He’s been gone for almost 10 years, but the controversy surrounding Michael Jackson’s life still remains.
Before his 2009 death, the “King of Pop” had a variety of child molestation claims lodged against him, some of which are the subject of the new HBO documentary “Leaving Neverland”.
The documentary, which will premiere at the Sundance Film Festival later this month before it airs on HBO later in the year, will feature two men who allege they were molested by the “Thriller” star.
Directed by Dan Reed, the film features James Safechuck and Wade Robson, who were seven and 10 at the time of their alleged assaults (both in their 30s now), in addition to interviews with their friends and family members, questioning the effect that sexual assault can have on a victim.
Fans have not been happy with Sundance’s decision to show the film, with Jackson’s estate saying, “This is yet another lurid production in an outrageous and pathetic attempt to exploit and cash in on Michael Jackson.”
Sundance issued a statement insisting the festival will not pull the controversial documentary. “Sundance Institute supports artists in enabling them to fully tell bold, independent stories, stories on topics which can be provocative or challenging. We look forward to audiences at the Festival seeing these films and judging the work for themselves, and discussing it afterwards,” reads the statement.
Jackson’s estate has now turned to accuse HBO as hypocritical, issuing a Twitter statement reading, “In 1992, Michael gave HBO their highest rated special ever. Now, to repay him they give a voice to admitted liars.”
Jackson was first accused of child molestation in mid-1993 by Jordan Chandler, 13, and his father. The family demanded money, but Jackson refused to pay. They eventually filed a civil case, but Chandler’s mother was adamant Jackson did nothing wrong.
Similar charges were brought against the singer, but nothing ever saw the courtroom. In 2005, Jackson was acquitted before the newest case made it to court.