Leaving Neverland director responds to Michael Jackson's estate statement: 'They obviously haven't seen it'

The estate said the film was a 'tabloid character assassination' 

Jack Shepherd
Monday 28 January 2019 09:10
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Michael Jackson documentary 'Leaving Neverland' screened at Sundance Film Festival 2019

The director of Leaving Neverland, the documentary in which two men who allege that Michael Jackson molested them as children, has responded to the singer's estate calling the film a "tabloid character assassination".

Dan Reed has said the estate made "no substantial criticism of the film" and that the estate "obviously haven't seen it".

Leaving Neverland features extensive interviews with two of Jackson's accusers, Wade Robson and James Safechuck. The four-hour long documentary, premiered at the Sundance Film Festival in Utah last week and left audience members shocked by the details of the allegations.

Jackson’s estate issued a strong rebuke of the film, calling it "the kind of tabloid character assassination Michael Jackson endured in life, and now in death."

"The film takes uncorroborated allegations that supposedly happened 20 years ago and treats them as fact," the statement continues. "These claims were the basis of lawsuits filed by these two admitted liars, which were ultimately dismissed by a judge."

Speaking to USA Today, Reed replied: "How can you call a four-hour documentary 'tabloid'? That beats me.

"It's pretty much what you'd expect them to say. ... The statement contains nothing that is of concern and no substantial criticism of the film. They obviously haven't seen it, and I'm not engaging with the substance of what they're saying."

Jackson was acquitted of molestation charges in a 2005 trial. In 1993, the singer was publicly accused of molesting an underage boy before agreeing to a financial settlement. Lawsuits filed by Robson and Safechuck were both dismissed.

Leaving Neverland is set to premiere on Channel 4 and HBO this spring.

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