On Sunday night, HBO premiered its broadcast of the first half of Leaving Neverland, the documentary in which two men claim that they were serially sexually abused by the late music superstar Michael Jackson.
Jackson’s relatives, as well as many fans of his, have struck back strongly against the documentary, arguing that the accusers are liars and that the man known as the King of Pop was wholly innocent. And now, Jackson’s estate has gone so far as to offer counter-programming to the documentary: A Jackson concert on the singer’s YouTube channel.
According to Pitchfork, the Twitter account controlled by Jackson’s estate pushed a YouTube broadcast of Live in Bucharest (The Dangerous Tour), a 1992 concert featuring the singer, which began its YouTube stream at 8 p.m. Eastern time on Sunday night, the same time as the HBO film. A second Jackson concert film, Live at Wembley Stadium, will air on the YouTube channel at the same time as the second part of the documentary.
Both concerts are the exact same length, to the minute, as the running times of the documentaries airing on the two nights. The concerts will give fans a chance to not think about the abuse allegations and enjoy Jackson’s music instead.
Don’t miss the magic from the King of Pop himself! Immerse yourself in Michael Jackson. Live in Bucharest and Live at Wembley Stadium available for a limited time on Michael Jackson’s @youtube! pic.twitter.com/kdc6yZjKMA— Michael Jackson (@michaeljackson) March 2, 2019
The Leaving Neverland film, directed by Dan Reed, tells the story of Wade Robson and Jimmy Safechuck, two men who met Jackson when they were young and claim that the famous singer abused them.
Jackson was publicly accused of child molestation on multiple occasions when he was alive, but he was never convicted of a crime. An accusation in the early 1990s ended in a large out-of-court settlement, while a second led to a trial in which Jackson was acquitted, in 2005. Neither abuse accusation ended the singer’s career, and Jackson was preparing for a series of concerts in London when he died in June of 2009.
Leaving Neverland had its world premiere at the Sundance Film Festival in January, where it received mostly positive reviews, and counselors were even stationed outside the theater for those upset by the graphic abuse described in the film. But the documentary has also set off a huge backlash, which has included a $100 million lawsuit against HBO by Jackson’s estate, per Pitchfork, while numerous fans of Jackson’s have declared that they don’t believe the accusations.
Oprah Winfrey is scheduled to interview the two accusers on HBO following the airing of the second part of the documentary on Monday night.