Police are stepping up security at the Sundance Film Festival for Friday’s world premiere of controversial Michael Jackson documentary, Leaving Neverland.
The increased security comes in response to calls on social media for Jackson fans to protest the film about sexual abuse allegations against the late King of Pop.
“Tensions are higher for this movie than anything I’ve ever seen at Sundance before,” a law enforcement source told Deadline. “No one is going to be prevented from exercising their Constitutional rights, but we are not going to allow this to get out of hand.”
Police in Park City, Utah are said to be particularly concerned that protesters may try to get inside the screening and Q&A, to disrupt the gathering.
The 236-minute film centers on interviews with Wade Robson and James Safechuck, who claim they were befriended and then “sexually abused” by Jackson when they were children. Robson and Safechuck — now in their 30s — allege the abuse occurred when they were 7 and 10 years old.
Directed by BAFTA winner Dan Reed, Leaving Neverland is set to air on HBO and Britain’s Channel 4 in the spring.
Jackson’s estate has blasted the documentary as an “outrageous and pathetic attempt to exploit and cash in on” the music legend.
The Thriller performer was accused of molesting a 13-year-old boy in 2003, at his Neverland Ranch in Los Olivos, Calif. However, he was acquitted of all charges related to the allegations.