Documentary Alleges Michael Jackson Sexually Abused Boys
The Sundance Film Festival announced this week it will host the world premiere of Leaving Neverland, a documentary described as "the story of two families whose boys were sexually abused by Michael Jackson in the 1980s and 90s.
“At the height of his stardom Michael Jackson began long-running relationships with two boys, aged 7 and 10, and their families. Now in their 30s, they tell the story of how they were sexually abused by Jackson, and how they came to terms with it years later.”
According to a synopsis of the 236-minute film – which will be screened in two parts on Jan. 24 and 25 – the alleged victims tell “separate but parallel stories that echo one another.”
It reads: “Seduced by the singer’s fairy-tale existence and enthralled by their relationship with him, both boys' families were blind to the manipulation and abuse that he would ultimately subject them to.”
The subjects of the film have not yet been identified by name but they are believed to be James Safechuck, 40, and Wade Robson, 36.
Safechuck was befriended by Jackson after they appeared together in a Pepsi commercial in 1988. He has alleged that he was molested by the pop star more than 100 times when he was between 10 and 14 years old.
In a statement, the King of Pop’s estate denounced the documentary as “yet another lurid production in an outrageous and pathetic attempt to exploit and cash in on Michael Jackson.
“Wade Robson and James Safechuck have both testified under oath that Michael never did anything inappropriate toward them. 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.”
The statement added: “This so called ‘documentary’ is just another rehash of dated and discredited allegations.”
Jackson, who died in 2009, was acquitted of molesting Gavin Arvizo (who is 30 this year) after a 2005 trial, where prosecutors gave evidence that at least two other alleged victims had reached confidential settlements with the singer in the ‘90s.
Exactly 24 years ago this week, Jackson issued a statement after there were reports of the existence of a 27-minute video showed him in a sexual encounter with a 13-year-old boy.
“Enough is enough! I will no longer stand by and watch reckless members of the media try to destroy my reputation,” Jackson said. “I intend to protect myself and my family.”