Billboard interviews with Wade Robson, James Safechuck, and Dan Reed + Bad Tour publicist


Billboard's March 23rd issue of Billboard Magazine includes an interview with Wade Robson, James Safechuck, and Dan Reed.
The Testimonies:

  • Wade says that he had already been in therapy where he was packaging the story and trying to understand it in the context of everything. Dan told him that it's amazing, but he needed to drop it all and tell the story moment by moment as it happened to him when he was a child. Wade spent three days and 8 hours a day doing interviews with Dan with his direction to remove commentary and stay present. Wade felt as if he relieved 30 years of his life in 3 days.

  • James says: "You [To Robson.] had said before that you had a kind of cathartic release. For me, it was more... nerves. Like, I think the triggers came back to me. But even then, you have to let that happen. Don’t try to cover it. But those triggers don’t feel good. So it was painful."

Midproduction Mishaps:

  • The interviews were shot at an airbnb because Wade and James weren't comfortable doing the interviews at their own homes. It was just Dan Reed and his assistant producer Marguerite Gaudin with their own gear.

  • For James' interview there were a lot of problems with extra noise like leaf blowers, airplanes, hedge trimmers, and neighbors. At the midcentury house in the Valley that was their airbnb, the owners were living in the pool house, which Dan Reed didn't realize. At one point the dad came out and started repairing the shed and when Dan told him they were doing an interview the dad said they weren't told. Dan had to sort it out by paying them extra money.

  • At one point during Wade's interview, Dan's camera broke and Wade had to describe some of the sexual abuse he experienced again on the 2nd day.

The Mothers:

  • James had the sense that people were going to look to for someone to blame and since MJ was dead and his dad passed away not long before doing the interview, it was going to fall on his mom. He told her she didn't have to do it and that she's going to get a lot of hate, so it was her choice. He also didn't want her to put up a front of strength that wasn't there. Dan talked to James' mom and she liked him and opened up to him.

  • Wade was nervous about his mom's involvement because he also had a feeling it wasn't going to look good for her, had his own cofusing feelings towards her, wasn't sure where she was at in her processing and understanding and healing, and wasn't confident she was in a place where she could be raw and vulnerable and would instead be protective. But Wade understands he couldn't control that, wherever she was wherever she was, and that it's part of the story.

  • Dan says that it took a long time talking to Joy Robson, the most important thing was to not push so she wouldn't recoil, and that he thinks it was the #MeToo movement that finally convinced Joy to hit the green button.

Sound and Vision:

  • There were a lot of drone shots including ones over Neverland and the estate manager didn't like it and called the sheriffs.

  • James and Wade say that the music playing during these aerial shots was like their actual experiences at Neverland because there was always music playing from speakers for example in the flower beds and rocks.

Parallel Paths:

  • Wade and James never felt any jealously towards each other because both were being replaced by different boys and felt jealous towards those boys.

  • When James saw the documentary, he was already in therapy, so hearing all the similarities in Wade's story including the sexual abuse, didn't make him feel jealousy and instead made him feel that he wasn't alone.

  • Wade and James first met as kids on the set of MJ's "Jam" music video, which Wade danced in.

  • Wade says they realized they were in similar positions at that point as there was a new boy there and they were on the outskirts of Michael's attention.

  • James says that Wade was instantly nice to him and he really needed that because it was a terrible weekend for him and he needed that moment of happiness where they could just be kids.

Film Making Dreams:

  • Michael pitched to both Wade and James individually that they would grow up to change the world and be big film markers.

  • Wade says that Michael's prophecy for him was that he would be bigger than Spielberg. He experienced a lot of success as a dancer, choreographer, and stage director really young, but none of them mattered to him until he fulfilled his prophecy that he was a director bigger than Spielberg given to him by his God, Michael.

  • James was in a band in his early 20s and he thought they would be successful and then he would make their music videos and bridge into film and become a director. He now wonders if being a director was even his own dream or something Michael pushed onto him, especially now that he knows Michael pitched it to other people.

New Loves:

  • Wade got the job to direct his first feature film 6 days after his son was born. He thought he was finally fulfilling Michael's prophecy, but when his son was born he could no longer keep up a facade and had a breakdown. A couple of months into the pre-production he had to remove himself from the film and he thought his life was over because he failed his prophecy.

  • James says that was the goal of everything right to Wade. Wade says it was and that it was everything- the reason his family left Australia, the reason his dad killed himself, and that since he failed there wasn't a point to anything for him anymore.

  • Dance, music, and film all ended for Wade. He thought dance was over for him forever because Michael was the reason he started dancing, so he only associated it with abuse. He moved to Hawaii to start his life over and didn't know what he was going to do.

  • Wade woke up one morning just a year and a half ago and dance was in his heart again. He realized dance was his before Michael tainted it. He now travels all around the world teaching dance and everytime he dances it's like he pushes another piece of Michael out of his body.

  • James is now the director of innovation and technology at a digital advertising company and fell in love with the mixture of art and tech. It's his own passion and not tied to anything or anyone else.

  • James: "But the strange thing is, the same dedication and persistence that Michael ingrains in you -- you still use that. But how do you go, “OK, I’ll keep that, because that is a good thing,” and not feel shame or guilt for keeping that? That’s really difficult. Because it’s wrapped up in all this abuse."

  • Wade: "That has been the process -- this decoupling, this unmeshing of all the bad from some of the good. Because at first, what happened with me is you throw the baby out with the bath water. It’s all disgusting. It’s all horrible. Everything was a lie. And a lot of it was. But if we can take new perspectives on certain experiences, we can find new ways to use them, in a positive way."

Out of the Ashes:

  • Wade says the images of him burning things he still had that were associated with Michael in the end credits was earlier in his healing process- around two or three months in. When he was burning those things he remembers speaking to Michael and saying that he is going to turn all the terrible things Michael did to him into something good even though he didn't know what it means yet.

Very powerful and chilling exchange between Wade and James to end the article:

Safechuck: You know what else is strange?
Robson: [Jokingly.] No, James. Tell me.
Safechuck: He put this dream in us to make a film that would change the world, right?
Robson: Wow, yeah. Here you go, Michael.


A publicist for the Bad Tour talked to Billboard. Leaving Neverland did not change what they thought about Michael because they always suspected he was a pedophile and they were right. They were on the Bad Tour with James Safechuck and his family. They thought it was strange that Michael and James were always together and holding hands and the press started asking questions. The official answer they gave the press was that James was on tour because he was the kid from the Pepsi commercial and Pepsi was the official tour sponsor. Someone behind the scenes talked to Michael about the optics, but he wouldn't listen and still took James everywhere, holding his hand. They said they couldn't believe that the parents allowed it when the parents were moved to the band/staff hotel instead of the MJ/management hotel that James stayed with Micahel in. They never understood why the parents allowed their children with Michael and why if Michael loved children so much, only boys were around, not girls.

The publicist says that MJ was a super talent and they will still listen to his music and don't think his music should be banned. They separate the art from the artist and doesn't think they shouldn't watch an actor or listen to an artist just because they're bad people. They say that just because they wouldn't spend time with them doesn't mean they can't enjoy the art.

They think labels will continue work with anyone who can make them money. They won't care about the artists' personal life and will just think will this artist do what we want and make money? The only time the labels will reject a moneymaker is when the public rejects the product.


Source: Twitter 1, 2