The two-part film explores allegations of sexual abuse made by James Safechuck, 40, and Wade Robson, 36; who say they were abused between the ages of seven and 10. The documentary has sparked a huge debate across the media; with radio stations banning Jackson’s music, and Jackson’s estate denying all the allegations. But iTunes data shows that Jackson’s albums – including his Number Ones compilation – are still bestsellers online.
At time of writing, Number Ones is at No44 on the UK’s iTunes album chart – which, according to Kworb.net, represents a jump of 21 places over the last 24 hours. The Essential Michael Jackson is at No79, and HIStory: Past, Present and Future, Book 1 is at No80. Studio albums Bad and Thriller also chart further down the Top 200 with smaller sales. Whether or not Jackson will appear in the Official Charts (comprised of sales and streams across all platforms) when they’re announced later today remains to be seen.
It’s worth noting that Number Ones was charting last week; before the documentary aired – it was No56 in its 384th chart week. Michael Jackson’s official estate said in a statement of Leaving Neverland: “This is yet another lurid production in an outrageous and pathetic attempt to exploit and cash in on Michael Jackson.
“This so-called ‘documentary’ is just another rehash of dated and discredited allegations. It’s baffling why any credible filmmaker would involve himself with this project.”
Discussion has been raging online, with viewers and public figures alike providing their opinions. Derry Girls star Nicola Coughlan said, in a post that has had almost 4,000 Likes: “Just a reminder that sexual abuse survivors have nothing to gain and everything to lose from coming forward. Leaving Neverland is so harrowing to watch but we have to stop burying our head in the sand about a serial child abuser just because he was talented.”
Louis Theroux, in a post with 10,000 Retweets, said: “If you can’t see that Michael Jackson was a paedophile after watching @danreed1000 ‘s film you are being wilfully blind. And if you are campaigning against it you are actively colluding in the silencing of victims.”