Michael Jackson Fans Are ‘The Islamic State of Fandom,’ Documentary Director Says

Leaving Neverland director Dan Reed
Jerod Harris / Getty images

Leaving Neverland, the four-hour documentary about the accusations of two men that the late pop superstar Michael Jackson sexually abused them when they were young, finished its two-night airing on HBO Monday night. The two men, Wade Robson and Jimmy Safechuck, were also interviewed by Oprah Winfrey on a special following the airing of the documentary Monday night.

A notable aspect of the airing of the documentary has been aggressive pushback against the project and the assertions in it by fans of the singer, whose support hasn’t waned in the slightest in the ten years since Jackson’s death.

This is illustrated in a New York Times piece that was published Monday, which went into detail with Jackson fans’ plan to disrupt the documentary, which included bombing the #LeavingNeverland Twitter hashtag and producing a high volume of lengthy YouTube videos. Fans have also been encouraged to watch This is It, the documentary about Jackson that was released shortly after his death. There have even been billboards and bus ads.

Jackson’s fans participating in such campaigns are all over the world and of all ages, according to the newspaper. It appears that most of them have not seen the film, which debuted at the Sundance Film Festival in January before its broadcast on HBO.

Now, the director of the documentary has responded, with some critical words for Jackson’s die-hard fans.

“One can only compare them to religious fanatics, really,” director Dan Reed said, according to the Times. “They’re the Islamic State of fandom.” Reed and both accusers also told the Times that they have received nasty emails and social media posts as a result of their participation.

Those arguing against the film mostly argue that the two accusers in Leaving Neverland, as well as others that have emerged over the years, are liars who are out for money and that Jackson is completely innocent.

They also note that both of the accusers in the film have testified in the past that they were not abused by Jackson; they say that they were pressured to give testimony in the cases and that it took them years to accept that they had, in fact, been abused.

Jackson’s estate, controlled by his family, released a pair of rare Jackson documentaries on the singer’s official YouTube channel, each of them timed to run at the same time as the two airings of the documentary, per The Inquisitr.