Whatever your standpoint on Leaving Neverland, there's no doubt that the critically-acclaimed documentary has left an impression on viewers.
The first part of the four-hour documentary which was aired last night on Channel 4 covers new statements from Wade Robson and James Safechuk, who have come forward to allege Michael Jackson subjected them to harrowing sexual abuse as children (Director, Dan Reed has confirmed Robson and Safechuk didn't accept payment for taking part in the documentary).
In the lead-up to it airing on UK television, fans of Jackson protested outside of Channel 4's studios stating that they wished to 'show public the true Angelic Beauty of Michael J Jackson'. while others took to Twitter to defend the singer and claimed that Robson and Safechuk are financially motivated. Others on social media have questioned how Robson and Safechuks parents could have conceivably allowed their seven year old child to sleep in the same bed as a fully-grown man.
That part of the documentary, in particular, reflects the public commentary on the recent Netflix documentary Abducted in Plain Sight, where Robert Berchtold, a child abuser who systematically groomed the Broberg family for years persuaded the parents of 10-year-old Jan Broberg to sleep in the same bed as their daughter. Berchtold claimed this was at the instruction of a 'Therapist' and went on to use it as a gateway for child sex abuse.
But the second part of the documentary will briefly cover a woman who has been forgotten in the noise and controversy surrounding the 2019 release of Leaving Neverland and that's Blanca Francia.
So who was Michael Jackson's maid?
Actually, she's a pretty important part of the whole story. Blanca Francia worked as a maid in Michael Jackson's household between 1986 and 1991. Amongst the accusations of child abuse that have been made against Jackson; hers were dismissed because she accepted payouts, of $2 million dollars from the Jackson estate and $20,000 from a news program.
Francia will only be covered briefly in the second part of the documentary airing at 9pm this evening. But while many have accused Robson and Safechuk of lying about the abuse they claim to have been subjected to by Michael Jackson - Francia's story represents an interesting corroboration to the allegations raised by the two men in the documentary.
In 2005 the Los Angeles Times reported of a testimony Francia gave that she claimed to have seen Jackson taking a shower with a boy who she believed to be Robson. According to the testimony Francia recognised Robson's Neon green Spiderman underwear lying next to Jackson's on the floor from doing the laundry: “Once, when [Francia] was cleaning Jackson’s bedroom, she said, she saw Jackson and a child she believes was [Robson] in the shower. The boy’s neon-green Spider-Man underwear was on the floor near Jackson’s white briefs, she said. She said she was familiar with their undergarments from doing their laundry.”.
In the same deposition, Blanca stated that on two separate occasions she had seen Robson in Michael Jackson's bed with the singer. She also claimed in the 2005 interview that during the time she was working for him Jackson used to request that she bring her own young son to work with her, who had later told her that during these visits Jackson had sexually touched him. According to Francia's son, who testified in the 2005 trial against Jackson aged 24, each time he was abused the singer would hand him a $100 bill.
Blanca Francia's statements were dismissed as false by those who deny the allegations of child abuse, in part because of the payments that she accepted but also because initially in a 1993 deposition she told investigators that she had not seen Michael Jackson touching young children inappropriately.
When she was asked why she hadn't spoken out in 1993 about the instance she later came forward with of seeing both Robson and Michael Jackson in the shower she said 'At the time I guess I was tired and nervous.'
The second part of Leaving Neverland will air on Channel 4 tonight, Thursday, March 7 2019.