Fans of the late King of Pop have being unforgiving with their criticism of Oprah Winfrey since she has publicly supported the two men who accuse Michael Jackson of molesting them in the new HBO documentary Leaving Neverland.
In the doc that premiered over the weekend, Wade Robson, 36, and James Safechuck, 40, allege Jackson sexually abused them when they were boys. Winfrey, who has previously opened up about also being molested as a child, says she wants their voices heard all over the world as she did not feel as brave to speak up when she was victimized by her cousin, an uncle and a family friend as a young girl, PEOPLE reports.
“It happened to me at 9, and then 10, and then 11, and then 12, 13, 14. You don’t have the language to begin to explain what’s happening to you,” Winfrey told PEOPLE for the March 12, 2018 cover story. “That’s why you feel you’re not going to be believed. And if the abuser, the molester, is any good, they will make you feel that you are complicit, that you were part of it. That’s what keeps you from telling.”
Winfrey’s special Oprah Winfrey Presents: After Neverland aired immediately following the documentary and featured the media maven supporting the alleged victims despite knowing she would be shrouded in hate from MJ loyalists.
The Wrinkle in Time star also credits the #MeToo movement for encouraging women to speak up about their own experiences with abusive males.
“Women all over the country have been in situations with domineering, brutish men and had to remain silent about it to keep food on the table,” Winfrey said before recalling the bully boss she used to work for at a TV station in Baltimore.
“I had a boss who was just a brute. This was at WJZ-TV in Baltimore. I knew that saying anything at the time would have taken me out of television forever. That nothing would have been done about it. I wasn’t going to be there forever, so I said nothing. Every time he would pass my desk, I would turn around and try to disappear.”