HBO plans to move forward with the release of its controversial documentary “Leaving Neverland.”
“Leaving Neverland” is HBO’s newest documentary that will focus on late singer Michael Jackson and the allegations against him that claim he sexually abused children during his career. The project will center around two men; Wade Robson and #JamesSafechuck, who say they were involved in the alleged abuse. Despite, Jackson’s estate calling for the documentary to be pulled, the network plans to move forward. “It doesn’t change our plans,” HBO programming president Casey Bloys told Variety Friday. “We announced the air date. It will air as planned.”
On Friday, Jackson’s estate sent a letter to HBO chief executive Richard Plepler calling “Leaving Neverland” a “one-sided, sensationalist program” and declaring that the film “will go down as the most shameful episode in HBO’s history.”
The four-hour film, which is directed by Dan Reed, was applauded at the Sundance Film Festival last month. HBO will debut the project on television in two parts on March 3 and 4. Bloys told Variety that the documentary meets the standards of HBO and that the men’s’ stories deserve a platform.
“We’ve been doing documentaries for a long time, “he said. “I think this one is a very important one, and it’s a very powerful message. I think both men were very brave to share their stories, and they deserve to be heard.”