By Brian Raftery
February 20, 2019

HBO has released the first trailer for the controversial Jackson documentary Leaving Neverland, which stunned audiences and critics when it premiered at the Sundance Film Festival earlier this year, and has enraged the singer’s estate.

The two-part film focuses on former Jackson proteges James Safechuck and Wade Robson, both of whom befriended the performer when they were children, and claim he sexually abused them. Variety described the movie as “devastating.”

Following the movie’s roll-out at Sundance, Jackson’s estate issued a statement to Rolling Stone, accusing Leaving Neverland of being “tabloid character assassination,” adding, “The film takes uncorroborated allegations that supposedly happened 20 years ago and treats them as fact.”

The trailer features footage of Jackson’s famed Neverland ranch in California, which was equipped with a carousel and a private movie theater with its own concession stand. There are also several shots of Jackson with Safechuck and Robson, the latter of whom received a special video birthday-card message from the singer. “Everybody wanted to meet Michael or be with Michael,” Safechuck says in the trailer. “And then he likes you.”

The fallout from Leaving Neverland could be severe, as Jackson, who died in 2009, still pulls in tens of million each year for his estate. Last month, the singer’s official Twitter account attacked HBO, saying it was “[giving] a voice to admitted liars.”

HBO will air the film over the course of two nights, beginning March 3rd.

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