Beyoncé has BeyHive and Nicki Minaj de Barbz, fan groups that swarm online against anyone who deviates from their idols. Deadheads may have left a drawing, but today they are more likely to be among each other.
But in the 21st century super fan, perhaps no group is more coveted, organized and passionate online than the devoted Michael Jackson, Pop of Pop, whose legacy includes decades of insinuation and court case on what he did or did not with young boys .
About blogs, message cards, podcasts, YouTube videos and especially social media, where a Jackson avatar sends their allegiance, they circulate exhaustive evidence that they look like exorbitant to the singer while screaming down the news that they think is wrong and predicted.
Dan Reed, director of “Leaving Neverland”, who ends on Monday, said his company had received “dozens and dozens and dozens and dozens and dozens” of e posters from Jackson fans – “a twilight of hatred” starting within 20 minutes of the film’s January announcement. He and the two men in the movie Wade Robson and James Safechuck said some fans had taken it even further, threatening violence.
“You can only compare them to religious fanatics, really,” Reed said. “They are the Islamic state of Fandom.”
Jackson’s supporters do not see it so. After a boy and his family’s $ 23 million deal ended in 1993, Fandom’s party line has been that some allegations constituted extortionists with hell on tarnishing Jackson and exploited his naïveté.
A specific tribe of Jackson’s believers has pore over the granular details of his life and case, including the 2005 trial in which he was acquitted for allegations that he abused another boy hoping to prove his innocence. Those fans – including the young and the old, from Queensland, Australia to Moscow to Huntsville, Ala. – Show “Leaving Neverland” as a manipulative, one-sided hit that recovers old claims from inconsistent sources.
The film has also turned it down as a niche obsession for many Jackson fans for a common blow.
“If you’ve been a fan for a long time, you’ve seen it over and over again,” said Casey Rain, 30, a musician and YouTuber living in Birmingham, England. He called “Leaving Neverland” a “sick attempt” to hijack Me-Too moments. and redistributing his work on multiple platforms. “19659002]” There’s nothing about Michael that the fan community doesn’t know, “Rain said, whose blog post about” Leaving Neverland “became a go-to text even before the documentary sent.” I really don’t believe that we lack objectivity on him. “(Rain and others who had not yet seen the film said their information came from some Jackson fans who attended the Sundance premiere and took” very, very detailed anteck ” Susanne Baur and Elena Ovchinnikova, who co-authored the blog Vindicating Michael, said they prefer not to be called Jackson fans at all because fan “has one for negative connotation of worship and worship,” wrote Baur, 60, in one e-mail from southern Germany.
Instead, they are identified as scientists and activists who see Jackson as a civil case. In a post about “Leaving Neverland”, which amounted to more than 10,000 words, Ovchinnikova, who is 65 years old and based in Moscow, analyzed the diverse stories of the two men in the film and the conclusion that they are liars.
The reaction of the MJ community is absolutely sufficient, Ovchinnikova says via e-mail. “It’s the reaction of knowledgeable people who have to talk to the ignorant.”
Linda-Raven Woods, a 56-year-old from Huntsville, called himself a former “die-hard metalhead” whose long-standing questions about Jackson’s debt after his death had led her to fan sites.
Realizing the depth of his research, Woods realized: “That’s why they are defending him so passionately,” she said. She is now the administrator of @MJJLegion a Twitter account with more than 80,000 followers who have been busy coaching fans on how to counteract the documentary.
Some of these followers acknowledge that their elaborate lengths of writing and reasoning invite comparisons with conspiracy theorists, or as Damien Shields says it, a “ranting mob”.
But Shields, the author of a book about Jackson’s music and a fan for more than two decades, said it’s all perspective: “We also see media as a ranting mob under certain circumstances.”
He said the fans’ support comes from a place of love and passion, comparing them on social media to the Britney Spears fan Chris Crocker, who shouted “Leave Britney alone!” in a notorious viral video.
“It’s Michael Jackson fans on Twitter a million,” Shields says.
In the case of Robson and Safechuck, the fans note that both had previously testified that Jac Kson never abused them, and that the latter failed to match the singer’s property. (Their claims are now under appeal.)
Both men said it took them years to accept that they were abused and that they had felt pressured to testify on Jackson’s behalf. Reed, the director, said the film was of design “about how Wade changed and confronted the truth about what happened to him” – a “radical reassessment of what it all meant”.
In an interview, Robson said he understood how many still clung to Jackson’s “very special angelic persona”. He added, “It was so tasty for so many people, including myself.”
Robson and Safechuck said they had also been subjected to an attack then coming forward, with Robson describing “thousands of extremely volatile and nasty emails or social media comments.” The quoted intensity of Jackson’s defenders is one possible reason why more people are not moving forward. “It’s a terrifying thing to do,” Robson said.
When the film’s television premiere approached, some fans flew to keep up the fight against Jackson’s reputation as they also vowed for increased scrutiny.
While some said they were going to boycott the movie because it did not include outside contexts or interviews with defenders, others said they would stomach it for the good of society.
“I need to know what we stand against,” said Woods of @MJJLegion.
Shields said he could not help but feel a sense of fear for the coming months: “This can literally be the end of Michael Jackson though – great if – someone in a position of reputation does not decide to tell it the other side of the story, “he said.
Meanwhile, it was “almost as therapy” for fans to do their part to push the claims. “Although their part doesn’t actually affect,” he said, “at least they tried their best.”