Hollywood Elsewhere will attend the Sundance premiere of Dan Reed‘s Leaving Neverland, a four-hour doc about the experience of two men — James Safechuck and Wade Robson — who’ve claimed to have been molested by the late Michael Jackson as minors. The Channel 4 doc (technically a pair of two-hour docs) was added yesterday to the Sundance ’19 lineup.
Jackson’s Santa Barbara sexual molestation trial of ’04 and ’05 didn’t involve Safechuck and Robson but Gavin Arvizo, who’s now 29.
Portion of a statement from the Jackson estate: “This is yet another lurid production in an outrageous and pathetic attempt to exploit and cash in on Michael Jackson. 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.”
Statement from Reed: “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.”
Leaving Neverland will pop on HBO sometime this spring.
As mentioned, Hollywood Elsewhere will be operating on God’s good humor and the kindness of publicist pals during the 2019 Sundance Film Festival. I’ve been told I’m definitely good for several films (Neverland included) so things seem to be working out. If only I’d managed to be more “woke” over the last two or three years I would have my usual press pass and things would be less complicated.