Taj Jackson, Michael Jackson’s nephew, is coming forth with his own documentary about his uncle’s life after ‘Leaving Neverland’ reinforces child abuse.
Leaving Neverland premiered this weekend at the 2019 Sundance Film Festival. The documentary focuses on Wade Robson and James Safechuck’s accusations against Jackson. Dan Reed directed the documentary. The three received a standing ovation from a packed crowd after the four-hour film was shown at the Egyptian Theatre in Park City.
The Daily Beast’s Kevin Fallon tweeted, “On a 10-min break halfway through Sundance’s 4-hour Michael Jackson child sex abuse documentary. Whatever you thought you knew or were aware of, the content of this is more disturbing than you could imagine. And again, we’re only halfway through.”
Film critic David Erlich wrote, “It’s halftime at the four-hour Michael Jackson doc and I’m already gonna need 400 showers to ever feel clean again. #Sundance.”
Los Angeles Times Amy Kaufman said there was an “incredibly emotional reaction from the audience.” She tweeted, “One audience member says he was molested as a child and that Robson and Safechuck ‘are going to do a lot more f**king good in the world than Michael f**king Jackson.”
Jackson’s estate said in a statement earlier this month, “This is yet another lurid production in an outrageous and pathetic attempt to exploit and cash in on Michael Jackson. 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.”
In 2005, Robson testified in Jackson’s defense but said that it took two nervous breakdowns and therapy as an adult for him to understand what had happened. He added, “I don’t feel that like there is anything I need to say to them except that I understand that it is really hard or them to believe. Even though it happened to me, I still couldn’t believe it and I couldn’t believe that what Michael did was a bad thing, so I understand.”
Safechuck told the audience after the film’s premiere that “there was no money ever offered” for his and Robson’s participation in the film. He added that he wanted to shine a light on sexual abuse.
Jackson’s nephew Taj Jackson took offense to the documentary and the reactions to it and tweeted out a number of opinions on the film. He wrote, “After years of coaching and studying for these roles, I’m sure Wade (self-proclaimed “Master of Deception”) and Jimmy both gave Oscar-winning performances today. Media, please do a 10-minute google search before you condemn an innocent man who is no longer here to defend himself.”
Jackson also set up a Go Fund Me, which details that he is going to use the raised money to make his own documentary on his uncle’s life, detailing the true facts. Jackson also revealed that as a sexual abuse victim, he could understand the experiences of victims. He felt these were salacious rumors meant to discredit his uncle.
Leaving Neverland will premiere on HBO this spring.