Michael Jackson’s estate slams Documentary alleging sexually abuse of children
Michael Jackson’s estate is speaking out against a new documentary that alleges the late King of Pop sexually abused children, reported by The People.
The film titled Leaving Neverland, which is set to premiere at the 2019 Sundance Film Festival on Jan. 25, is described on the festival website as telling the story of two men, now in their 30s, who “befriended” Jackson at the ages of 7 and 10. Throughout their “long-running relationships” with the singer, the men claim he “sexually abused” and “manipulated” them.
While the names of the two men featured in the film have not been made public, Jackson’s estate called out Wade Robson and James Safechuck in a statement obtained by PEOPLE on Thursday.
“This is yet another lurid production in an outrageous and pathetic attempt to exploit and cash in on Michael Jackson,” the statement reads. “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,” the statement continues. “It’s baffling why any credible filmmaker would involve himself with this project.”
Neither Robson and Safechuck have released a statement about whether they are, in fact, the men featured in the film.
In 2017, a California judge dismissed Robson’s case against Jackson’s estate and two companies it controls, MJJ Productions and MJJ Ventures, and ruled that it is not liable for Jackson’s alleged childhood sexual abuse of the celebrity choreographer.
Robson first sued in 2013, claiming that Jackson abused him for nearly a decade. He later said in an amended complaint to his 2013 lawsuit that MJJ Productions and MJJ Ventures were operations “specifically designed to locate, attract, lure and seduce child sexual abuse victims.” A probate court in 2015 rejected his claim against the estate itself, which left the two business entities as defendants.
At the time of the ruling, Jackson’s estate said in a statement, “In my opinion Mr. Robson’s allegations, made 20 plus years after they supposedly occurred and years after Mr. Robson testified twice under oath — including in front of a jury — that Michael Jackson had never done anything wrong to him were always about the money rather than a search for the truth.”
Robson said he first met Jackson when he was 5 years old after winning a competition run by MJJ Productions in his native Australia. Two years later, his family was invited to stay at Jackson’s Neverland Ranch home in California, where he claims he slept in Jackson’s bed and said he was first sexually abused by him.
He claimed the abuse continued for seven years and ended only when he “began showing signs of puberty” and Jackson was “no longer as interested in him sexually.”
Robson had previously appeared as a witness for Jackson’s defense during a separate sexual abuse trial in 2005 in which the pop star was acquitted of child molestation charges.
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