Leaving Neverland director slams new Michael Jackson biopic which will 'glorify ... trends now
The director of the Michael Jackson documentary Leaving Neverland has slammed the makers of the new blockbuster biopic to begin filming this year, claiming it will glorify a man who 'raped children'.
Writing for The Guardian, Dan Reed asked why Hollywood and the media wasn't outraged by the notion of a movie about the star, who has long been the subject of abuse allegations.
Reed's 2019 documentary, Leaving Neverland, gave a platform to two of Jackson's accusers, Wade Robson and James Safechuck, who say the late singer abused them as children.
The four-hour documentary was ferociously contested by the Jackson family, who called it a 'public lynching' of a man who was acquitted of child molestation charges in 2005.
The family is onboard with Michael, the new biopic which will begin filming later this year and which will star Jackson's nephew, Jaafar Jackson.
Michael Jackson is shown leaving court in Santa Barbara in 2005 while on trial for child molestation
It is to be directed by Antoine Fuqua, who said Jackson's 'musical genius and charisma' shaped his 'worldview'.
Reed is demanding to know whether the film will gloss over the allegations of pedophilia that dogged the singer until his 2009 death, and which have lingered over his memory.
'In an era when full-throated outrage accompanies anything that smells of delegitimization or insensitivity against a vulnerable group, it amounts to a deafening silence.
'No one is talking about “cancelling” this movie, which will glorify a man who raped children,' Reed wrote.
'How will you represent the moment when Jackson, a grown man in his 30s, takes a child by the hand and leads him into that bedroom?
'How will you depict what happens next? By sidestepping the question of Jackson’s predilection for sleeping with young boys, you are broadcasting a message to millions of survivors of child sexual abuse.
'That message is: if a pedophile is rich and popular enough, society will forgive him.'
Jackson's 26-year-old nephew Jaafar has been cast to star in the movie. The Jackson estate has long denied the abuse allegations
Dan Reed (center) is the director of Leaving Neverland. The four hour documentary lays bare the allegations of Wade Robson (left) and James Safechuck (right), who both say they were raped by Jackson when they were boys
Production sources previously told Deadline that the Michael biopic will deal 'squarely' with the abuse allegations, and Lionsgate, which will distribute the film, has insisted it will deal with 'all aspects' of his life.
But Fuqua, whose past works include The Equalizer and Emancipation, is yet to confirm exactly how