Leaving Neverland, the shocking film that paints music legend Michael Jackson as a sexual predator, premiered on HBO March 3 and left viewers with many more questions than answers as to why the King of Pop allegedly groomed and abused young fans for years.
Two of the men featured as primary accusers against Jackson in the documentary, Wade Robson and James Safechuck, told their stories in graphic detail about how they were taken under the singer’s wing as friends first, and then made to feel so invaluable and loved by Jackson that they were led into performing sexual acts beginning at the ages of 7- and 10-years-old, respectively.
Robson has been a fixture in Hollywood for many years since moving on from his association with Jackson, which ended when he was 14. Here are five things you may have not known about Wade Robson.
5. Robson Choreographed Some Of Britney Spears Most Infamous Routines
HuffPost reported Robson choreographed some of Spears’ most infamous routines, including some for her first major tour, her Pepsi commercial, the video for the song “Oops I Did It Again,” Spears’ appearance on the 2001 Superbowl, and her iconic MTV VMA performance “I’m A Slave For U.”
4. He Also Wrote Some Of NSYNC’s Most Iconic Songs
Alongside Justin Timberlake, Robson co-wrote the iconic tunes “Pop,” “Celebrity,” “Gone,” and “See Right Through You” for NSYNC’s 2001 album, Celebrity. He also choreographed the band’s “Pop” music video, stepping in for singer Joey Fatone who had suffered an injury and could not perform the intricate dance steps included in the video.
3. Robson Won Two Emmy Awards For His Work On So You Think You Can Dance.
The Atlantic reported that Robson did some of his best work during Seasons 2 and 3 of the dance competition series So You Think You Can Dance. Some of his most iconic routines included “Cabaret Hoover,” the “Hummingbird Routine” (which won him an Emmy), and “Fame.” Robson scored his Emmy wins in 2007 and 2008 for his work on the show.
2. His Late Father Dennis Robson Was Also Abused As A Child
Robson’s father Dennis told Vanity Fair that he too was sexually abused as a child and was despondent over his son, daughter, and wife leaving their family to move closer to Jackson so Wade could further his career as a dancer. Dennis was diagnosed with bipolar disorder prior to his family’s move to the United States. He tragically took his own life in 2002, reported VF.
1. Robson Testified That Jackson Didn’t Abuse Him During The Singer’s Two Sexual Abuse Court Cases
Wade Robson defended Jackson in his 1993 civil case and served as a defense witness during his 2005 criminal trial, reported Vulture. In 2013, Robson backpedaled on and filed a lawsuit against the Jackson estate, alleging abuse. Refinery 29 published a quote from Robson where he stated why he didn’t come forward initially.
“I wish I was at a place where I could tell the truth and be a comrade with him, stopping Michael, and stopping a lot of other kids from being abused. I just wasn’t ready. I wasn’t able when I was 11, and when I was 22.”
In the documentary, Robson stated of his affiliation with Jackson, “He helped me tremendously. He helped me with my career. He helped me with my creativity, with all of these sorts of things. And he also sexually abused me. For seven years.”
Back in 1994, Jackson paid out a settlement of $25 million to the family of another accuser in 1994, reported Slate. It should be noted that in 2003, Jackson did say that he shared a bed with children in the documentary Living With Michael Jackson.
“I have slept in a bed with many children,” Jackson stated in the documentary interview with Martin Bashir, per Slate. “It’s not sexual, we’re going to sleep. I tuck them in. … It’s very charming, it’s very sweet.”
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Reposted from @metoomvmt – Leaving Neverland premieres tomorrow night, 8pm on HBO. The two-part documentary explores the separate but parallel experiences of James Safechuck and Wade Robson, who were befriended by Michael Jackson when they were just 10 and 7 years old, respectively. We are glad to be among the network of organizations (@1in6org, @rainn, @childhood.usa, @d2lorg, MOSAC, @safehorizon, @itsonus, @worldchildhoodfoundation) who contributed to the viewing support guide, produced by @HBO. Before watching, please consider reading the guide (the link is in our bio) and creating a personal care plan. Regardless of where you stand, this is an important topic that deserves our attention. We need to talk about men as survivors of sexual abuse. We need to talk about child sexual abuse, grooming, and trauma. We need to show up for each other. #disruptsexualviolence #endsexualabuse #believesurvivors #leavingneverland – #regrann
Part two of Leaving Neverland airs March 4 on HBO.
If you or someone you know has been sexually assaulted, call the National Sexual Assault Telephone Hotline at 800-656-HOPE (4673) or visit rainn.org.