Leaving Neverland director Dan Reed responds to Michael Jackson's estate and family's criticism of documentary
Leaving Neverland revisits the claims of Wade Robson and James Safechuck that Michael Jackson sexually abused them when they were minors.
Finding Neverland director Dan Reed says the documentary film, which delves into the allegations of child sexual abuse against Michael Jackson, is not a commentary on the late King of Pop.
The four-hour-long film, which recently premiered at Sundance Film Festival, revisits the claims of Wade Robson and James Safechuck that Jackson sexually abused them when they were minors. Jackson died in 2009 of a propofol overdose.
In an interview with The Hollywood Reporter, Reed hit out at Jackson's estate and his family for their criticism of the film.
"It is a four-hour documentary by an experienced documentarian with a long track record in investigation and telling complex stories and this is a complex story. So I'd say it's beyond doubt a documentary.
The singer's estate had labelled the film as "the kind of tabloid character assassination Michael Jackson endured in life, and now in death."
To this, Reed said, "Anyone with any knowledge of that form would recognize a documentary. A four-hour piece, is that a tabloid? I didn't characterize Jackson at all in the film. I think if you watch it you'll have noticed that it's a story about these two families and Jackson is an element of that story."
"But I don't seek to characterize him at all. I don't comment on Jackson. It's not a film about Michael... The film itself is an account of sexual abuse, how sexual abuse happens and then how the consequences play out later in life," he added.
The documentary features in-depth interviews with Robson, Safechuck and their families, who allege that Jackson's years-long abuse lasted until they were 14.
The family of Jackson has called the film a "public lynching".
Reed said Jackson's relative "have a very precious asset to protect".
"Every time a song plays, a cash register goes 'ka-ching.' It doesn't surprise me that they've come out fighting in defense of their asset," he added.
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