Dan Reed’s shocking new documentary on Michael Jackson and historical sexual abuse allegations against the late star will be available to view in the UK soon.
At its premiere at the Sundance Film Festival in Utah, journalists tweeted their disgust at the accusations made and its release has reportedly left Jackson’s daughter Paris utterly distraught suffering a meltdown.
The festival’s director informed the audience there were counsellors available afterwards for anyone distressed by the “explicit descriptions of sexual abuse” which come from two men who claim they were victims.
They recall alleged incidents which include being introduced to masturbation, oral sex and a “mock wedding” that they claim occurred when they were children aged seven and eight.
Jackson always denied allegations against him and in June 2005 was acquitted of child molestation.
Here’s what you need to know…
When is Leaving Neverland on TV?
James Safechuck (L) and Wade Robson (R) are interviewed in the documentary
The controversial documentary is expected to air in the UK on Channel 4 in the first week of March in two two-hour shows.
HBO are thought to be airing it around the same time.
The premiere was on January 25 in Utah at the Sundance Film Festival. Critics in the audience expressed their “disgust” at the details in Dan Reed’s film.
What is the documentary about?
Wade Robson with Michael Jackson in the 1980s
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The documentary features “gut wrenching” interviews with Wade Robson, 36, and James Safechuck, 40, who claim they were abused by Jackson from the ages of seven and eight respectively.
Their families also feature in the film that HBO said: “Documents the value of breaking silence, even when it implicates a powerful and revered figure.”
Filmmaker Dan Reed said in a statement: “If there’s anything we’ve learned during this time in our history, it’s that sexual abuse is complicated, and survivors’ voices need to be listened to.
“It took great courage for these two men to tell their stories and I have no question about their validity.
“I believe anyone who watches this film will see and feel the emotional toll on the men and their families and will appreciate the strength it takes to confront long-held secrets.”
What are the allegations made against Jackson?
James Safechuck (R) with Michael Jackson in 1988
(Image: Eugene Adebari/REX/Shutterstock)
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Robson, now an Australian choreographer, says he met the King of Pop in 1987 during a dance contest in Australia.
He claims Jackson introduced him to pornography and alcohol and would masturbate in front of him.
According to Robson, Jackson would send the boy "love notes” via a fax machine he bought for him – his mother backs him up in the documentary, claiming their living room was "covered in faxes”.
He says he lost touch with him when he “moved on” to other boys but reconnected in 1997 when Jackson met him in a Los Angeles hotel room and allegedly attempted to have anal sex with him.
Safechuck claims he met Jackson on the set of a Pepsi commercial when he was eight and says the molesting continued until he was 14.
His allegations include Jackson buying him lavish jewellery gifts as rewards for “sexual acts”, bought him a gold ring for a “mock wedding”, and introduced him to masturbation for the first time and that the singer performed oral sex on him while he slept.
Safechuck also claims he would have sex with the star in hidden places inside his Neverland mansion.
"It happened every day. It sounds sick, but when you’re first dating somebody, you do a lot of it,” he says.
James Safechuck, Michael Jackson and Liza Minnelli
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Both men testified on Jackson’s behalf in a civil lawsuit brought against him in 1993, but Safechuck now claims he just “did what I was told”.
Jackson was found not guilty on all charges in a 2005 trial on molestation of underage boys allegations.
Lawsuits filed from Robson and Safechuck were dismissed.
The Jackson estate have condemned the documentary calling it, “an outrageous and pathetic attempt to exploit and cash in on Michael Jackson”.
A statement said: “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.”