Leaving Neverland: can the documentary about Michael Jackson affect his legacy?

Leaving Neverland: can the documentary about Michael Jackson affect his legacy?


For decades, Michael Jackson has been called “the king of pop.” It is one of the biggest stars of all time.

But since the documentary “Leaving Neverland” (Dejando Neverland) aired on television in the United States and in the United Kingdom, the legacy of the artist has been questioned.

In the film, James Safechuck and Wade Robson claim that the singer abused them when they were children.

The Jackson family has denied the accusations, but the accusations have thrown a big black cloud over the pop idol.

But how much could the allegations have affected his legacy?

Innocent or guilty?

The accusations made in the documentary undoubtedly outraged and disturbed many. People were surprised at the level of detail the two men gave about their relationship with Michael Jackson and the alleged abuse.

But there is no unanimous opinion that says the singer is innocent or guilty.

Fans of Michael Jackson in a protest about the broadcast of the documentary.
Copyright of the image GETTY IMAGESImage caption Fans of Michael Jackson during a protest in front of the studios of Channel 4, the UK channel that aired the documentary.


Some point out that the documentary portrays the king of pop as a pedophile. But there is also someone who defends him and continues to believe that he is innocent.

The digital marketing company SEMrush analyzed about 30,000 tweets that used the hashtag #michaeljackson and #leavingneverland between March 6 and 8.

And these are some of its results:

• 33% (7,995) of the tweets that used “Leaving Neverland” contained positive language.

• 39% (9.252) a neutral language.

• 27% (6,385) one negative.

• 37% (2,008) of the tweets in which “Michael Jackson” contained positive words.

• 38% (2,048) neutral.

• 24% (1,286) poured negative language.

Olga Andrienko, head of global marketing at SEMrush, said:

“There were almost three times as many people who had a positive reaction (about the documentary and its complaints) compared to the people who still supported the #michaeljackson label, after the documentary was broadcast.”

Michael Jackson
Copyright of the image GETTY IMAGESImage caption Michael Jackson was a child prodigy whose adult life was always surrounded by controversy.


Paul Blanchard, founder of the public relations company Right Angles, says it’s too early to say what impact the revelations that appear in the documentary will have on the long-term legacy of the artist.

“This is the Brexit of pop music, people will be increasingly divided, the longer it takes, the more alienated and divided the positions will be,” says the expert.

“Those who are beginning to reject the singer, will be more ratified in his opinion over time, but those who think he is the victim of blackmail and are only trying to get money, will think that more and more.”

What does the Jackson family say?

The family of Michael Jackson has denied categorically the accusations and says that those who denounce it all they are looking for is to take the singer’s money and assets.

His nephew Taj Jackson spoke with Newsbeat, of the BBC, and assured that, if he were alive, the singer would be “crying” for hearing such things.

Paris Jackson and Taj jackson
Copyright of the image GETTY IMAGESImage caption Paris Jackson the singer’s daughter and Taj is his nephew.


But other leading members of the family, such as his mother and sister Janet Jackson, have not been willing to make assessments of the allegations.

Also his daughter Paris , that since the documentary was issued has maintained a low profile and has not commented on it.

Until last Thursday he published a tweet in which he told his followers they were calm:

Everyone takes my life more seriously than I do,” he wrote on Twitter. He added: “I know that injustices are frustrating and that it is easy to be overwhelmed, but reacting with a cold mind is usually more logical than acting out of rage and also … you feel better.”

The firm that defends the estate of Michael Jackson has sued the production company HBO , which broadcasts the documentary in the United States, because it claims that the tape violates a non-depreciation clause of a previous contract and claims US $ 100 million.

Will your music stop playing?

Some radio stations around the world, including Australia, New Zealand and Canada, have stopped putting the songs of Michael Jackson.

Leon Wratt, the head of MediaWorks, which owns nine radio stations in New Zealand, said the company caters to the demands of its listeners and preferred to “be wrong about being cautious.”

Michael Jackson
Copyright of the image GETTY IMAGESImage caption Some radio stations have excluded pop idol songs from their lists.


But radio stations in the United Kingdom have not taken such a clear position.

The BBC assures that it does not veto artists and that the songs of Michael Jackson will be able to continue playing on their radio stations.

But not all have been so clear.

Global, which has stations such as Heart, Capital, Classic FM, Smooth and Capital XTRA (some of the most listened to in the UK) says that it “never comments on the decisions” it makes about the topics that sound on its radio stations.

Neverland, the house of Michael Jackson.
Copyright of the image GETTY IMAGESImage caption Neverland is the name that Michael Jackson gave to his ranch in Santa Barbara, California.


Scott Bryan, who presents the BBC’s Must Watch podcast, says he deleted 15 Michael Jackson songs from his iPhone after watching the documentary.

“A couple of days later, I was in a cafe working on my laptop and by coincidence, Michael Jackson started playing, I had to put on my headphones and listen to other music because I could not concentrate, it was a bit uncomfortable,” he says.

But a Radio 1 listener, Christian, 26, of England, says he thinks people should still listen to Michael Jackson.

“He’s the king of pop, I can not even imagine how many musicians have considered him a role model, he’s had some songs and entire albums that have been a real success.”

And what will happen to your cultural legacy?

An episode of The Simpsons in which appears the voice of Michael Jackson has stopped broadcasting on several television channels in the United States.

The singer put voice to a character named Leon Kompowsky, who knows Homer in a psychiatric hospital. The episode was first broadcast in 1991.

Michael Jackson statue
Copyright of the image GETTY IMAGESImage caption The statue erected in 2011 at the National Football Museum of Great Britain has been removed after the documentary was broadcast.


“It seems that this is the only appropriate decision,” executive producer James L Brooks told The Wall Street Journal .

“I am against the burning of books of any kind, but this is our book, and we can draw a chapter,” he added.

A statue of Michael Jackson of the National Football Museum of Great Britain has also been removed.

From “Thriller Live”, the musical focused on the music of Michael Jackson, have refused to comment on whether the documentary is affecting or not his shows that takes 10 years on their stages.

The website where you can buy tickets allows reservations until the end of September of this year.

One of the actors in the musical Thriller Live
Copyright of the image GETTY IMAGESImage caption “Thriller Live” is a show that has been on the bill for 10 years and has traveled all over the world.


There is also a production of Cirque du Soleil inspired by the singer and a Broadway show based on his music.

Taj Jackson, the nephew, told Newsbeat that the accusations are “hurtful,” but he believes they will not have an effect on his uncle’s legacy.

“I think it’s temporary, I think the truth will come out , ” he said.

But public relations expert Andy Barr, chief editor of the 10 Yetis representative agency, believes that the consequences of the documentary will leave some mark in the long term.

“I think the business people who are behind some of their upcoming startups will analyze it carefully and think if it has become a toxic name.”

Michael Jackson on stage.
Copyright of the image GETTY IMAGESImage caption Michael Jackson’s last world tour ended in 1997.


“Since he is not present to defend himself and his family can not really defend him, I do not think this will improve in the long term .”

“I think it’s only going to get worse and worse.”

Barr says that thanks to the internet, these accusations will always float around the name of Michael Jackson no matter what.

“I am a boy who grew up listening to his music and I have three small children, but I have to think if I want them to listen to this music knowing the connotations that it entails.”

“I think future generations will stop knowing who it was and it will end up falling a little into oblivion .”

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Rava Desk

Rava is an online news portal providing recent news, editorials, opinions and advice on day to day happenings in Pakistan.


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