Dan Reed, the director behind Michael Jackson documentary Leaving Neverland, has been challenged on the accuracy of his film by one of the singer’s biographers.
Mike Smallcombe, who penned the book Making Michael in 2016, confronted the director on Twitter yesterday, questioning the testimony of James Safechuck, who alleges he was molested over several years by Jackson when he was a child.
Safechuck details one incident of abuse happening in an upstairs room at the ‘train station’ which Jackson had built as his Neverland ranch.
But Smallcombe has produced construction permits for the building which say it was built two years after Safechuck said that his abuse at the hands of Jackson stopped.
Safechuck says he was abused by Jackson from 1988 to 1992, but the building was not built until 1994.
On seeing the permits, Reed replied to Smallcombe saying that they appear to be correct.
Tweeting back, Reed said: “Yeah there seems to be no doubt about the station date. The date they have wrong is the end of the abuse.”
So @danreed1000 is now saying because the story has been debunked, suddenly the end of Safechuck’s abuse was when he was 16/17 rather than 14. It’s a three year discrepancy. Just hold your hands up, don’t change the story. This is what happens when you don’t investigate properly. https://t.co/EydUEztVJJ
— Mike Smallcombe (@mikesmallcombe1) March 31, 2019
But Smallcombe claims that this is an ’embarrassing’ turnaround.
“Because the story has been debunked, it appears Reed is now suddenly wanting to change Safechuck’s timeline himself,” he told Mirror Online.
“Firstly, I’m shocked that he’s spoken on Safechuck’s behalf. And secondly, it’s embarrassing that he feels he has to now change the narrative of the film – which is that the alleged abuse stopped in 1992 – all because part of it has been disproved.
“That’s what happens when you take allegations like that at face value, and make no attempts to scrutinise and investigate whether they are true.”
“By acknowledging the build date, Reed is essentially confirming that Safechuck’s claim of being abused in Neverland’s train station between 1988 and 1992 is impossible.
“To seemingly now claim on Safechuck’s behalf that the abuse went on as Safechuck approached adulthood, all to preserve the timeline of his film, is astonishing.”
Safechuck, and Wade Robson, who was also befriended by Jackson when he was a child, and who also accuses the singer of long-term sexual abuse in the documentary, have said that they were molested by Jackson on countless other occasions.
But Jackson supporters have criticised the pair, who have both denied under oath that Jackson behaved improperly towards them in previous court cases.