Two men that testified under oath years ago in Michael Jackson’s defense are now the centerpieces of an upcoming two-part documentary in which they reportedly accuse the King of Pop of sexual abuse. It’s something Jackson’s estate called “outrageous and pathetic.”
E! News reports that the new documentary, “Leaving Neverland,” is slated to premiere at the upcoming Sundance Film Festival in Salt Lake City, on January 25 at the Egyptian Theatre. According to the festival, the film allows two alleged victims, now in their 30s’ who knew Jackson as children, to “tell the story of how they were sexually abused by Jackson.”
Although Sundance didn’t specifically name the two men appearing in the film, Jackson’s estate addressed the men by their names in a statement released about the film.
“This is yet another lurid production in an outrageous and pathetic attempt to exploit and cash in on Michael Jackson,” the estate told E! News. “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.”
“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.”
As CrimeOnline previously reported, a California judge dismissed a lawsuit last year against Jackson’s estate, brought about by Robson, who claimed the King of Pop molested him when he was a child.
Robson met Jackson in 1987 after the then-child dancer won a dance contest in Australia. Robson and his mother later moved to the U.S., where he studied under Jackson and became close friends with the pop star. Decades later, Robson claimed that Jackson sexually assaulted him as a child.
Robson was a key witness for the defense in Jackson’s 2005 child molestation trial. Jackson was ultimately acquitted of all charges after the 14-week trial, The New York Times reports.
“In my opinion Mr. Robson’s allegations, made twenty plus years after they supposedly occurred and years after Mr. Robson testified twice under oath — including in front of a jury — that Michael Jackson had never done anything wrong to him were always about the money rather than a search for the truth,” lawyer of Jackson’s businesses, Howard Weitzman, said.
Robson filed the initial sexual assault lawsuit against Jackson in 2013, four years after the Thriller singer passed away. In 2015, a judge tossed out the lawsuit, telling Robson it was too late.
Safechuck, who was in a 1987 Pepsi commercial and later accompanied Jackson on his Bad tour, also filed two separate lawsuit against Jackson and his companies, both of which were dismissed. Safe filed the first suit against Jackson in 2014, which was subsequently thrown out after he waited decades to file, surpassing the statute of limitations.
The former child star claimed that sexual abuse happened between 1988 and 1992. Safechuck said that as he grew older and reached puberty, he became a “throwaway” to Jackson, who reportedly abruptly stopped contacting him. Yet, a photo surfaced in 2016 that showed Safechuck hanging out with Jackson in 1994, while in Budapest. Safechuck would have been around 16 at the time.
Safechuck filed an amended lawsuit against MJJ Ventures, Inc., and MJJ Productions, Inc. in 2016, which was thrown out after Los Angeles judge Mitchell Beckloff indicated that Safechuck “filed his action 10 years too late, and his action is barred by the statute of limitations,” according to Radar Online.
The judge also noted that Safechuck contradicted himself in the suit.
“A legal duty exists only where there is a special relationship AND some ability to control the perpetrator. While plaintiff has alleged the defendant entities had the ability to control Michael Jackson, other allegations and admissions by plaintiff directly contradict these allegations, eviscerating that claim.”
Safechuck v MJJ-Second Amen… by on Scribd
Both men claimed they didn’t come forward until years later, after therapists and psychiatrists helped them realize they were abused.
According to Pitchfork, “Leaving Neverland” will air on HBO and Channel 4 in the U.K., following the Sundance premiere.
The story continues to develop. Check back with CrimeOnline as additional details become available.
[Feature Photo: Michael Jackson via AP/Cliff Schiappa, File]