Differences Between Leaving Neverland/interviews and the Robson/Safechuck lawsuits

While the story in “Leaving Neverland” is based on Wade Robson and James Safechuck’s lawsuits, there are some differences between the film, their interviews during the promotional campaign of the film and their complaints. Here I will post a list of those differences:

1) Wade Robson’s bloody underwear

In the film Wade Robson makes the allegation that Michael Jackson made him get rid of a bloody underwear after attempting to anally penetrate him when Wade was 14.

Robson does claim the anal penetration attempt in the court filing, but does not claim anything about a bloody underwear and Jackson allegedly making him get rid of it. This is all that is alleged in the complaint about the alleged anal penetration [1]:

Is this yet another example of Wade Robson’s ever evolving “memories”?

2) James Safechuck’s sex tape

In interviews during the promotional campaign of the film, James Safechuck made an allegation that Jackson supposedly made a video tape of their alleged sex acts. Safechuck, conveniently, alleges that Jackson then destroyed this evidence.

“Both men claim Jackson never wore condoms during their sex acts. They allege he often plied them with alcohol and pornography before molesting them, and even recorded one of his sexual encounters with Safechuck.

“He immediately freaked out when he realized what he just did and taped over it,” Safechuck says. Although he was aware Jackson was filming, “it was fun at the time, and when you’re having fun, (Jackson) isn’t thinking about it. But later, he’s like, ‘Wait a minute. I just documented this.’ He was very careful, but that was his one sort of slip. [2]

This claim was neither in his complaint, nor in the film. It was first alleged during the promotional interviews of “Leaving Neverland”.

Safechuck made sure to add that Jackson quickly deleted the video, so there is no evidence of it, very conveniently, but if this was something that Jackson did with children, there would be a big likelihood that sooner or later he would slip up on something like this. There is no evidence of Jackson ever making or having such tapes. Keep in mind that his premises were raided and thoroughly searched in both 1993 and 2003 and also that he was a disorganized hoarder. No sex tape was ever found in his possession either with Safechuck or any other child.

(Maybe we should take a mental note of the fact that when Safechuck first started claiming this, the R. Kelly case, that heavily features sex tapes, was very prominent in the media.)

It is also strange that Safechuck describes this as “fun”. I know that every victim is different, but from what I read in literature about child sexual abuse, an abuser making videos of the abuse is usually an extremely horrifying and traumatic experience for the victim.

3) James Safechuck alleges Jackson showed him child pornography

James Safechuck alleges in his court filings that Jackson showed him child pornography – movies in which children were masturbating [3].

Safechuck made the claim in the film that Jackson showed him pornography, but there was no mention of movies with children masturbating in it or any kind of child pornography.

There is no evidence of Jackson ever having such movies. No such movies were ever found at his premises during the extensive house searches in both 1993 and 2003.

4) Jackson’s children as the motivation for Robson to testify the way he did in 2005

In the film Wade Robson alleges that what finally convinced him of protecting Jackson in Court in 2005 was a dinner that they had together before Wade’s testimony where Jackson looked very sick and Wade felt sorry for his children and was worried for them that they would be left without a parent if Jackson went to jail. Wade tells about this in a dramatic tone where he attempts to seem compassionate for Jackson’s children.

Here you can watch that part:

In his complaint this was never mentioned as a motive for him to testify the way he did. There his reason was Jackson’s alleged role playing of him on the phone and him not understanding that he was abused [1]:

5) “Disgusting sexual stuff”

Although Robson in the film mentioned Jackson calling him on the phone before his 2005 testimony, but he leaves out the part where Jackson told him: “They are making up all these lies about you and me, saying that we did all this disgusting sexual stuff.”

Probably because – although Robson now, in the hindsight tries to characterize this as some sort of “role play” -, it actually looks like something that an innocent man would say, not an abuser to his victim. Jackson calls the allegations “made up” and “lies”, and calls them “disgusting sexual stuff”. Not love.  Not romance. Not a beautiful thing.

It defies Wade’s claim of him believing it was love until 2012, because he was allegedly brainwashed into that by Jackson. Here he quotes Jackson himself telling him that such acts would be “disgusting sexual stuff”, so how would that not, at least, ring a bell to an adult man, like Wade was in 2005, that something was wrong with the “love” angle, after all?

6) Safechuck alleges ongoing threat and intimidation by Jackson in his lawsuit

In the film the narrative is that these two men protected Jackson for so long because  they were brainwashed to be “in love” with him. However, in their lawsuit there are other angles that are omitted from the film – possibly because they would contradict the “in love” narrative.

For example, in Safechuck’s complaint there is also a strong narrative of alleged constant intimidation and threats by Jackson. In a declaration he claims that Jackson constantly checked on him over the years by calling him once or twice a year and reminded him to keep his mouth shut or else his “life would be over”.

This narrative in his complaint was used to support an equitable estoppel argument. Equitable estoppel is a legal doctrine that prevents that someone could take advantage of his wrongdoings in court. For example, in relation to statutes of limitations, if a claimant or plaintiff fails to file a timely claim because the defendant threatened or intimidated him, then equitable estoppel can be invoked and in that case claimant’s/plaintiff’s complaint would not be dismissed even if statutes of limitations have already run.

For this argument and to get around the statutes of limitations Safechuck needed to establish ongoing threats and intimidation by Jackson, so he filed a declaration in which, next to the “love” narrative, he is also going on and on and on about alleged threats and intimidation by Jackson, although the exact nature of it remains vague. He writes:

“During the entire time I knew [Michael Jackson], he continued to intimidate and threaten me in a manner that can be described as subtle only in the sense that he did not threaten actual physical violence – but his intimidation and threats were no less real and effective. He told me over and over again that my life would be finished if anyone found out about what he/we had done, and I believed him. I had no reason not to, because he trained me to believe that and I had no reason to doubt or question what he said. And because of who [Michael Jackson] was – his power, his iconic status around the world, his fame and fortune – I knew that he could see to it that my life would be over if what happened ever came out.” [4]

Let us note here, that there is no record of Jackson being a vengeful, threatening, intimidating character who would “see to it” that people’s life were over if they crossed his path. On the contrary, he was a pretty meek guy. But Safechuck needed to claim intimidation and threats for an equitable estoppel argument to try to get around statutes of limitations, so he claimed intimidation and threats.

7) The litigation against Jackson’s companies

A LOT is left out of the film about the legal proceedings of both Robson and Safechuck. In actuality, the fact that they are both suing Jacskon’s entities (Estate and companies) for a monetary compensation is only mentioned fleetingly. It is mentioned in the film that the lawsuit was dismissed “based on technical grounds and not merit”, but it fails to explain the legal background to that and that the ruling does include implicit judgements about the truthfulness of some of their claims.

For example, to get around statutes of limitations, Robson claimed that he did not know about the administration of the Michael Jackson Estate before March 4, 2013, which proved to be a blatant lie – and that under oath.

Safechuck’s complaint never even got past the demurrer phase, because, unlike Robson, he was never even employed by Jackson’s companies during the time he claims sexual abuse. To be able to even sue, he needed to make up a very contrived theory about how the fact that he danced with Jackson (and other children) on stage during the Bad Tour was somehow “employment” by Jackson’s companies.

Considering that they claim this is not about about money, it is interesting that they both go lengths to get to that money in Court, even if they have to lie or twist things for that.

Both men’s lawsuits allege that Jackson’s companies, MJJ Productions and MJJ Ventures, were “the most sophisticated public child sexual abuse procurement and facilitation organization[s] the world has known” that knowingly and deliberately “facilitated” their alleged abuse.

They make up contrived ways to try to blame their alleged abuse on the companies just to be able to sue them, calling Jackson’s personal assistant at the time, Norma Staikos a “madam” or “procurer” of child sexual abuse victims for Michael Jackson”, all the while never mentioning their own parents’ responsibility in their lawsuit.

While doing this, they make several false claims which were inadvertently destroyed by Wade’s own mother, Joy Robson in her 2016 deposition.

For a detailed discussion of Robson’s civil lawsuit see this article (like mentioned, Safechuck’s lawsuit never even got to this stage, but he made similar allegations about the companies as Robson).

8) Dishonest editing – Mark Geragos’s words taken out of context

Dishonest editing, leaving out context is also very characteristic of Leaving Neverland. For example, when the film talks about Jackson’s 2005 trial, a video clip is played where Jackson’s lawyer at the time, Mark Geragos is heard saying: “We will land on you like a ton of bricks, we will land on you like a hammer if you do anything to besmirch this man’s reputation, we will unleash a legal torrent like you have never seen.”

It is placed in a context to make it look like Geragos was threatening the accusers.


The reality is that it was directed at two men who wiretaped Jackson’s conversations with his lawyers on an airplane and then attempted to sell the tape to the media.

Here is the real context:

The real paragraph goes like this: “We will land on you like a ton of bricks, we will land on you like a hammer if you do anything to besmirch this man’s reputation, anything to intrude on his privacy, in any way that’s actionable, we will unleash a legal torrent like you have never seen.”

As you can see, Leaving Neverland director Dan Reed deceptively edited out words that would refer to the original issue and context – the highlighted parts.


Geragos threatened to sue Reed [5].


9) Completely different stories about how the Safechucks’ relationship with Jackson started

The Safechucks are telling a completely different story in the film about how their relationship with Jackson started compared to James’s lawsuit. That Jackson and James first met during the shooting of a Pepsi commercial in late 1986-early 1987 is the same, but after that the stories dramatically differ.

In the film we hear Stephanie Safechuck say: “One day the phone rang and I picked it up: ‘Hi, this is Michael, I’m calling from Australia. I saw Jimmy’s commercial.’ I thought: ‘How touching, he doesn’t think it is his commercial, he thinks it’s Jimmy’s.’ So I put Jimmy on the phone and I could hear Jimmy say: ‘People tell me at school that you’re weird.’ Michael said: ‘Don’t listen to what anybody says. You know me, you know I’m not weird.’ And that started the relationship.

So Michael is still in Australia and asked if he could send a crew to our house to film Jimmy.  So a crew came and Jimmy didn’t have any posters of Michael, so they put up posters of Michael all through Jimmy’s bedroom, so when they filmed it, you know, it was more appealing. It was exciting for all of us, for the the whole family.”

James Safechuck: “I sat on the bed and put all my memorabilia there and they just interviewed me. And then I did a little dance performance and they filmed that. Now that I look on it, it’s almost like an audition for him. He sends this film crew out.”

Stephanie Safechuck: “He didn’t explain that. I just figured he’s far away and this is part how he can be with people, and he made it clear that he was very lonely, he didn’t have any friends.”

James Safechuck: “And then his secretary or somebody called and asked if we would like to go to dinner at the Havenhurst house.”

So this is how Jackson’s relationship starts with the Safechucks according to Leaving Neverland.

The story in James’s lawsuit, however, doesn’t even remotely resemble this. There the claim is that after the Pepsi commercial “Michael Jackson wrote a letter to [James Safechuck]” dated March 10, 1987. Notice how in the first sentence of paragraph 12 below the implication is that it was Jackson who initiated the contact. However, if you pay attention to the following letter that Jackson wrote to James, its first sentence is: “thank you for your letter”, which clearly indicates that Jackson answers to a letter that James had previously written to him. That initial letter is never mentioned explicitly in Safechuck’s complaint, though.

Safechuck first encounter 1


In the complaint after this letter (so shortly after March 10, 1987) the Safechucks are invited to Jackson’s Hayvenhurst home and by Thanksgiving Day (November 26, 1987) they are already good friends with Jackson.

Safechuck first encounter 2


This is a quite different story to what we see in the film, isn’t it?

In the film the Safechucks claim that the start of their relationship with Jackson was when Jackson, just out of the blue, called them from Australia.  They claim that was their first contact with him after the Pepsi commercial. The time period when Jackson was in Australia in 1987 is November, and the film also represents this scene after the November 1987 time marker. Here are the dates when Jackson performed in there during his Bad Tour:

Australia 1987

In James’s lawsuit, on the other hand, by Thanksgiving Day (November 26) they already have a friendship with Jackson and Jackson spends Thanksgiving in the Safechucks home. Which is quite amazing because in reality he was in Australia, as we have seen above from the tour dates. Another fact to point out is that the movie “Batteries Not Included” was not released until December 18, 1987 [6].

There seems to be a zeal by the Safechucks to portray Jackson as the initiator of the relationship. We can only learn that it wasn’t so, if we pay attention to the first sentence of Jackson’s letter to James on March 10, 1987. Perhaps this is why the film does not show or even mention this letter, but instead claims that the relationship started with Jackson calling the Safechucks from Australia, out of the blue, in November 1987 and then Jackson immediately (while still in Australia) sending out a film crew to film James. The suggestion seems to be that Jackson did that to see if James is to his liking as a potential victim. Except, if he already had a friendship with the family before that and they already visited each other several times before, then of course this suggestion about the film crew does not make any sense. Not to mention the fact that Jackson and James had done the Pepsi commercial together before.

Of course, it is difficult to tell what elements are true and what elements are false in each version of their story. That’s just the difficulty we have with people who cannot keep their story straight, because they are telling different stories to different audiences and with different purposes.

10) Who wanted James Safechuck to sleep in Jackson’s room?

According to James Safechuck’s lawsuit it was Jackson who first asked if James could sleep in his room. There is no mention of James asking for it and insisting on it. This happened at the so called Pepsi convention in Hawaii in early 1988, according to the complaint.

Pepsi convention 1

However, in the film it is stated that it was James who asked to stay in Jackson’s bedroom.

James Safechuck: And I remember really wanting to stay in the room with him, and my mom wouldn’t allow it at the time.

Stephanie Safechuck: I didn’t think it was appropriate for my son to go sleep with him.
I knew he was a kind man, and he was doing everything to make our trip there as good as it could be, but, you know, that– it didn’t fit– you don’t, um, it didn’t feel right.
You don’t go sleep with, you know, somebody else that you don’t really know.
Jimmy was, “Please, Mom, please!” You know, ’cause he loved Michael.
But, no, I wouldn’t let him.
But made sure I had my meals with them and that Jimmy slept with me.
And that’s how it was the first trip.

And further in the film Safechuck talks about how they eventually ended up sleeping in the same room – again, James asking for it, not Jackson:

James Safechuck: I remember we would fall asleep together, and then when I wake up, he would be in another room. And I would be hurt that he was in another room, and so I’d ask him to stay. It seems like it was a natural thing that happened.

To be continued…


[1] Wade Robson’s Fourth Amended Complaint – see as an attachment to Notice of Plaintiff Wade Robson’s Motion to Amend the Third Amended Complaint; Memorandum of Points and Authortities (filed on September 9, 2016)

[2] Patrick Ryan – Leaving Neverland’: Michael Jackson accusers say ‘sex became safe zone’ in new interview (USA Today, February 21, 2019)

[3] James Safechuck’s Second Amended Complaint (filed on September 19, 2016)

[4] Supplemental Declaration of Claimant/Creditor James Safechuck in Support of Amended Petition for Order to Allow Filing of Late Claim Against Estate (filed on March 18, 2015)

[5]  Mark Geragos Twitter (March 16, 2019)

[6] IMDb – Batteries Not Included


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