Oprah Winfrey sat down with the men at the center of Michael Jackson documentary, Leaving Neverland, for an emotional conversation about childhood sexual abuse.
Winfrey interviewed Wade Robson, James Safechuck, and the film’s director, Dan Reed, on Wednesday evening in New York to discuss the controversial film and what she called “a scourge on humanity.”
The media mogul, who years ago revealed she was abused as a child, said she contacted Reed after seeing his two-part documentary.
In a newly released clip from the interview, Winfrey praised the director for explaining in just a few hours, what she tried to convey about sexual abuse on 217 episodes, over 25 years of The Oprah Winfrey Show.
“I said, ‘Dan, you were able to illustrate in these four hours what I’ve tried to explain in 217,” Winfrey noted.
The documentary tells the stories of Safechuck, now 40, and Robson, now 36, who allege Jackson sexually molested them as children. The two said the abuse began when they were 7 and 10 years old. At the time, both boys were huge Jackson fans and wanted careers in the entertainment industry.
Winfrey said she believes this story is “bigger than any one person.”
“For me, this moment transcends Michael Jackson. It is much bigger than any one person,” Winfrey said. “This is a moment in time that allows us to see this societal corruption. It’s like a scourge on humanity and it’s happening right now. It’s happening in families. We know it’s happening in churches, and in schools, in sports teams, everywhere.”
The discussion was taped before an audience of survivors of sexual abuse, and will air on HBO and OWN following the conclusion of Leaving Neverland.
The documentary premieres on Sunday, March 3 (8:00–10:00 p.m. ET/PT), followed by the second part the following night, Monday, March 4 (8:00–10:00 p.m. ET/PT), on HBO.
Oprah’s Q&A discussion with Robson, Safechuck and Reed is titled Oprah Winfrey Presents: After Neverland. It will premiere at 10 p.m. on March 4, immediately following the second installment of the documentary.
Jackson’s estate has repeatedly criticized the film, describing it as “tabloid character assassination.”
Last week, the estate filed a $100 million lawsuit against HBO over the documentary.