UPDATED: 2019/03/05 3:00PM
After the controversial airing of HBO’s “Leaving Neverland,” a documentary that details two men’s experiences being abused as children by Michael Jackson, Oprah Winfrey conducted an interview with the two men. Winfrey sat down with the two men accusing Jackson of childhood sexual abuse, Wade Robson and James Safechuck, and director Dan Reed.
The hour-long interview aired on the OWN network and the studio audience was made up of sexual abuse survivors, supporters and family members. Jackson’s estate has vehemently denied the accusations and called both Robson and Safechuck liars.
Oprah told the audience that she expects backlash. She said, “I know people all over the world are going to be in an uproar and debating whether or not Michael Jackson did these things and whether these two men are lying or not lying. But for me, this moment transcends Michael Jackson.” It is much bigger than any one person. This is a moment in time that allows us to see this societal corruption. It’s like a scourge on humanity… If it gets you, our audience, to see how it happens, then some good would have come of it.”
Winfrey does not care about the backlash (of which she has received plenty even before the interview aired). A survivor of child sexual abuse herself, Oprah praised Reed for his approach to the project. She admitted that she “tried and tried and tried to get the message across to people that sexual abuse is not just abuse. It was also sexual seduction.” She praised Reed, saying that he was “able to illustrate in these four hours what [she] tried to explain in 217 [episodes of her show].”