In mid-January, it was announced that HBO will premiere a documentary titled Leaving Neverland which takes a look at the previous sexual assault allegations against Michael Jackson. The two-part production, which premiered at the 2019 Sundance Film Festival on Friday (Jan. 25), features the recollections of two men, Wade Robson and James Safechuck, who claim the Thriller artist molested them as boys.
After a swell of reactions poured out, Jackson’s family publicized a statement denouncing the film and referred to it as “the kind of tabloid character assassination Michael Jackson endured in life, and now in death.” The family also took aim at the creators behind the doc, stating they lacked the interest in telling both sides of the story.
“They never interviewed a single solitary soul who knew Michael except [for] the two perjurers and their families,” the statement reads. “That is not journalism, and it’s not fair, yet the media are perpetuating these stories.”
According to Pitchfork, the two men at the center of the Dan Reed-directed documentary stated Jackson “threatened them” to take the stand during his child molestation trial of 2005 to testify on his side. At that time, Robson and Safechuck deemed Jackson innocent of the allegations he then faced. Jackson’s family’s statement refers to this claim as well, noting that Robson “denied in court and in numerous interviews, including after Michael passed, that he was a victim and stated he was grateful for everything Michael had done for him.”
In 2005, Jackson went to trial to face over a dozen counts for reportedly molesting a 13-year-old boy, intoxicating a minor, and abduction. He was found not guilty on all charges after the 18-month court proceeding.
Read the full statement below:
Michael Jackson is our brother and son. We are furious that the media, who without a shred of proof or single piece of physical evidence, chose to believe the word of two admitted liars over the word of hundreds of families and friends around the world who spent time with Michael, many at Neverland, and experienced his legendary kindness and global generosity. We are proud of what Michael Jackson stands for.
People have always loved to go after Michael. He was an easy target because he was unique. But Michael was subjected to a thorough investigation which included a surprise raid of Neverland and other properties as well as a jury trial where Michael was found to be COMPLETELY INNOCENT. There has never been one piece of proof of anything. Yet the media is eager to believe these lies.
Michael always turned the other cheek, and we have always turned the other cheek when people have gone after members of our family – that is the Jackson way. But we can’t just stand by while this public lynching goes on, and the vulture tweeters and others who never met Michael go after him. Michael is not here to defend himself, otherwise these allegations would not have been made.
The creators of this film were not interested in the truth. They never interviewed a single solitary soul who knew Michael except the two perjurers and their families. That is not journalism, and it’s not fair, yet the media are perpetuating these stories.
But the truth is on our side. Go do your research about these opportunists. The facts don’t lie, people do. Michael Jackson was and always will be 100% innocent of these false allegations.
The Jackson Family