The man behind the damning new Michael Jackson child abuse documentary was sceptical when he first started interviewing the alleged victims, because one had testified that the King of Pop never touched him.
Producer and director Dan Reed sat down with Wade Robson and James Safechuck before committing to his latest film, Leaving Neverland, because he wanted to make sure the two men could be believed.
“I’ve been making documentaries for 30 years so I don’t pitch up and take everyone at face value,” Reed told Today on Friday (01Mar19). “You have to remain sceptical while listening very carefully to what people have to say, and once I’d interviewed Wade and James… I then went and tried to find anything in the record of the investigations of 1993 and 2003 to 2005… that would contradict or undermine their stories, and I couldn’t find anything.”
Reed also dismissed reports suggesting the stars of his documentary were well compensated for telling their stories.
“There was no financial interest (in the film) whatsoever,” he added, insisting critics who claim the film will help their appeals against the Jackson estate are grasping at straws.
“It’s a bit of a long shot, isn’t it?” the filmmaker said. “It (film) is about money, but it’s about the Jackson estate’s money, it’s about protecting an asset that would be at risk if people believed the claim.”
Oprah Winfrey has also jumped on the drama following the upcoming TV movie’s premiere at the Sundance Film Festival in Utah and recently sat down for an interview with Reed and his stars for a special, which will air next week (beg04Mar19).
A survivor of childhood sexual abuse herself, Winfrey taped the chat on Wednesday and quizzed Robson and Safechuck about why they continued to associate with Jackson after the alleged abuse occurred, reminding Robson he testified on Jackson’s behalf during his 2005 child molestation trial.
“I had no understanding of being abused,” the accuser said. “I loved Michael and all the times that I testified and the many, many times that I gushed over him publicly in interviews over wherever it may be, that was from a real place, while never forgetting any of the sexual details that happened between us, but having no understanding that it was abuse, and having no concept in my mind that anything about Michael could ever be bad. Anything that Michael did was right, to me, for so many years.”
Robson and Safechuck have both explained they came forward with their allegations after becoming fathers and realising that they would never want what happened to them to happen to their kids.
Leaving Neverland airs on HBO this weekend.