‘Leaving Neverland’ Director Says Upcoming Michael Jackson Biopic Will Celebrate a ‘Child Molester’

Michael Jackson is the subject of the film Leaving Neverland (Credit: Deposit Photos)

Dan Reed, the filmmaker behind HBO’s 2019 Michael Jackson documentary Leaving Neverland, wants to know why there’s been no public outrage over Lionsgate’s upcoming biopic on the King of Pop.

In an op-ed published Sunday in the UK’s Guardian, Reed expressed concern the authorized film will celebrate a “child molester.”

The British director also called out what he views as the “deafening silence” of media outlets over the biopic, and asked why “no one is talking about ‘cancelling’ this movie, which will glorify a man who raped children.”

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(L-R) Director Dan Reed, James Safechuck and Wade Robson attend "Leaving Neverland" screening in Park City, Utah on Jan. 25, 2019. (Credit: Matthew Carey)
(L-R) Dan Reed is shown with Michael Jackson accusers James Safechuck and Wade Robson at a “Leaving Neverland” screening on Jan. 25, 2019. (Credit: Matthew Carey)

Reed noted that he made Leaving Neverland to “expose” Jackson and to show how children fall victim to sexual predators. Now four years after the release of his Emmy-winning film, the director accuses journalists and Jackson’s fans of turning a blind eye.

“What the total absence of outrage accompanying the announcement of this movie tells us is that Jackson’s seduction is still a living force, operating from beyond the grave,” Reed writes. “It seems that the press, his fans and the vast older demographic who grew up loving Jackson are willing to set aside his unhealthy relationship with children and just go along with the music.”

The director wants the media to take a closer look at the allegations surrounding Jackson before his death in 2009.

“Even if you do not believe a word of what his many accusers have said; even if you are not concerned by the police investigations and the massive payouts to halt legal proceedings, how do you explain the completely uncontested fact that for years Jackson spent innumerable nights alone in bed with young boys? What was he doing with them, alone in his Neverland bedroom, with alarm bells in the corridor? That cannot be acceptable by any measure,” Reed says.

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Leaving Neverland will premiere at the 2019 Sundance Film Festival. (Credit: Amos Pictures)
Leaving Neverland (Credit: HBO/Amos Pictures)

Lionsgate announced the biopic titled Michael last month. Emancipation filmmaker Antoine Fuqua has signed on to direct the movie. Graham King (Bohemian Rhapsody) is producing, and John Logan (Skyfall) wrote the script. The movie is being made in collaboration with John Branca and John McClain, co-executors of Jackson’s estate.

The team behind the biopic has said the movie will address all aspects of Jackson’s life. But Reed doubts that will be the case with the singer’s estate involved in the project.

“To the film-makers, I say: 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?” he writes. “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 paedophile is rich and popular enough, society will forgive him.”

Jackson was accused of molesting a 13-year-old boy in 2003, at his Neverland Ranch in Los Olivos, Calif. He was acquitted of all charges related to the allegations.

Leaving Neverland alleged the singer was a sexual predator who groomed young boys, and repeatedly molested them at his Neverland Ranch.

The film centered on interviews with Wade Robson and James Safechuck, who said they were befriended and then “sexually abused” by Jackson when they were children.

Robson and Safechuck — now adults — alleged the abuse occurred when they were 7 and 10 years old. Robson met Jackson after winning a dance competition during the singer’s 1987 Bad tour in Australia. Robson went on to become a sought after choreographer and worked with Britney Spears and NSYNC. Safechuck, who later became a computer programmer, was a child actor who appeared with Jackson in a Pepsi commercial.

Jackson’s estate blasted Leaving Neverland as an “outrageous and pathetic attempt to exploit and cash in on” the music legend.