Celebrity slandering on TV is getting out of hand

Abel Samson, Staff Writer

HBO is under fire for their documentaries such as Leaving Neverland, The Case Against Adnan Syed and Surviving R.Kelly for going against the decisions that the U.S. legal system made. These documentaries re-explore the cases and promise the viewers that they are going to reveal the “truth.” But is HBO doing all this just to catch more viewers?

Michael Jackson’s trial, in which he was accused of molesting the underaged Gavin Arvizo, was a big deal when it first happened in 2005. Although he was acquitted and found not guilty, people still have their doubts. This case should be settled. However, HBO has reignited the controversy. That’s the power of Jackson’s celebrity even years after his death. Of course, Leaving Neverland, a documentary that features two of Jackson’s former friends Wade Robson and James Safechuck alleging that they were raped repeatedly by the mega-star, was going to draw similar attention.

“There could be a possibility that some people make false statements about big names,” senior Tahid Mamun said. “But I don’t understand why they feel the need to hurt someone’s reputation that bad. I don’t believe Michael Jackson raped his former friends.”

Networks like HBO and the rest of the entertainment industry would indeed hurt big named artists to increase their ratings and make more money. Stars like Michael Jackson could be innocent, but since the network is so popular, the audience will take the side. He’s no longer around as well to defend himself.

In an interview on CBS Network with Gayle King on March 8, former artist R.Kelly claimed that the documentary Surviving R.Kelly is all a lie. He claims they made him sound like a devil and that he could never treat women in such a way. He blamed the documentary for ruining his reputation and making everyone believe that he committed all of those nasty crimes.

“I watched the documentary about R.Kelly as soon as I heard it was released,” senior Hlina Wondwossen said. “I believe everything that the documentary said. There’s no way people can just make stuff up like that.”

At a certain point, it becomes essential to ask: are the questions raised in these documentaries worth the pain they inevitably inflict on these stars’ loved ones?