Michael Jackson’s estate is not pleased about a new documentary detailing sexual abuse allegations against the King of Pop.
The estate released a strongly-worded message Thursday in response to Leaving Neverland, a film set to premiere at the Sundance Film Festival on Friday, Jan. 25. The statement accused the documentary’s main accusers — Wade Robson and James Safechuck — of exploiting the late singer for profit.
Robson and Safechuck — now in their 30s — both claim that Jackson “sexually abused” them when they were 7 and 10, allegations they elaborate on in the documentary.
Additionally, Leaving Neverland promises to craft “a portrait of sustained exploitation and deception, documenting the power of celebrity that allowed a revered figure to infiltrate the lives of starstruck children and their parents.”
The music legend’s estate, however, calls the accusers’ claims “pathetic.”
“This is yet another lurid production in an outrageous and pathetic attempt to exploit and cash in on Michael Jackson,” the statement to People reads.
The message continues: “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 concludes. “It’s baffling why any credible filmmaker would involve himself with this project.”
“I’m so tired of these lies about my uncle. MJfam, I see all your comments and messages about wanting to fight back,” he wrote. “I doubt the media wants to learn the truth or is even interested in it. Negativity sells. But please post below on what we all can do to expose this documentary.”
I’m so tired of these lies about my uncle. MJfam, I see all your comments and messages about wanting to fight back. I doubt the media wants to learn the truth or is even interested in it. Negativity sells. But please post below on what we all can do to expose this documentary.
— Taj Jackson (@tajjackson3) January 10, 2019
Jackson was accused of molestation by a 13-year-old boy in 2003, during his last year spent at his Neverland Ranch in Los Olivos, Calif.
After a highly publicized trial, the late entertainer was acquitted of all charges related to the allegations in June 2005.
Leaving Neverland — directed by BAFTA winner Dan Reed — will air on Britain’s Channel 4 and HBO in spring 2019.