Sundance Film Festival 2019: Michael Jackson's estate slams documentary Leaving Neverland, calls it 'tabloid character assassination'

Press Trust of India

Jan 27, 2019 18:18:11 IST

Michael Jackson's estate has hit out at documentary Leaving Neverland, based around the allegations of child sexual abuse against the late King of Pop, calling it a "tabloid character assassination".

The four-hour-long film, directed by Dan Reed, recently premiered at Sundance Film festival.

Sundance Film Festival 2019: Michael Jacksons estate slams documentary Leaving Neverland, calls it tabloid character assassination

Michael Jackson. Image from Twitter

It 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.

According to Variety, the pop star's estate said film seeks to provide a platform to "admitted liars" to level their "uncorroborated allegations".

"Leaving Neverland isn't a documentary, it is the kind of tabloid character assassination Michael Jackson endured in life, and now in death. The film takes uncorroborated allegations that supposedly happened 20 years ago and treats them as fact. These claims were the basis of lawsuits filed by these two admitted liars which were ultimately dismissed by a judge," the statement read.

"The two accusers testified under oath that these events never occurred. They have provided no independent evidence and absolutely no proof in support of their accusations, which means the entire film hinges solely on the word of two perjurers," it added.

The estate said besides the two accusers, Reed "intentionally avoided" interviewing other people who spent significant time with Jackson and have testified in his support.

"By choosing not to include any of these independent voices who might challenge the narrative that he was determined to sell, the director neglected fact checking so he could craft a narrative so blatantly one-sided that viewers never get anything close to a balanced portrait."

It further said that Robson and his family "benefited from Michael's kindness, generosity and career support up until Michael's death".

"Conveniently left out of Leaving Neverland was the fact that when Robson was denied a role in a Michael Jackson-themed Cirque du Soleil production, his assault allegations suddenly emerged," it added.

Updated Date: Jan 29, 2019 15:33:56 IST