness about sexual abuse, rather than just to tarnish Jackson or his legacy in the public eye.
“The movie transcends Michael Jackson,” claimed Winfrey to her audience. “If it gets you to see how happens, then some good would have come of it,” said Winfrey.
“This is a moment in time that allows us to see this societal corruption,” she added. “It’s like a scourge on humanity.”
While some supported Winfrey’s supposed intentions, many others weren’t quite convinced that she wasn’t trying to target the Smooth Criminal singer.
WATCH: Why exactly was ‘Leaving Neverland’ created?
Following its premiere, Jermaine Jackson — Jackson’s older brother and former Jackson 5 bandmate — took to Twitter to share his opinions on the matter.
He called out Winfrey and reiterated that Jackson was proven innocent through trial back in 2005 and that too many people are ignoring “the facts.”
“So many in media, including Oprah, are blindly taking #LeavingNeverland at face value and shaping a narrative uninterested in facts, proof and credibility,” he claimed.
“Trial-by-law proved Michael’s innocence long ago,” he continued. “Fact.”
Following its Sundance premiere in January, members of the Jackson family have continued to publicly denounce Leaving Neverland.
Collectively they’ve referred to the film as a “public lynching” against the singer. The Jackson estate sued HBO in February for allegedly violating a non-disparagement clause in a 1992 contract, which precluded the network from disparaging Jackson in the future.
The company ignored the suit and refused to change the premiere date or alter the contents of Leaving Neverland.
An abundance of Jackson supporters proceeded to call Winfrey out for her friendship and involvement with Harvey Weinstein — who has been faced with a countless amount of sexual abuse claims.
This led to many accusing Winfrey of picking and choosing who she publicly ousts.
The Jackson estate has continuously suggested that the “allegations would not have been made” if the King of Pop were still alive to defend himself.
During the premiere of Leaving Neverland, the Jackson estate made two of the singer’s concerts available to stream “for a limited time” on YouTube.
The 1992 concert Live in Bucharest (The Dangerous Tour), was available, free of charge, during the first part of the documentary, while the Live at Wembley Stadium concert premiered the following day.
Many believe the Jackson estate’s actions were made to derive or “distract” viewers from signing up for HBO and watching Leaving Neverland.
WATCH: Jermaine Jackson speaks out against ‘Leaving Neverland’ documentary
Whether it be the handful of sexual abuse allegations made against him, the premiere of Living with Michael Jackson (2003), Leaving Neverland or After Neverland, many different things have contributed to the dwindling of Jackson’s persona since 1993.
To this day, the truth about Jackson remains unknown, but the singer was never found guilty of any crime in a court of law.
Jackson denied all sexual assault accusations throughout his life, and since his death in 2009, he’s been unable to either defend himself in the court of public opinion, or confess to any of the alleged crimes.
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