When to Watch
Part I – 8 p.m., Sunday, March 3
Part II – 8 p.m., Monday, March 4
*Part II will also be available on HBO GO, NOW and On Demand starting Sunday, March 3 at 10 p.m.
Leaving Neverland explores the separate but parallel experiences of two young boys — James “Jimmy” Safechuck and Wade Robson, who at ages 10 and 7 respectively, were befriended by Michael Jackson. Through interviews with Safechuck, now 40, and Robson, now 36, as well as their mothers, wives and siblings, Leaving Neverland presents their accounts of sustained abuse over the course of several years, exploring the complicated feelings that led both men to confront their experiences.
The film includes explicit and descriptive firsthand accounts of childhood sexual abuse and its lasting impact, symptoms of trauma, and the process of healing that these two men experienced, and which may be familiar to other survivors.
Television programming addressing sexual abuse may be very disturbing for viewers. If you or a friend or family member have been impacted by child sexual abuse, this film may be particularly difficult to view. Some scenes, especially those including home videos and photographs, may trigger memories and intense emotions for survivors, parents, and others affected. Viewers who may be impacted are encouraged to make a personal care plan ahead of watching the broadcast.
The following suggestions can assist as you watch Leaving Neverland:
Take your time. We recommend taking a break between the two 2-hour segments. If the material becomes overwhelming and you are concerned about receiving content that may negatively impact you or you become distressed, allow yourself to take a break, walk away, or turn it off.
Check in with yourself. While survivors can lead thriving, productive lives, it is normal for individuals who have experienced sexual abuse either directly or indirectly to experience a host of feelings and emotions. If you need immediate support or assistance, please refer to the hotlines listed at the end of this guide. You can also find an additional set of resources here.
Watch in a supportive environment. Plan to view in a space that feels safe and supportive to you. You may choose to watch alone or with others. Make a plan to engage with your support network before, during and after viewing. If you need immediate support, please refer to the hotlines listed below.
Arrange for ways to decompress after watching difficult content. This may mean spending time alone or amongst community to discuss the material in a supportive environment. Be mindful of social media engagement during or after the airing of the documentary as some responses to the program may cause further distress. Consult this guide from RAINN for more tips or information on consuming media for survivors.
As a final note, “Stories of sexual violence tend to prompt reactions from the public, who either agree or disagree with the allegations. It can be painful to read about people not believing a survivor’s story or the difficulties of a particular investigation. Remind yourself that these stories are not happening to you in this moment, and find comfort by talking to someone you trust.” — RAINN (Rape, Abuse & Incest National Network)
To speak with someone who is trained to help:
• National Sexual Assault Hotline at 800.656.HOPE (4673) or chat online at online.rainn.org.
• National Helpline for Men Who Were Sexually Abused or Assaulted at 1in6.org/helpline/
• Childhelp National Child Abuse Hotline (1-800-4-A-CHILD)
HBO and OWN will present Oprah Winfrey Presents: After Neverland, a conversation hosted by Oprah Winfrey featuring Wade Robson and James Safechuck, subjects of the two-part HBO documentary Leaving Neverland alongside director Dan Reed. Taped before an audience of survivors of sexual abuse and others whose lives have been impacted by it, the special debuts Monday, March 4 at 10 p.m. immediately following the conclusion of Part 2 of Leaving Neverland.