Michael Jackson’s property is talking out in opposition to a brand new documentary that alleges the late King of Pop sexually abused kids.
The movie titled Leaving Neverland, which is ready to premiere on the 2019 Sundance Movie Competition on Jan. 25, is described on the competition web site as telling the story of two males, now of their 30s, who “befriended” Jackson on the ages of seven and 10. All through their “long-running relationships” with the singer, the lads declare he “sexually abused” and “manipulated” them.
Whereas the names of the 2 males featured within the movie haven’t been made public, Jackson’s property known as out Wade Robson and James Safechuck in an announcement obtained by PEOPLE on Thursday.
“That is one more lurid manufacturing in an outrageous and pathetic try to take advantage of and money in on Michael Jackson,” the assertion reads. “Wade Robson and James Safechuck have each testified beneath oath that Michael by no means did something inappropriate towards them. Safechuck and Robson, the latter a self-proclaimed ‘grasp of deception’, filed lawsuits in opposition to Michael’s Property, asking for tens of millions of . Each lawsuits have been dismissed.”
“This so known as ‘documentary’ is simply one other rehash of dated and discredited allegations,” the assertion continues. “It’s baffling why any credible filmmaker would contain himself with this challenge.”
Neither Robson and Safechuck have launched an announcement about whether or not they’re, in reality, the lads featured within the movie.
In 2017, a California choose dismissed Robson’s case in opposition to Jackson’s property and two corporations it controls, MJJ Productions and MJJ Ventures, and dominated that it’s not responsible for Jackson’s alleged childhood sexual abuse of the superstar choreographer.
Robson first sued in 2013, claiming that Jackson abused him for almost a decade. He later mentioned in an amended grievance to his 2013 lawsuit that MJJ Productions and MJJ Ventures have been operations “particularly designed to find, entice, lure and seduce youngster sexual abuse victims.” A probate court docket in 2015 rejected his declare in opposition to the property itself, which left the 2 enterprise entities as defendants.
On the time of the ruling, Jackson’s property mentioned in an announcement, “For my part Mr. Robson’s allegations, made 20 plus years after they supposedly occurred and years after Mr. Robson testified twice beneath oath — together with in entrance of a jury — that Michael Jackson had by no means performed something flawed to him have been all the time concerning the cash fairly than a seek for the reality.”
Robson mentioned he first met Jackson when he was 5 years previous after successful a contest run by MJJ Productions in his native Australia. Two years later, his household was invited to remain at Jackson’s Neverland Ranch house in California, the place he claims he slept in Jackson’s mattress and mentioned he was first sexually abused by him.
He claimed the abuse continued for seven years and ended solely when he “started displaying indicators of puberty” and Jackson was “not as all for him sexually.”
Robson had beforehand appeared as a witness for Jackson’s protection throughout a separate sexual abuse trial in 2005 during which the pop star was acquitted of kid molestation fees.
In 2014, Safechuck, then in his 30s, claimed he was sexually abused by the singer when he was 10 years previous after showing in a Pepsi industrial with him.
Safechuck claimed in court docket papers that after a number of visits to Jackson’s house (a few of which have been chaperoned by his dad and mom) and several other all-expense-paid cross-country journeys, he joined Jackson on his Dangerous tour, which is when he alleged the primary incident of sexual abuse occurred.
On Thursday, Deadline reported that HBO and the UK’s Channel four additionally plan to air the documentary — which is directed by The Paedophile Hunter’s Dan Reed — after it’s debut at Sundance.
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In Could, Jackson’s property sued The Walt Disney Firm and ABC for copyright infringement after they aired their prime time particular The Final Days of Michael Jackson, which investigated Jackson’s troubled life from his younger rise to fame to his decline into habit and debt in his later years.
The property claimed ABC used a plethora of copyrighted supplies with out permission, from his hits (“Billie Jean,” “Beat It”) and clips of music movies (“Thriller,” “Dangerous”) to stay live performance footage, a portion of the 2016 Spike Lee documentary Michael Jackson’s Journey from Motown to Off the Wall and the 2009 documentary Michael Jackson’s This Is It.
An ABC Information spokesperson advised PEOPLE on the time, “We’ve not but had a chance to evaluate the grievance. The ABC Information’ documentary explored the life, profession and legacy of Michael Jackson, who stays of nice curiosity to individuals worldwide, and didn’t infringe on his property’s rights.”
Earlier than the documentary aired, Jackson’s property slammed the piece in an announcement: “We consider the particular to be one other crass and unauthorized try to take advantage of the life, music and picture of Michael Jackson with out respect for Michael’s legacy, mental property rights or his kids.”