First, there was Surviving R. Kelly and now there's Leaving Neverland - the controversial documentary surrounding Michael Jackson's alleged inappropriate behavior with underage boys. On Friday, January 25, Leaving Neverland premiered at the 2019 Sundance Film Festival in Park City, Utah and, already, it has sparked a media firestorm thrusting Michael Jackson back into the forefront of a decades-long scandal. While most adoring fans see Michael Jackson as the King of Pop, the film exposed the legendary performer as a sexual predator.
According to Radar Online, two of Michael Jackson's alleged victims - identified as Wade Robson, now 36, and James Safechuck, now 42 - detailed their interactions with the singer when they were children. The accounts they've shared have sparked heightened controversy. Now, Michael Jackson's estate has responded to the documentary, describing it as another attempt at "tabloid character assassination" and a collection of "uncorroborated allegations." Michael Jackson's estate recalled the alleged victims testifying under oath admitting that the series of events discussed in the documentary never occurred.
The estate also argued that if the events were true, the victims would now be classified as "two perjurers."
"Leaving Neverland isn't a documentary, it is 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."Despite the claims, the lawsuits filed by the alleged victims were ultimately dismissed by a judge.
"The two accusers testified under oath that these events never occurred. They have provided no independent evidence and absolutely no proof in support of their accusations, which means the entire film hinges solely on the word of two perjurers."The statement went on to criticize the director of the film.
"Tellingly, the director admitted at the Sundance Film Festival that he limited his interviews only to these accusers and their families."The statement concluded with a show of sympathy for legitimate victims all over the world who have come forward to seek justice for the abuse they endured.
"We are extremely sympathetic to any legitimate victim of child abuse. This film, however, does those victims a disservice. "For years, Michael Jackson faced heightened scrutiny for his interactions with young boys. The singer was previously indicted on 10 counts in connection with the alleged molestation of a young boy. Michael Jackson was also accused of plying the young man with alcohol. The singer was also accused of conspiring to commit child abduction, false imprisonment, and extortion. In 2005, Michael Jackson pleaded not guilty and was ultimately acquitted on all charges.