Michael Jackson's nephew slams 'Leaving Neverland', calling it one-sided
Late American singer Michael Jackson's family is speaking out against the recently released documentary 'Leaving Neverland' which premiered at the Sundance Film Festival on Friday.
The film which will air on HBO this spring focuses on claims from James Safechuck and Wade Robson, both of whom shared that they endured years of Jackson's inappropriate behaviour, sexual abuse and manipulation, reported People.
Taj took to his Twitter to speak out against the documentary and wrote, "My family and I have known Wade and his family since he came to America. Don’t tell me a 4-hour one-sided hit job that you watched is more reputable than people who actually knew him and saw his interactions. This is all about money and the desperate need to be relevant again."
The previous day, Taj stated that Robson and Safechuck were "acting" in the film and criticised the media for "condemning an innocent man."
"After years of coaching and studying for these roles, I’m sure Wade (self proclaimed “Master of Deception”) and Jimmy both gave Oscar-winning performances today. Media, please do a 10 minute google search before you condemn an innocent man who is no longer here to defend himself." he wrote in a tweet.
Taj has also created a GoFundMe page in support of his late uncle, to create a new documentary, which plans to "conclusively destroy decades of salacious myths which have been told and sold about Michael Jackson." It has since then raised over USD 28,000 of its USD 777,000 goal.
In a statement to People, Jackson’s estate has also spoken out against the film, claiming it to be a "tabloid character assassination."
"Leaving Neverland isn’t a documentary, it is the kind of tabloid character assassination Michael Jackson endured in life, and now in death. The film takes uncorroborated allegations that supposedly happened 20 years ago and treats them as fact. These claims were the basis of lawsuits filed by these two admitted liars which were ultimately dismissed by a judge," Jackson estate said in the statement.
"The two accusers testified under oath that these events never occurred. They have provided no independent evidence and absolutely no proof in support of their accusations, which means the entire film hinges solely on the word of two perjurers," the estate added.
Also blaming the director of the film, Dan Reed, the estate said, "Tellingly, the director admitted at the Sundance Film Festival that he limited his interviews only to these accusers and their families. In doing so, he intentionally avoided interviewing numerous people over the years who spent significant time with Michael Jackson and have unambiguously stated that he treated children with respect and did nothing hurtful to them."
Prior to the film’s premiere at the festival, police officers guarded the theatre to look after any potential protests and healthcare professionals were also present, to offer support to any audience members who were upset by the documentary’s content, according to Variety.
The film was only halfway through when viewers began sharing their thoughts on the allegations. Critics who attended the screening later wrote early Twitter reviews. However, fans of the late singer defended him, expressing their views on Twitter.
Despite the reactions from viewers, family, and fans alike, Robson and Safechuck, reportedly received a standing ovation at Sundance for the documentary which was directed by filmmaker Dan Reed, according to TMZ.