Leaving Neverland - Three Years Later

staywild23

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That British singer just got blasted for his interview with NME, and that was never really an MJ audience/publication to begin with.
Are you talking about the lead singer from The 1975? I saw a video circulating on Twitter of him supporting the allegations. Ironically, a day or two later, a video of him talking disrespectfully about their name (which he seemed to perceive as too "ethnic" or something) went viral, much bigger than his MJ remarks did. So... that was some interesting karma lol.
 

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BTW, something you all may interested/disgusted in. Since LN, Dan Reed was hired to direct an episode of PBS' Frontline, an episode called "In the Shadow of 9/11," about a group targeted as an Al-Qaeda sleeper cell without evidence.

I sent a message to PBS, saying I didn't disapprove of the episode itself or its subject, but that Reed was not a suitable director for it, and made clear why, and that some other director should come along, re-edit the episode, and make a new version. I got a message back saying "We have received your feedback and will pass it along to the Frontline team." But nothing has come of it, and the episode even still boldly proclaims, "From the director of LN." And the webpage for the episode still includes and interview with Reed, proclaiming essentially that "I follow where the evidence leads me, I research extensively."

 
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staywild23

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BTW, something you all may interested/disgusted in. Since LN, Dan Reed was hired to direct an episode of PBS' Frontline, an episode called "In the Shadow of 9/11," about a group targeted as an Al-Qaeda sleeper cell without evidence.

I sent a message to PBS, saying I didn't disapprove of the episode itself or its subject, but that Reed was not a suitable director for it, and made clear why, and that some other director should come along, re-edit the episode, and make a new version. I got a message back saying "We have received your feedback and will pass it along to the Frontline team." But nothing has come of it, and the episode even still boldly proclaims, "From the director of LN." And the webpage for the episode still includes and interview with Reed, proclaiming essentially that "I follow where the evidence leads me, I research extensively."

Oh wow. Thank you for sharing this. That actually really saddens me. I love PBS. The whole "from the director of LN" is clearly supposed to be some credibility grab but, like....how? How??? Wasn't the doc edited several times because of disinformation? This is a bummer.

I may write something to them too. Good on you for taking action, even if it doesn't change things. I think it's great you took the initiative to try. You make me want to.
 

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Oh wow. Thank you for sharing this. That actually really saddens me. I love PBS. The whole "from the director of LN" is clearly supposed to be some credibility grab but, like....how? How??? Wasn't the doc edited several times because of disinformation? This is a bummer.

I may write something to them too. Good on you for taking action, even if it doesn't change things. I think it's great you took the initiative to try. You make me want to.
Indeed. As I pointed out in my message to them, Frontline is the gold standard of investigative journalism, as their episodes are incredibly insightful. Hiring Reed threatens the program's credibility. But they have done nothing about this.

At the very least, I'm sure a lot of us would wish that Frontline, or a documentary filmmaker like Errol Morris or Alex Gibney would do their own episode/film about Michael, to actually cross-examine all the allegations against him from decades past, and give his side the chance to be heard. Much as we all look forward to Jermaine's film, PBS/Morris/Gibney have more mainstream visibility.
 

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People believed it anyway and if they did they loved LN.

A lot of people dont care. It’s been this way since 1993. The musical is a sell out and MJs monthly listeners on Spotify are the highest they’ve ever been.

Yeah it was bad. Yeah they did their best to make it the final nail in the coffin. But “I’m steady laughing while surfacing.. cos I’m unbreakable”
 

staywild23

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This is hardly firm, or even true data, considering it's just a random Twitter poll and surely a lot of MJ fans flooded it. But I wasn't a fan yet in 2019, so I can only imagine that the results of a similar poll would have looked very different back then. So I thought I'd share this since it seems to suggest a true shift. Curious what others might think.
 

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Honestly, sometimes it feels like certain people just want Michael to be a child molester. In my opinion that says much more about them than about Michael. I mean, in the case of people like Gutierrez it's of course clear as day, but it does make me wonder how many more types like that are wandering about. Frightening, if you ask me. Much scarier than anyone ever claimed Michael Jackson to be.

Even when I was still a fence-sitter, I wanted Michael to be innocent. Because the idea of anyone being a child molester is absolutely horrifying. Of course, we shouldn't sweep such things under the rug either if they ever actually do happen, but that doesn't apply here, because Michael is innocent.

It's one thing to want justice, it's another to want to see someone's reputation damaged just for the heck of it, and possibly for your own sick fantasies to be reality. The latter two just make you a vile human being, not someone who wants justice served. Because ruining the reputations of innocent people is not justice.
 

staywild23

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What's interesting to me is that only 914 people even bothered to vote.
Yeah I just looked and the guy who created the poll has about 16,000 followers. So not a particularly small account but not a truly massive one either. I am curious how much engagement his posts typically get. I just took a very brief glance through his page and while a few posts are in the 400-500 likes range, the vast majority are under 50 likes. Many under 20. So in that sense, this engagement is pretty significant for this specific Twitter user.
 

dam2040

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Yeah I just looked and the guy who created the poll has about 16,000 followers. So not a particularly small account but not a truly massive one either. I am curious how much engagement his posts typically get. I just took a very brief glance through his page and while a few posts are in the 400-500 likes range, the vast majority are under 50 likes. Many under 20. So in that sense, this engagement is pretty significant for this specific Twitter user.
Probably why they did the poll.
 

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Even when I was still a fence-sitter, I wanted Michael to be innocent. Because the idea of anyone being a child molester is absolutely horrifying. Of course, we shouldn't sweep such things under the rug either if they ever actually do happen, but that doesn't apply here, because Michael is innocent.

For me, there's no good option. I can't get to "yay, he didn't do it," because it just means a horrible injustice was done to an innocent man who dedicated his life to helping children. He definitely didn't do it, the Barnes interview ended any last shred of doubt remaining (there wasn't much). The more I hear about it at this point, the more angry I get. There's no relief for me personally.
 

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For me, there's no good option. I can't get to "yay, he didn't do it," because it just means a horrible injustice was done to an innocent man who dedicated his life to helping children. He definitely didn't do it, the Barnes interview ended any last shred of doubt remaining (there wasn't much). The more I hear about it at this point, the more angry I get. There's no relief for me personally.

I really understand this. When I first became a fan I was pretty consumed with concern about if he was guilty. I felt strongly he wasn't but I would still feel this twinge of worry and it would eat away at me sometimes. That feeling was horrible. But once I determined he was innocent, it was a different kind of agony, exactly as you described. I have cried so much for this man. I often focus on the fun/positive elements of his life, being a fan, the fan community, etc simply to cope. I can barely think about or discuss the 2000s where MJ is concerned. Even the 90s are hard for me sometimes. It causes me such pain in my heart to think about what he went through. I am determined to learn as much as I can about him, but I take my time with any content from the last decade of his life. It's very hard.

What I've learned in this last 10 months or so of being an MJ fan is that it is an intense experience. The highs and lows are very real.
 

BlastFromThePast

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I really understand this. When I first became a fan I was pretty consumed with concern about if he was guilty. I felt strongly he wasn't but I would still feel this twinge of worry and it would eat away at me sometimes. That feeling was horrible. But once I determined he was innocent, it was a different kind of agony, exactly as you described. I have cried so much for this man. I often focus on the fun/positive elements of his life, being a fan, the fan community, etc simply to cope. I can barely think about or discuss the 2000s where MJ is concerned. Even the 90s are hard for me sometimes. It causes me such pain in my heart to think about what he went through. I am determined to learn as much as I can about him, but I take my time with any content from the last decade of his life. It's very hard.

What I've learned in this last 10 months or so of being an MJ fan is that it is an intense experience. The highs and lows are very real.
I'm really REALLY pissed at the police departments at the moment. They interviewed SIXTY kids in 1993-94 and subjected them to Jim-Crow style interrogations, where they'd do shit such as:

1. Isolate kids from their parents, sometimes never telling parents they'd interview the kids;
2. Flat out say to the kids MJ was a pedophile who was molesting Culkin, and that Feldman had drug issues because MJ molested him (Both denied that, of course, and Feldman said he told police he HAD been molested by someone else he named and they NEVER went after);
3. And, worst of all, would tell some kids they had naked pictures of MJ and the kid in order to elicit a "confession."

Despite that, not one of the 60 kids said anything happened until Francia said he'd been tickled after numerous interrogations. On the stand during the 2005 trial, he admitted he said what he said just because he wanted the interrogation to stop.

There are so many different levels of hell for all these people involved. There is zero doubt in my mind, knowing the makeup of the LAPD at the time, that racism played a significant role in this for at least some of the officers. Evan Chander and some of the police/DAs are reserved for some of the worst of it.
 

staywild23

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I'm really REALLY pissed at the police departments at the moment. They interviewed SIXTY kids in 1993-94 and subjected them to Jim-Crow style interrogations, where they'd do shit such as:

1. Isolate kids from their parents, sometimes never telling parents they'd interview the kids;
2. Flat out say to the kids MJ was a pedophile who was molesting Culkin, and that Feldman had drug issues because MJ molested him (Both denied that, of course, and Feldman said he told police he HAD been molested by someone else he named and they NEVER went after);
3. And, worst of all, would tell some kids they had naked pictures of MJ and the kid in order to elicit a "confession."

Despite that, not one of the 60 kids said anything happened until Francia said he'd been tickled after numerous interrogations. On the stand during the 2005 trial, he admitted he said what he said just because he wanted the interrogation to stop.

There are so many different levels of hell for all these people involved. There is zero doubt in my mind, knowing the makeup of the LAPD at the time, that racism played a significant role in this for at least some of the officers. Evan Chander and some of the police/DAs are reserved for some of the worst of it.
Are you by any chance listening to that new podcast Michael Jackson A Case For Innocence? I listened to that episode earlier today and it mentioned a lot of these details you listed above that I had only heard small bits of before.

It is all so unbelievably upsetting :(
 

DangerousGal91

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For me, there's no good option. I can't get to "yay, he didn't do it," because it just means a horrible injustice was done to an innocent man who dedicated his life to helping children. He definitely didn't do it, the Barnes interview ended any last shred of doubt remaining (there wasn't much). The more I hear about it at this point, the more angry I get. There's no relief for me personally.
I totally get that, and I feel similarly. The only "yay" I'd say I experienced after fully realizing his innocence was that I could finally call myself a fan without guilt. But the associated anxieties, disgust at committed injustices, and sadness I've felt on behalf of Michael are a pretty large caveat.

People I know in real life don't even know I'm a fan since I'm terrified of how they'd react, even though I literally grew up with his music (though me calling myself a fan is a fairly recent thing). I don't feel guilty at all, like I said, but I am very scared. I have had conversations with people where I hinted at it, but I always follow up with "sorry, I can't say it". I unfortunately know too many people who might possibly judge me for being a fan and possibly try to "correct" my opinion. Granted I have an anxiety disorder, but stuff like this doesn't help.
 

staywild23

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People I know in real life don't even know I'm a fan since I'm terrified of how they'd react, even though I literally grew up with his music (though me calling myself a fan is a fairly recent thing). I don't feel guilty at all, like I said, but I am very scared. I have had conversations with people where I hinted at it, but I always follow up with "sorry, I can't say it". I unfortunately know too many people who might possibly judge me for being a fan and possibly try to "correct" my opinion. Granted I have an anxiety disorder, but stuff like this doesn't help.
I definitely understand! I did my doctoral research on sexual abuse/violence and am a survivor myself, so I have quite literally built my career on this subject matter from a victim/survivor standpoint and the importance of believing survivor stories. This is part of the agony I experienced in questioning "victims" stories. Obviously, I have come full circle on this and recognize the very unique circumstances here with MJ but it totally messed with my mind.

That said, I wear my MJ fandom pretty proudly. I've only been a fan since January, but by April I was taking a drawing class and showing my teacher portraits I was drawing of MJ and openly discussing my fandom with a group of strangers (all of whom just smiled). I went to the musical in April, I started sharing my obsession with him with my friends and family, some of whom asked questions about the allegations, but for the most part I think because of my research they tend to take my perspective pretty seriously and not question me as much. I also started talking to my students about Michael (and have only heard them say positive things) and told some colleagues who all, again, either didn't say anything or said something supportive. In the summer I started buying MJ t-shirts and I wear them everywhere now. I have MJ stickers on my laptop and my phone case (LOL I'm like a teenager, God) and this semester when I started with my new classes, I told my students straight up I'm a huge fan and have had some fun bonding moments with the students who love him too. My point is, I was and am still somewhat nervous about having conflict with other people, but I'm also bursting at the seams with love for Michael and can barely contain myself. I used to be self-conscious sharing stuff on social media, but since Michael's birthday I've done that a few times on Facebook and Twitter and it feels really good!
 

DangerousGal91

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I definitely understand! I did my doctoral research on sexual abuse/violence and am a survivor myself, so I have quite literally built my career on this subject matter from a victim/survivor standpoint and the importance of believing survivor stories. This is part of the agony I experienced in questioning "victims" stories. Obviously, I have come full circle on this and recognize the very unique circumstances here with MJ but it totally messed with my mind.

That said, I wear my MJ fandom pretty proudly. I've only been a fan since January, but by April I was taking a drawing class and showing my teacher portraits I was drawing of MJ and openly discussing my fandom with a group of strangers (all of whom just smiled). I went to the musical in April, I started sharing my obsession with him with my friends and family, some of whom asked questions about the allegations, but for the most part I think because of my research they tend to take my perspective pretty seriously and not question me as much. I also started talking to my students about Michael (and have only heard them say positive things) and told some colleagues who all, again, either didn't say anything or said something supportive. In the summer I started buying MJ t-shirts and I wear them everywhere now. I have MJ stickers on my laptop and my phone case (LOL I'm like a teenager, God) and this semester when I started with my new classes, I told my students straight up I'm a huge fan and have had some fun bonding moments with the students who love him too. My point is, I was and am still somewhat nervous about having conflict with other people, but I'm also bursting at the seams with love for Michael and can barely contain myself. I used to be self-conscious sharing stuff on social media, but since Michael's birthday I've done that a few times on Facebook and Twitter and it feels really good!
Honestly, I commend you for being so open about it; I wish I had that ability. Truth be told I'm like this with many things; I won't go into detail about it here since it's way off-topic, but I "hide" a lot about myself as a result of my disorder. The fact that I happened to have fallen hard into the MJ rabbit hole doesn't help, but it's also not the first time it has happened and most likely won't be the last, so sad to say, I'm used to it by now. But that doesn't make it any less painful.
 

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MJ has now surpassed his pre-Leaving Neverland position on Spotify, both in terms of overall followers and position on the Top 100. Thriller is being celebrated now more than any time since it was actually current in the 80s. More people are now aware of the weakness in the accusations against MJ than ever before, and that number is only going to grow. LN is on its last legs, I think the world is ready for a positive documentary/movie to hit mainstream.

Or maybe Jordie is finally ready to talk...wishcasting, I know lol.
 

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I'm not sure if everyone who looks at this thread follows the MJ Chart Watch thread (one of my faves) but MJ just hit a pretty exciting milestone and I wanted to share :)


According to one of the comments (and some conversation we've had in the past in the Chart Watch thread) I'm pretty sure this is the highest MJ has ever been and the most listeners he has had on Spotify, including PRE-LN. I think this demonstrates pretty positively how much the trajectory is shifting.
 

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I'm not sure if everyone who looks at this thread follows the MJ Chart Watch thread (one of my faves) but MJ just hit a pretty exciting milestone and I wanted to share :)


According to one of the comments (and some conversation we've had in the past in the Chart Watch thread) I'm pretty sure this is the highest MJ has ever been and the most listeners he has had on Spotify, including PRE-LN. I think this demonstrates pretty positively how much the trajectory is shifting.
This is brilliant. He is so missed.. Like janet once said in 1997 "you don't know what you've got 'til it's gone."
 

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Honestly, sometimes it feels like certain people just want Michael to be a child molester. In my opinion that says much more about them than about Michael. I mean, in the case of people like Gutierrez it's of course clear as day, but it does make me wonder how many more types like that are wandering about. Frightening, if you ask me. Much scarier than anyone ever claimed Michael Jackson to be.

Even when I was still a fence-sitter, I wanted Michael to be innocent. Because the idea of anyone being a child molester is absolutely horrifying. Of course, we shouldn't sweep such things under the rug either if they ever actually do happen, but that doesn't apply here, because Michael is innocent.

It's one thing to want justice, it's another to want to see someone's reputation damaged just for the heck of it, and possibly for your own sick fantasies to be reality. The latter two just make you a vile human being, not someone who wants justice served. Because ruining the reputations of innocent people is not justice.

Just like with Britney, Lindsay Lohan, Amanda Bynes, and now Johnny Depp. The only thing that the media loves more than building up a star is breaking them and documenting the downfall.
 

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Just like with Britney, Lindsay Lohan, Amanda Bynes, and now Johnny Depp. The only thing that the media loves more than building up a star is breaking them and documenting the downfall.
You're absolutely correct, of course. For some reason, when someone is famous, not just the media but also a significant portion of the public just loves to conveniently forget about their humanity. As if nothing they ever say, do, or feel is ever "genuine". There's a reason so many famous people have mental health issues and/or substance abuse problems; being in the spotlight constantly is very taxing. I see so many people often say things like "well they're famous, they asked for it!" but that's 1) victim blaming, and 2) being famous in the entertainment industry isn't actually a guarantee. For instance, so many people go to Hollywood to "try and make it", only to end up in complete poverty (which also often brings substance abuse, albeit for the opposite reason). It's something most people don't realize until you actually experience it. You can "prepare" yourself as much as you want, you'll never know until it "hits". Even more so for child stars (such as Michael himself, as well as many of the people you mentioned, not-so-coincidentally enough), do you really think a child understands that sorta thing? That's just absurd. Not to mention that "stage parents" are a thing; just look at Joseph Jackson.

Of course, there are indeed famous people who abuse their wealth and status to facilitate inappropriate behavior, but that's a different story altogether. And something Michael never did, in fact he always distanced himself from that sorta thing. But the media didn't understand this, or simply didn't want to.
 
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fraroc04

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You're absolutely correct, of course. For some reason, when someone is famous, not just the media but also a significant portion of the public just loves to conveniently forget about their humanity. As if nothing they ever say, do, or feel is ever "genuine". There's a reason so many famous people have mental health issues and/or substance abuse problems; being in the spotlight constantly is very taxing. I see so many people often say things like "well they're famous, they asked for it!" but that's 1) victim blaming, and 2) being famous in the entertainment industry isn't actually a guarantee. For instance, so many people go to Hollywood to "try and make it", only to end up in complete poverty (which also often brings substance abuse, albeit for the opposite reason). It's something most people don't realize until you actually experience it. You can "prepare" yourself as much as you want, you'll never know until it "hits". Even more so for child stars (such as Michael himself, as well as many of the people you mentioned, not-so-coincidentally enough), do you really think a child understands that sorta thing? That's just absurd. Not to mention that "stage parents" are a thing; just look at Joseph Jackson.

Of course, there are indeed famous people who abuse their wealth and status to facilitate inappropriate behavior, but that's a different story altogether. And something Michael never did, in fact he always distanced himself from that sorta thing. But the media didn't understand this, or simply didn't want to.
And it's also important to point out that although #justiceforjohnnydepp was a major viral movement, it was still primarily a grassroots effort. Until Johnny Depp won his case, the media was predominately pro-Amber Heard.
 

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For some reason, when someone is famous, not just the media but also a significant portion of the public just loves to conveniently forget about their humanity. As if nothing they ever say, do, or feel is ever "genuine".
I really hate to keep bringing Ellen back up, but this idea of binary belief, that "If someone is not their public personal 24/7, that automatically makes them fake," it's just beyond absurd. Being businesslike and focused on the job doesn't automatically make you a mean person, or invalidate that persona. And again, we still have no real proof tying her regarding the toxic workplace, other than people going out on a limb and casting aspersions, and basing it on "Ellen isn't the same 24/7," which doesn't say anything. It's just hopelessly shallow. Already, some people my brother talks to are saying Drew Barrymore is fake, that "There's no way she's like this all the time." UNBELIEVABLE, RIGHT?!

Being a perfectionist and saying "Let's really work hard to make this the best it can be" is not the same as being mean, nor does it invalidate the image and reputation of Ellen as a beacon of positivity. You can easily run a tight ship and still be a kind and wholesome person, and that image still be true. It's a massive stretch to act as if she's absolutely unpleasant behind the scenes as Krusty the Clown. It's not the same, and treating people in these binary terms is just the height of absurdity.

What would it take for people to stop doing so, and realize, for lack of a better phrase, that "people are people," and we're complex as hell, and that these complexities don't automatically invalidate the image presented, and in some cases enhances it? That this is nowhere close to automatically being as much of a mask, a mirage, as with Jimmy Savile or Bill Cosby?

And as for "likability is a jail," what's the option, then? Are people not supposed to be likable anymore? I can understand the thought of "Just be their real selves all the time, don't put us on," but how many of those saying that actually mean that? It's easy to say when it's theoretical, but in practice, they'll say "I want to like nice people." The fact that people try to focus on Chris Pratt's connection to Hillsong, without proof of how much that way of thinking is part of his own day-to-day life, is thoroughly disgusting, and just further lynch mob justice. And from many of the same people that cried out in defense of James Gunn, no less! Are we really back to saying Paul McCartney is fake and calculating because "He's just too nice all the time?" Are we really doing that again?
 

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And it's also important to point out that although #justiceforjohnnydepp was a major viral movement, it was still primarily a grassroots effort. Until Johnny Depp won his case, the media was predominately pro-Amber Heard.
Yeah there's also this whole thing in general where a section of people have a tendency to side with the woman in domestic abuse cases, which isn't entirely unwarranted given the fact that men on average are physically stronger, but even with that in mind, that doesn't mean women can't be abusive as well. I actually think it's ironically rather sexist to assume that women aren't capable of being physically abusive, the strength issue aside. There can always be other mitigating factors which can render any existing strength differences irrelevant. But, you get the idea. The fact that Johnny Depp got canceled before anything got proven once again shows how absolutely toxic cancel culture is. People seem to often forget about the whole "innocent until proven guilty" thing, which is just so saddening.

"Believe all victims"? Sure. But not every accuser is a victim, and sometimes, they can even be the perpetrator.
 

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I found this artice from Joe Vogel from 2019. I did not read it before.

@andjustice4some

Joe Vogel @joevogel1 wrote the ONLY piece that defended Michael in 2019 after LN came out. Forbes was only outlet that would publish it. After it came out, HBO forced a disclaimer that Joe had not seen the film yet, and made him retract the words below, under threat of lawsuit.

 
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