Michael Jackson's 'Leaving Neverland' Accusers Detail Alleged Sexual Abuse in First TV Interview

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Wade Robson and James Safechuck are speaking out about the sexual abuse allegations they both make against Michael Jackson in the documentary Leaving Neverland.

Following the film's Sundance premiere and ahead of its HBO release, the two men appeared on CBS This Morning on Thursday and detailed how the alleged abuse began and was carried out over years. Jackson's family has denied all allegations against the late singer, and his estate is suing HBO over the documentary.

Robson "instantly became obsessed" with Jackson after seeing the 1983 documentary Making Michael Jackson's Thriller, even dressing like him and changing his own hair to resemble Jackson's. He first met Jackson when he was five and alleged that the abuse began two years later when he was seven.

Safechuck, meanwhile, "wasn't necessarily a big fan" of the iconic singer before booking a Pepsi commercial with him in the late 1980s. That quickly changed after Safechuck and Jackson met on the set of the commercial just before Safechuck's ninth birthday, something the alleged victim described as "otherworldly." Safechuck said his alleged abuse began when he was 10.

Both boys were eventually invited to Neverland, Jackson's famed California ranch, where they said the first incidents of alleged abuse occurred. Despite that, Robson called Neverland "the most magical thing I'd ever seen."

"That first night, Michael just kind of took us on a little bit of a tour. And he said to me and my sister, 'You can stay in one of the guest rooms or you can stay in here with me if you want,'" Robson recalled. "And my reaction was, 'Of course, I want stay with you.'"

Following Robson's first night at Jackson's home, he was set to depart for a trip with his family, but neither he nor Jackson wanted to leave each other.

"I was devastated to leave Michael. Michael was devastated for me to leave. He actually sobbed," Robson said. "So I got to stay. And so it was just Michael and I in Neverland for the next week... My parents allowed that."

One or two nights later, "the night started changing," beginning with, Robson claimed, small touches that initially felt fatherly.

"One of the ways I remember it starting is Michael just sort of starting to touch my legs and touch my crotch over my pants. It progressed to him performing oral sex on me, him showing me how to perform oral sex on him," Robson alleged. "A couple days prior to the abuse starting, he started touching me just in the sense of, like, hand on my leg, lots of hugs, kissing my forehead, rubbing my hand. So it'd been this kind of development of physical closeness that was happening already that felt like a father. It just felt amazing."

"As Michael started doing these sexual acts, he started talking to me about, 'God brought us together. We love each other... And this is how we show each other our love,'" Robson added.

Safechuck detailed a similar story to Robson's, claiming that Jackson "introduced me to masturbation," but that he was never frightened throughout the alleged abuse.

"He said I taught him how to French kiss. And then it moves onto oral sex," Safechuck said. "... It's in the context of a loving, close relationship. There's no alarm bells going off in your head or any thoughts like that. Really, it's just, 'I love this person and we're trying to make each other happy.'"

"He said I was his first, but even as a kid, you don't even know what that means," Safechuck added. "So you're lovers and you're best friends... You just feel really connected to someone, and you just love them intensely."

Despite the alleged years-long abuse, Robson called his time with Jackson "extremely tender."

"The way Michael approached the abuse, the sexual activity with me, was always extremely tender," Robson said. "... He didn't beat me... He never said mean things to me. It was all, 'We love each other.' It was all tender."

Though both men are now claiming they were abused by the "Billie Jean" singer, they have previously denied that Jackson abused them. In 1993, they both denied the abuse when another boy's father accused Jackson of sexually abusing his son.

In 2005, Robson testified for Jackson's defense during a criminal trial for molestation charges that were brought about by child cancer survivor Gavin Arvizo. Though Robson said he now "wish[es] that I was ready" to recount his alleged abuse at the trial, he claimed that "Michael's training of me to testify began the first night that he started abusing me."

"He started telling me that if anybody else ever finds out, we'll both go to jail, both of our lives would be over," Robson claimed.

"... I wish that I could've helped Gavin Arvizo receive some justice and some validation for what happened to him that was just like what happened to me and just like what happened to James," Robson added. "And I wish that I could have played a role in, at that point, stopping Michael from abusing however many other kids he did after that." 

While the Jackson family has said they believe Robson and Safechuck decided to come forward for money, both men said that their decision to go public with their accusations came when they became dads. Additionally, the men told CBS This Morning that they were not paid to appear in the documentary and have no stake in its financial outcome. 

“This is the truth of what happened, but the reason for me to tell it now, the reason to do this film, is so much bigger than Michael. It’s so much bigger than me and James," Robson added. "... If I never had a son, I might still be in silence. I think there’s a really good chance. I had become so disconnected from myself as a little boy over the years… I had no kind of concept or care for, in my mind, little Wade."

"I started having visions or images of what happened to me, happening to my son. And I saw images of Michael doing it to my son," Robson continued. "And that was the first time that those kinds of thoughts in relation to Michael ever had an extremely negative, scary, emotional reaction in me. It was once... I could really understand this is what a little boy looks like and feels like and thinks like and behaves like and this is what innocence feels like. And that was me.”

"For me, the lawsuit was about fighting back for little James. Nobody fought for me as a kid, but I’m old enough now to fight for myself,” Safechuck said, before adding that he still has "a bit of love" for Jackson.

"There’s still a bit of love and there’s still, it’s almost like a guilt, for saying the truth. Like I betrayed him," Safechuck said. "It’s like I still have that old wiring, that’s still there. So my relationship or my understanding of my relationship with him… it needs a lot of work."

Both Safechuck and Robson think there are other Jackson victims, but Safechuck doubts they will come forward.

"I do think there are others out there, but I also don't expect them to just come out now that we're coming out," Safechuck said. "It's such a difficult thing to do, to come out. You have to do it when you're ready."

"I believe there are many other boys that Michael abused," Robson agreed. "I find it hard to believe that he had boys around for any other reason than to sexually abuse them." 

While both men are speaking out about their alleged abuse now, they're uncertain if they would've come forward if Jackson was still alive.

“I guess if I could speculate if Michael was still alive and all the other rest of the details of my life were the same -- meaning I became a father… and I went through the same process that I did of this realization and going through the healing process -- my belief is that we’d still be doing this," Robson said. 

“I don’t know. Would I have taken this to my grave? I certainly planned on doing that," Safechuck said. "… I had no expectations of ever telling anyone… If he was still alive, yeah, I don’t know. Maybe I would’ve taken it to my grave.” 

For Robson, though, it was important to come forward because of how his story could provide comfort to other alleged victims.

"We can't change what happened to us. It happened. It's done," Robson said. "But what can we do with it now? How can we provide comfort for other survivors? That's what this is about. And Michael just happens to be the guy, the abuser in this child sexual abuse story." 

On Wednesday's episode of CBS This Morning, Jackson's brothers and nephew denied all allegations against the late singer, despite refusing to see the film. 

"I don't care to see it because I know my brother," Jackie Jackson said. "I don't have to see that documentary. I know Michael. I'm the oldest brother. I know my brother. I know what he stood for. What he was all about. Bringing the world together. Making kids happy. That's the kind of person he was."

"I want [viewers] to understand and know that this documentary is not telling the truth," his brother, Marlon Jackson, added. "There has not been one piece of evidence that corroborates their story, and they're not interested in doing that."

Oprah Winfrey also announced that she'll be sitting down with both alleged victims and the film's director following the conclusion of Leaving Neverland. The documentary is set to air on HBO in two parts on March 3 and 4, while Oprah Winfrey Presents: After Neverland will air on HBO and OWN immediately following part two of the film.

Watch the video below for more on Leaving Neverland


Michael Jackson’s Family Slams 'Leaving Neverland,' But Won't See It

Michael Jackson Estate Sues HBO for $100 Million Over 'Leaving Neverland' Documentary 

'Leaving Neverland': HBO Shares First Trailer for Michael Jackson Documentary

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