Leaving Neverland: More cashing in on #MeToo. Now at the expense of the King of Pop
(this is from a post I'd originally left on Reddit, after learning about the new Leaving Neverland documentary)
This is going to be a lengthy rant. I apologize.
I remember doing a ton of research on Michael Jackson years back, not long after he died, and I feel like I learned a lot of things about the opportunistic nature of people, the allure of scandal to the public, and the propensity for most of us to assume the worst when given the option. I'd previously not been much of a fan of Jackson (I'm still not, to be honest) and I'd always assumed he was guilty of the stuff everyone had been talking about on TV and in the news. But, after his death, and all the hoopla about him, it sparked my interest (this eventually led to me writing a lengthy article on him). After reading up on all of his cases, I was shocked at how misled I was by the media and the subconscious persuasiveness of rumors and public opinion. And now, with this new documentary, it looks like it's all about to start up again.
I feel like I was taught a big lesson during the time I was learning about Jackson and how susceptible we all are to being misled. It became apparent to me (and is more relevant now than ever) how much easier it is for people to assume guilt than it is for them to withhold an opinion in the face of not enough evidence. And since people have lives to live, they don't bother wasting time doing any research on their own, hence why only the headlines make it into our conscience for most things. And what are the headlines? Only the juiciest and most scandalous seeming bits; because that's what gets the ratings, clicks, and sells the papers. We rarely think logically about any of this stuff on our own, we rarely look into matters more deeply, yet we nevertheless won't hesitate to jump to conclusions based on gut feelings and the limited information we've received. Following that, we become part of the problem as we then begin helping propel the rumors we've come to believe so hastily.
The best example of this, that I can think of, is with Michael's second accusers, the Arvizo family, who had a long history of trying to make easy money by conning people, made a list of outlandish claims, and where the parents had been caught in the past coaching their kids to lie. Yet all the general public seemed to pick up on and remember is that "it's proven that Michael was accused by all these different, innocent kids, how could so many be lying?" No. He was accused by two kids that we know of. One happily settled out of court (just check out Wikipedia to get a taste of that sordid tale), while the other was found to be lying by the court. And, as far as we know, that was it. It wasn't "a lot" (yet look at how telling it is that people believe it was) and the ones that there were are about as suspect as it gets. But very few seem to know that part of the story.
And now these new fellas have come out of nowhere after previously stating that Jackson did nothing to them. Could it be true? Sure. But it could also be yet another couple of people seeing an opportunity to cash in (and what better time to do so, with #MeToo and #BlackLivesMatter related witch hunts being the hot new trend). It doesn't matter if these guys are lying, because the allegation is all it takes to make you guilty in the people's eye. And since you can't prove a negative, that kind of guilt has no choice but to remain. The only options are for Jackson to be definitively proven guilty or for it to remain a mystery that people will assume is guilt anyway. That's how it always goes.
It's depressing to me that not only does this stuff still happen more than ever these days, but it's got people actually cheering it on like a crowd at a lynching (all thinking they're the ones with the moral high ground). I mean, I think that people generally have very good intentions with all of this stuff (it's what the road to Salem was paved with, as they say), but sadly lack critical thinking skills and, like all of us, are burdened with natural human errors in reasoning and suspicion. And they end up ruining more lives than they're saving with these kinds of witch hunts and "just in case" punishments and presumptions.
Perhaps the documentary will have a bombshell revelation in it, I don't know. But, if the past is any indicator, I somehow doubt it. Regardless, however, I only see this film going bad (no pun intended) for the memory of Jackson, as it's clearly designed with an agenda that he's guilty. And people are already inclined to have their torches and pitchforks ready anyway.