Sexual Abuse Docus: Emmy Nominations

The 2019 Emmy nominations were announced this morning and among the honorees were sexual abuse documentaries Leaving Neverland from HBO, and Lifetime’s Surviving R. Kelly, both of which explored claims made against prominent men in the music industry.

HBO’s four-hour film — which featured testimony from Wade Robson and James Safechuck, two men who claim to have suffered childhood sexual abuse at the hands of the late Michael Jackson — earned a total of five nominations.

Directed by Dan Reed, it was nominated in the following categories: outstanding directing for a documentary/nonfiction program; outstanding documentary or nonfiction special; outstanding picture editing for a nonfiction program; outstanding sound editing for a nonfiction program; and outstanding sound mixing for a nonfiction program.

After Leaving Neverland’s debut in January at the Sundance Film Fest, Jackson’s estate called the film “a tabloid character assassination” and insisted it “isn’t a documentary,” while his family called Reed and the feature’s two accusers “opportunists.”

Surviving R. Kelly received one nomination. Lifetime’s six-episode series, which aired in January and featured more than 50 people speaking about alleged acts of abuse by the R&B singer, was nominated for outstanding informational series or special.

News of Surviving R. Kelly’s Emmy nod comes just days after news broke that Kelly was arrested on charges that he recruited girls and women to have illegal sex with him and then covered up the crimes by paying and threatening the victims and witnesses.

Surviving R. Kelly exec-producer Dream Hampton expressed her gratitude to the TV Academy for recognizing her work. “Our team is so grateful to the Academy for this nomination, and to the brave women who sat with us and shared their stories on camera,” said Hampton. “We could have never imagined the impact Surviving R. Kelly would have, but we hope it continues a long overdue and necessary conversation that centers on survivors.”