Since the release of Leaving Neverland — a documentary which chronicles Michael Jackson’s alleged sexual abuse of Wade Robson and James Safechuck from the ages of 10 and 7, respectively — the film has been steeped in controversy. While some believe the movie is an affirmation of Jackson’s affinity for younger boys, others say it is an opportunistic, misleading attempt to cash in on the late singer’s legacy.
If a recent Variety article is any sign, the debate doesn’t appear to be going away. During a panel called “Truth Be Told? Documentary Films Today” hosted by International Documentary Association director Carrie Lozano, the Jackson estate’s lawyers — John Branca and Howard Weitzman — revealed their thoughts on Leaving Neverland.
Branca began by stressing that he is an impartial observer, one with a point of view that is not related to any specific documentary. He then addressed one of his chief complaints about the HBO documentary — that the testimony contained within it is presented as fact.
“No other side is presented,” he said, adding that director Dan Reed had no interest in speaking to anybody else close to the case.
Weitzman appeared to agree.
“The idea of offering fair and balanced views doesn’t play in the media business today. The only true reality TV where the outcome is unknown is a sporting event.”
The pair later suggested that Leaving Neverland is just another example of the media prejudice against Jackson, which they say has been present since the mid-’80s.
“It’s like what James Baldwin once wrote (about how) Michael Jackson will forever pay the price for being as successful as he was,” Branca said.
“There’s a large segment of the press that doesn’t care whether Michael is innocent or guilty because it’s not controversial enough. In the end, I really believe it’s a form of racism.”
The man who defended the pop star from molestation accusations in 2004 says "all the good qualities of Michael Jackson will prevail."https://t.co/rkmV6zkUpQ
— TooFab (@TooFab) May 31, 2019
As The Inquisitr reported, the pop star’s former lawyer, Thomas Mesereau — who defended Jackson against sexual assault allegations back in 2004 — believes that, much like the 2004 allegations, the accusations from Robson and Safechuck won’t stick. He called Leaving Neverland — and the controversy which surrounds it — “a temporary blip,” and said that, in the end, it will be forgotten.
When pressed by TooFab for proof of Jackson’s innocence, Mesereau pointed to the previous case that he represented Jackson in, one which lead to the singer being cleared of all charges. Mesereau appears to echo Branca and Weitzman in his belief that the media is out to get Jackson, and that the Leaving Neverland documentary is yet another example of this.