Director Dan Reed’s controversial HBO documentary Leaving Neverland has caused a revaluation of Michael Jackson’s legacy. The movie chronicles the accusations of sexual assault levied against the singer by Wade Robson and James Safechuck, who claim the King of Pop molested them as children.
Digital Spy reports that Reed has opened up about the filming process behind the movie in an interview with IndieWire. During the interview, he said that Robson and Safechuck’s mothers — who he grilled mercilessly for the film — should not be judged harshly.
“People are critical of the mothers,” he said. “The most immediate reaction is ‘What the heck were they thinking? How could any mother allow their child even one night in the bed of any stranger?'”
“But you have put yourself back in their shoes, in a different time,” he said.
“They were innocent, the lure of wanting Jackson to like them and take advantage of the opportunity for the little boys to learn stuff as children.”
Reed says he doesn’t believe the mothers thought that anything sexual was happening between Jackson and their children during the periods of the alleged abuse.
“Wade and James formed an attachment to their abuser, they wanted Michael to come and scoop them up – which is the most horrific thing for parents to hear,” he said, adding that he sympathizes with them.
After #LeavingNeverland shocked Sundance, the four-hour documentary forever changed the way we see the late Michael Jackson. Here's how it became a shocking must-see: https://t.co/6tGwIEafKt pic.twitter.com/LggGaezVSw
— IndieWire (@IndieWire) August 7, 2019
Another interesting piece of information revealed in Reed’s interview is that one scene — which involved Safechuck and a jewelry box — was filmed over a year after the first main interview. During the scene, Safechuck opens a jewelry box that Jackson allegedly gave him in return for sexual favors. According to Reed, it took Safechuck a long time to find the box, which contained a wedding ring, among other items. Regardless, Reed suggests the intensely emotional scene was worth the effort.
Per The Inquisitr, Leaving Neverland received five Emmy nominations, including outstanding documentary or nonfiction special, outstanding picture editing for a nonfiction program, outstanding directing for a documentary/nonfiction program, outstanding sound mixing for a nonfiction program, and outstanding sound editing for a nonfiction program.
But not everyone believes the accusations covered in the controversial documentary. Matt Fiddes, Jackson’s former bodyguard, claims that the accusations are untrue and says that his upcoming documentary, Michael Jackson: Chase The Truth, will ruin Reed’s career. In addition, John Branca, one of the Jackson estate’s lawyers, claims that Reed’s documentary is yet another part of the racist movement against Jackson’s legacy that seeks to punish him for his fame.