‘Leaving Neverland’ Director Dan Reed Addresses Dave Chappelle’s Michael Jackson Jokes

Director Dan Reed speaks onstage during the "Leaving Neverland" Premiere during the 2019 Sundance Film Festival at Egyptian Theatre on January 25, 2019 in Park City, Utah.
Jerod Harris / Getty Images

The controversial HBO documentary Leaving Neverland covers Wade Robson and James Safechuck, who accused Michael Jackson of sexually abusing them as children. All parties involved, including director Dan Reed, have received a significant degree of backlash from the King of Pop’s supporters, who believe that it’s a cash grab intended to profit off of denigrating the late singer’s legacy.

Despite the backlash, Vice News reports that Leaving Neverland won a Creative Arts Emmy for Best Documentary or Non-Fiction Special. Afterward, Reed took some time backstage to address the recent comments made by comedian Dave Chappelle in his Netflix special, Sticks & Stones, in which Chappelle reveals that he doesn’t believe Robson and Safechuck while still poking fun at the possibility that Jackson did molest children.

Apparently, Reed wasn’t amused — he said he felt “physically sick” when he heard Chappelle’s comments.

“I don’t think Dave Chappelle was very funny or clever to do what he did,” he said. “You know, mocking kids who were raped by famous people, it’s like: Is that funny?”

But Reed acknowledged that some people would find Chappelle’s jokes funny and said he didn’t want Leaving Neverland to become a part of “cancel culture.”

“[Michael Jackson] has been dead a long time, his music’s out there. There’s nothing in the film that says, ‘Don’t listen to Michael Jackson.’ There’s nothing in this film that says, ‘Cancel MJ.'”

Does this song have a whole new meaning after watching ‘Leaving Neverland’? pic.twitter.com/MVJCmArIK3

— DJ Vlad – VladTV.com (@djvlad) September 10, 2019

Per The Inquisitr, not everyone believes the accusations in Leaving Neverland. The late pop star’s former bodyguard, Matt Fiddes, is one of the most outspoken advocates for him and claims that Robson and Fiddes — as well as all of Jackson’s other accusers — are motivated by money.

Per The Daily Mirror, Fiddes claims that the 2005 allegations of sexual assault took their toll on Jackson and he was a “complete mess” after the trial, which found him not guilty of the charges.

“He was terrified about being assassinated on stage, and was making silly suggestions about wearing a bulletproof vest while performing,” he said.

Fiddes said that Jackson’s closest supporters reassured him as much as they could and said he was going to have “no problems.” Despite the support, Jackson ended up overdosing on a prescription drug weeks before he was set to begin a 50-date run of shows at the O2 Arena.

In the wake of the new accusations, and Leaving Neverland, Fiddes and others participated in the documentary Michael Jackson: Chase the Truth, which seeks to discredit Reed’s film and all those involved with it.