Following the Michael Jackson estate’s fiery denouncement of the film, several of the late singer’s family members are decrying the project — helmed by Dan Reed, who made 2014’s The Pedophile Hunters — on social media. Michael’s brother Jermaine called the film “defamation” and urged his fans to sign a petition so “this mendacious documentary” doesn’t see the light of day. And one of Michael’s nephews, Taj Jackson, said he’s considering fundraising for a documentary that “ends all the nonsense” once and for all.
Jermaine pointed to the petition — “End the Defamation of Michael Jackson & Pronounce His Innocence,” which is directed at Sundance, Robert Redford (Sundance’s founder) and Reed, among others — from his Facebook page, writing, “Michael’s innocence was proven by a court of law and a 10 year FBI investigation, this is legally considered defamation of character.” It’s gaining traction; over the last two days it’s received more than than 26,000 signatures.
A documentary titled “Leaving Neverland” is planned to be shown to 40,000 people at the Sundance Film Festival. The…
Taj, the son of Michael’s brother Tito and a performer himself, took to social media to blast Reed’s project — “I’m so tired of these lies about my uncle” — and discredit the accusers. They include choreographer Wade Robson, now 36, who filed a sexual abuse lawsuit against Jackson’s estate in 2013 claiming Jackson molested him when he was 7, and James Safechuck, who also sued the estate over sexual abuse claims. Both lawsuits were dismissed.
When someone suggested a Jackson-approved documentary, Taj jumped behind the idea. It wouldn’t be just “‘a’ documentary,” he wrote, but “‘the’ documentary that ends all this nonsense.”
He said he’s looking into crowdfunding options — despite any negative implications in doing so — from Jackson’s many fans around the world.
He added that he has “receipts” — aka alleged proof of his uncle’s innocence. By way of example, he shared an email Robson sent him asking to be admitted — with guests — to Michael’s memorial service in 2009.
He also retweeted a video of Robson dancing to one of Michael’s songs, supposedly in 2012, along with a claim that Robson was shopping a book about “his false allegations about Michael” before he went public with his accusations.
Taj said he wants to clear his uncle’s name now because, as a new dad, he’s “not letting my daughter grow up with these lies.”
And he asked people to be open-minded and to “seek the truth.”
Their sibling, Taryll, posted this, saying “love will always win” over “lies, greed and jealousy.”
Leaving Neverland will debut at the Sundance Film Festival later this month, and will then air on HBO this spring. The summary of the film, which is told in two two-hour segments, reads: “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.”
Robson spoke out about his allegations against Michael in a 2013 interview on the Today show:
In a statement to Yahoo on Thursday, Jackson’s estate said: “This is 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. 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.”