A rep for HBO has denied the network is pulling its Leaving Neverland documentary, countering a report by radio station 93.9 WKYS.
Quentin Schaffer, HBO’s Executive Vice President of Corporate Communications, first refuted the story when asked by Okayplayer. HBO later confirmed the film hadn’t been pulled in a statement to HipHopDX.
“Leaving Neverland remains on the HBO linear channel through April 16th after which it will continue to be available on HBO NOW and HBO GO,” the network told DX. “The documentary is already the second most watched on HBO in the past ten years with 7.5 million viewers for Part 1.”
DX has also reached out to Oprah’s reps for comment.
[This post has been updated. The following was originally published on April 10, 2019 at 11:01 a.m. PST.]
It appears HBO has planned to stop airing the Leaving Neverland documentary this month. According to HBO’s website, the only listing for the Michael Jackson-related series is April 17. There are no further dates listed after that even though the original end time was scheduled for September.
The integrity of Jackson’s accusers — James Safechuck and Wade Robson — was called into question earlier this month after a key component in Safechuck’s account of sexual abuse was proved to be impossible.
Safechuck claimed Jackson sexually assaulted him from 1988 to 1992. While both under oath and in the documentary interviews, he explained one particular incident happened at the Neverland train station, but the train station didn’t begin construction until 1993.
The picture below was taken on August 25, 1993. The train station wasn’t there (top of image). Work on the floral clock had started.
The construction of the actual building was approved by Santa Barbara County on September 2, 1993 (see below).
End of discussion. pic.twitter.com/ycOTKw0Vj5
— Mike Smallcombe (@mikesmallcombe1) April 2, 2019
Oprah Winfrey also seems to be distancing herself from the documentary. All of her public tweets regarding Leaving Neverland have been removed and the interviews she conducted have disappeared from her YouTube channel.
The Jackson estate is also suing HBO over the airing of the documentary and Jackson’s nephews are reportedly raising money to create a counter-documentary.