Michael Jackson abused me in a bedroom with 'do not disturb' sign at Neverland, alleged victim claims
'Leaving Neverland' director Dan Reed says he aims to inspire sex abuse victims to come out with their stories after watching the new documentary
'Leaving Neverland' director Dan Reed has compared the late Michael Jackson to shamed TV host and serial abuser Jimmy Savile, saying there are parallels between the two men in their actions.
The Channel 4 and HBO documentary, which premiered at Sundance Film Festival on January 25, 2019 and slated for broadcast in the UK and US in March, has revived the allegations of child sexual abuse against Jackson, who died in 2009.
According to the filmmaker, the 'Billie Jean' singer had "at least a dozen" child victims during his career, with many waiting to speak out.
Featuring several stories involving alleged abuse by the music icon, with one of the victims even claiming he was abused by Jackson in a bedroom with a "do not disturb" sign, the director said 'Leaving Neverland' aims to "inspire" victims of sexual abuse to come out with their stories.
According to Reed, Jacko's legacy will be shattered when people watch the documentary next week, just like that of shamed TV host and serial abuser Savile, Mirror reports.
Saville committed a series of sex crimes throughout his 50-year career, with his alleged victims ranging from prepubescent girls and boys to adults. A formal criminal investigation into his offenses undertaken by London's Metropolitan Police Service in 2012 — a year after Savile's death — found over 450 victims, aged 5 to 75, who alleged abuse by Savile in various NHS hospitals across the UK.
“I can absolutely see a comparison with Jimmy Savile," Reed told the Mirror. "The whole Savile story broke before I began work on this film and I had it very much in mind when I set out, how somebody as celebrated as Savile can turn out to be a brutal child rapist. And it takes one victim to come out and to be believed, I know there were attempts to suppress that story as well."
"Everybody looked the other way. And that’s what’s been happening with Jackson as well," he continued. "One wonders how many people looked the other way? He was hiding in plain sight. He had this Peter Pan identity where he made it normal to sleep with little boys. Neverland was designed to lure little children. I think the film will open a lot of people’s eyes to the way child sexual abuse, this sort of grooming that Jackson practiced, how it all plays out," Reed added.
In the film, two alleged victims of Jackson, James Safechuck and Wade Robson, detail how they were abused by the star.
Having first met Jackson as a young model and actor, James worked with the 'Smooth Criminal' hitmaker in a 1988 Pepsi commercial. Soon, the pair became inseparable, and Jacko would often stay over at Safechuck's family residence. Soon after, the King of Pop met Wade, aged 5 at the time, after he won a dance competition in Australia.
The documentary features both describing in graphic detail how they were allegedly sexually abused at Jackson's Neverland ranch.
Robson, now a 36-year-old choreographer, says the legendary singer became close to him and his family before molesting him in a bedroom with a "do not disturb" sign at Neverland.
According to Robson, Jackson would force him to perform sex acts while his parents slept in a nearby room. Robson also spoke of how he was once forced to engage in sexual activity every night after being left to stay at Jackson's home for several days while his family traveled across America.
"He was one of the kindest, most gentle, loving, caring people I knew," Robson said of the star. "He helped me tremendously, he helped me with my career, he helped me with my creativity, with all of those sorts of things. And he also sexually abused me for seven years."
According to Reed, Jackson had "at least a dozen" child victims during his career, many of whom would speak out in the future.
“He was very manipulative and deliberate in his grooming and his sexual activities with these children that took place over many years," Reed said.
The filmmaker claims he wants to inspire victims of sexual abuse to come out and speak for themselves.
“My hope is that victims of child sexual abuse out there will see the courage with which James and Wade speak out, and how fearless they are in confronting a powerful abuser and will say, ‘If they can do it, I can'," he said.
Nonetheless, the legendary singer's estate has pushed back severely on the film, describing it as “a lurid production that is a pathetic attempt to cash in” on Jackson’s legacy.
In a letter written to Channel 4, lawyers representing the estate warned that the documentary violates their programming guidelines. However, the channel has denied such claims outright.
“Dan has ended the argument over whether Michael Jackson was a pedophile and given an insight into how families could be sucked into his celebrity," Channel 4 director of programmes Ian Katz said. "It is hard not to feel dismay that he was able to buy himself out of trouble. The way the Jackson estate have responded to this by seeking to discredit Wade and James is frankly despicable.”