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Michael Jackson’s estate is blasting a new documentary focusing on sexual abuse claims it says are “dated” and have already been “discredited.”
Set to premiere at the Sundance Film Festival in Park City, Utah, later in January, Leaving Neverland is about the life of two boys, now in their 30s, who accused the singer of abuse.
Following the announcement on Wednesday, Jackson’s estate released a statement to Yahoo saying, “This is yet another lurid production in an outrageous and pathetic attempt to exploit and cash in on Michael Jackson.”
It added that the “so-called documentary is just another rehash of dated and discredited allegations. It’s baffling why any credible filmmaker would involve himself with this project.”
On Thursday, many of Jackson’s fans were speaking out against it.
— Thierry Dominique (@mrteedee) January 10, 2019
Michael Jackson had a pure, childlike soul. He's been gone for 10 years and the fact that people are still trying to accuse of him of such heinous acts is beyond me. That man was a beautiful person, inside & out. He does NOT deserve this. #JusticeforMJ
— Tiffany (@PrimadonnaGurls) January 9, 2019
why are you giving these lies a platform? wbk yall hated michael but this is too much. these two had their cases dismissed. they tried to create fake evidence and now all they want is money. its disgusting. #JusticeForMJ
— #JusticeForMJ (@applesheads) January 9, 2019
But others think it should be seen, especially in light of of the #MeToo movement.
I can't wait for the documentary on Michael Jackson to drop! Expose all the abusers and child predators. Let me know who I'm never spending coin on again!
— The Chilling Adventures of Roman (@BigBadRoman) January 10, 2019
If Michael Jackson were alive, would he face the same fate as many of his Hollywood peers facing the #metoo movement? We are talking child molestation etc in MJ’s case!
— Shilan Amin (@Shilan_Amin) January 9, 2019
gotta be honest fam I don’t see anything wrong with that Michael Jackson doc.
— Jacob A Dunn (@JacobADunn) January 10, 2019
The summary of the film, produced and directed by BAFTA-winning director Dan Reed, reads: “At the height of his stardom Michael Jackson began long-running relationships with two boys, aged 7 and 10, and their families. Now in their 30s, they tell the story of how they were sexually abused by Jackson, and how they came to terms with it years later.”
The names of the two accusers have not been released, but the estate believes they are Wade Robson and James Safechuck, who, the estate noted, “both testified under oath that Michael never did anything inappropriate toward them.”
Jackson, who maintained his innocence, was acquitted of molestation charges in 2005. He died 10 years ago this June.
The Sundance Film Festival kicks off on Jan. 24 and runs through Feb. 3. Also in the Sundance documentary lineup is Untouchable, the inside story of the “meteoric rise and monstrous fall” of Harvey Weinstein. Leaving Neverland will then air on HBO this spring — and on Channel 4 in the U.K.