The internet was awash with comments on the controversial doc, some staunch in their defence of the iconic singer and the allegations against him, and others outright shocked and appalled.
I think I was somewhere between the two; obviously disgusted by the alleged abuse but also wary about taking everything that was being discussed as the absolute truth.
The condemnation of MJ in the media was pretty widespread in the aftermath of the documentary airing; radio stations in Canada, New Zealand and The Netherlands outright banned his music while The Simpsons announced they’d be pulling their episode with him from TV scheduling.
Those close to Michael and his family, however, have been quick to deny the allegations, and now his nephew Taj Jackson has revealed plans of his own to make a documentary to counter Leaving Neverland.
Specifically, he plans to pick apart the HBO special and detail Michael’s various trials.
Speaking with NME, Taj said:
“It’s going to start off with the 1993 allegations because I think that’s where everything started. So it’s going to start there.
“It’s going to talk about the settlement in terms of the civil suit and why he settled. At one point he was very against settling and angry and then gave in. So why did he do that? So it’s going to talk about all of that. 1993/1994 to 2005 are the big parts of his life.
“So this is not going to be a puff piece. it’s not going to be, ‘Oh, let’s show Michael Jackson the humanitarian.’ This is about exposing all the things that have been mustering for 20, 30 years.”
He also states that he is going to go with “the facts” and will interview people who have previously accused Jackson, as long as he is able to find them.
This comes after Jackson’s daughter Paris recently spoke out about the impact of the documentary.
The 20-year-old wrote on Twitter: “Yeah they do that to everyone with a good heart and tries to make a difference but do you really think that it’s possible to tear his name down? Like do you truly believe they stand a chance? Relax and have peace.”
MJ’s brother, Jermaine Jackson, also spoke out in the wake of the documentary airing to discredit any claims made against his relative.
Elsewhere, singer and lifetime friend of Michael Jackson, Aaron Carter has blasted the documentary, explaining to TMZ via video he was upset at how the singer was depicted in the documentary.
“You’re a grown man, and when Michael Jackson was alive, you are backing him, you are up his a**, you are kissing his a**, you are there to testify for him under oath, and then when he dies, you decide that’s a good time to come out? No, what you’re doing is, you’re actually stomping on an icon and a legend’s grave – you’re stomping his grave.”
He also recalled his own experiences with Jackson from when he was a teenager, saying he used to stay with the singer and had no issues whatsoever.
“I remember having the time of my life with Michael, I was about 15 years old. I hung out with Michael Jackson, I stayed at his house, I stayed in his bedroom … it’s hard for me to understand that – how am I supposed to understand that when my own personal experience with him was gentle and beautiful and loving and embracing.“
I mean, in terms of the significance of a documentary I’m struggling to recall an example that generated as much public interest – and outcry – as Leaving Neverland.
No matter who you ask, someone’s got an opinion on it, and I’d be surprised if it went away any time soon.
In fact, I expect this to drag on and on and on.
You’ve been warned.
Images via HBO/Netflix/Twitter