In the wake of the overwhelming response to the Lifetime docu-series, “Surviving R. Kelly,” which details the singer’s alleged history of mental, emotional and sexual abuse of underage girls, the Sundance Film Festival has added a new documentary on the sexual abuse allegations against Michael Jackson to its world premiere lineup.
Directed and produced by Dan Reed, the four-hour film, titled, “Leaving Neverland,” will explore Jackson’s alleged long-standing relationship two boys, aged 7 and 10, and their families at the peak of his career. Now, in their 30s, according to the film’s synopsis, the men claim they were sexually abused by the late superstar, and explain how they dealt with it.
“Through gut-wrenching interviews with the now-adult men and their families, ‘Leaving Neverland’ crafts a portrait of sustained exploitation and deception, documenting the power of celebrity that allowed a revered figure to infiltrate the lives of starstruck children and their parents,” the film’s synopsis read.
In response to the film’s addition, representatives for Jackson’s estate said, “This is yet another lurid production in an outrageous and pathetic attempt to exploit and cash in on Michael Jackson.”
Although the accusers have yet to be named, Reed’s website shared a photo of Jackson and Wade Robson, who filed sexual abuse lawsuit against Jackson in 2013, claiming the superstar molested him when he was seven. However, the suit was dismissed in December 2017.
“Wade Robson and James Safechuck [who was Jackson’s companion as a child and sued Jackson’s estate over sexual abuse claims] have both testified under oath that Michael never did anything inappropriate toward them,” the rep continued. “Safechuck and Robson, the latter a self-proclaimed ‘master of deception,’ filed lawsuits against Michael’s estate, asking for millions of dollars. Both lawsuits were dismissed. This so-called ‘documentary’ is just another rehash of dated and discredited allegations. It’s baffling why any credible filmmaker would involve himself with this project.”