Michael Jackson's estate issues fiery statement about upcoming sex abuse documentary

Suzy Byrne
Editor, Yahoo Entertainment

Michael Jackson’s estate is blasting a new documentary focusing on sexual abuse claims it says are “dated” and have already been “discredited.”

Set to premiere at the Sundance Film Festival in Park City, Utah, later in January, Leaving Neverland is about the life of two boys, now in their 30s, who accused the singer of abuse.

Michael Jackson, pictured in 2009, is the subject of a new documentary that will premiere at the Sundance Film Festival. His estate is already denouncing the content of the film, which features accusations of sexual abuse. (Photo: Carl De Souza/AFP/Getty Images)

Following the announcement on Wednesday, Jackson’s estate released a statement to Yahoo saying, “This is yet another lurid production in an outrageous and pathetic attempt to exploit and cash in on Michael Jackson.”

It added that the “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.”

On Thursday, many of Jackson’s fans were speaking out against it.

But others think it should be seen, especially in light of of the #MeToo movement.

The summary of the film, produced and directed by BAFTA-winning director Dan Reed, 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.”

The names of the two accusers have not been released, but the estate believes they are Wade Robson and James Safechuck, who, the estate noted, “both testified under oath that Michael never did anything inappropriate toward them.”

Jackson, who maintained his innocence, was acquitted of molestation charges in 2005. He died 10 years ago this June.

The Sundance Film Festival kicks off on Jan. 24 and runs through Feb. 3. Also in the Sundance documentary lineup is Untouchable, the inside story of the “meteoric rise and monstrous fall” of Harvey Weinstein. Leaving Neverland will then air on HBO this spring — and on Channel 4 in the U.K.

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