Channel 4 has confirmed its intentions to air a controversial documentary about alleged abuse claims against Michael Jackson.
The channel has worked with HBO in America on the series called Leaving Neverland. Directed by Dan Reed, the two-part documentary will see two men who recount their experiences of being sexually abused by Michael Jackson.
A synopsis reads: “When allegations of abuse by Jackson involving young boys surfaced in 1993, many found it hard to believe that he could be guilty of such unspeakable acts.
“Leaving Neverland explores the experiences of two young boys, James Safechuck, at age ten, and Wade Robson, at age seven, who were both befriended by Jackson. They and their families were entranced by the singer’s fairy-tale existence as his career reached its peak.”
The estate of the late Michael Jackson have branded the allegations “dated” and and “discredited”.
They said in a statement to TMZ: “This is yet another lurid production in an outrageous and pathetic attempt to exploit and cash in on Michael Jackson.”
Speaking of his film, Director Dan Reed said: “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 air on Channel 4 in two parts at 9pm on Wednesday 6th and Thursday 7th March.
Tom Porter, Channel 4 Commissioning Editor, commented: “Dan Reed has succeeded in making an extraordinarily compelling, yet moving film about two men whose lives were changed forever by one of the most famous men who ever lived.
“Channel 4 is immensely proud to have commissioned this film and created the opportunity for James’ and Wade’s experiences to be so sensitively told.”
MAIN PIC CREDIT: Commons/Georges Biard