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Leaving Neverland: HBO & Channel 4 to present Michael Jackson documentary

This afternoon, HBO and Channel 4 announced that Dan Reed's LEAVING NEVERLAND, a two-part documentary about two men who recount their experiences of being sexually abused by Michael Jackson will be broacast this coming Spring. The four-hour presentation - which is expected to make its Sundance Film Festival debut later this month - has been viewed by the Estate of Michael Jackson as "another lurid production in an outrageous and pathetic attempt to exploit and cash in on Michael Jackson." The group then added, "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.”

You can read the full synopsis of the divisive documentary below:

“When allegations of abuse by Jackson involving young boys surfaced in 1993, many found it hard to believe that he could be guilty of such unspeakable acts. ‘Leaving Neverland’ explores the experiences of two young boys, James Safechuck, at age ten, and Wade Robson, at age seven, who were both befriended by Jackson. They and their families were entranced by the singer’s fairy-tale existence as his career reached its peak. … Through gut-wrenching interviews with Safechuck and Robson, now in their 30s, as well as their mothers, wives and siblings, ‘Leaving Neverland’ crafts a portrait of sustained abuse, and explores the complicated feelings that led both men to confront their experiences after each had a young son of his own. Playing out against the backdrop of our collective experience, the film documents the value of breaking silence, even when it implicates a powerful and revered figure.”

Allegations of abuse by Jackson surfaced in 1993, though many had found it hard to believe that the King of Pop was guilty of such deplorable acts. As the story goes, Jackson befriended James Safechuck and Wade Robson, at ages ten and seven, respectively. The boys and their families were then welcomed into Jackson's Neverland Ranch, a live-in manor-style playground complete with amusement park rides, animals, and exotic odditites.

In talking about his film, Reed said in a statement: “If there’s anything we’ve learned during this time in our history, it’s that sexual abuse is complicated, and survivors’ voices need to be listened to. It took great courage for these two men to tell their stories and I have no question about their validity. I believe anyone who watches this film will see and feel the emotional toll on the men and their families and will appreciate the strength it takes to confront long-held secrets.”

You can watch the documentary and draw your own conclusions about the Gloved One's mysterious past when LEAVING NEVERLAND premieres on HBO and Channel 4 this Spring.

Source: HBO

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