“Michael always turned the other cheek, and we have always turned the other cheek when people have gone after members of our family – that is the Jackson way,” said the family in their latest statement over the film that alleges the singer repeatedly sexually abused Wade Robson and James Safechuck when they were ages 7 and 10.
“But we can’t just stand by while this public lynching goes on, and the vulture tweeters and others who never met Michael go after him,” the statement adds in provocative language. “Michael is not here to defend himself, otherwise these allegations would not have been made. “ (Read the full statement from the Jackson family below)
With a far less protesters than anticipated, increased security and a distinct show of force from the police, the two-part Dan Reed directed film premiered on the morning January 25 at Park City’s Egyptian Theatre. Along with the director, Robson and James received a standing ovation when they took to the stage after an incident free screening.
A Salt Lake City premiere of Leaving Neverland took place the next day and attracted about eight protesters in total under the watchful eye of the Utah city’s law enforcement.
However, sight unseen, almost immediately after it was made public in early January that Leaving Neverland would have it’s world debut at the Robert Redford founded fest at Sundance, Jackson’s family and fans have condemned the documentary.
Many noted that during Jackson’s 2005 trial on other sexual abuse charges, Robson sworn under oath that the singer never acted inappropriately with him. In an unsuccessful multi-million dollar 2016 lawsuit, which is examined in Leaving Neverland, Robson changed his story and said that the performer was a serial sexual predator who assaulted him repeatedly for years.
There’s been no new legal action by either side yet, but representatives for the estate of Jackson — who died in 2009, four years after being acquitted of seven counts of child molestation and two counts of giving a drug to a 13-year-old boy — trashed Neverland in early January as “just another rehash of dated and discredited allegations.”
On January 26, after both the SFF Park City and SLC screening had occurred, the estate declared that Leaving Neverland isn’t a documentary, it is the kind of tabloid character assassination Michael Jackson endured in life, and now in death.”
Based on that, today’s statement from the family and the reception that the film has received from critics and most who’ve actually seen it, it looks like a new battle over Jackson’s life and legacy is about to explode – in the court of public opinion and otherwise.
Statement from the family of Michael Jackson:
Michael Jackson is our brother and son. We are furious that the media, who without a shred of proof or single piece of physical evidence, chose to believe the word of two admitted liars over the word of hundreds of families and friends around the world who spent time with Michael, many at Neverland, and experienced his legendary kindness and global generosity. We are proud of what Michael Jackson stands for.
People have always loved to go after Michael. He was an easy target because he was unique. But Michael was subjected to a thorough investigation which included a surprise raid of Neverland and other properties as well as a jury trial where Michael was found to be COMPLETELY INNOCENT. There has never been one piece of proof of anything. Yet the media is eager to believe these lies.
Michael always turned the other cheek, and we have always turned the other cheek when people have gone after members of our family – that is the Jackson way. But we can’t just stand by while this public lynching goes on, and the vulture tweeters and others who never met Michael go after him. Michael is not here to defend himself, otherwise these allegations would not have been made.
The creators of this film were not interested in the truth. They never interviewed a single solitary soul who knew Michael except the two perjurers and their families. That is not journalism, and it’s not fair, yet the media are perpetuating these stories.
But the truth is on our side. Go do your research about these opportunists. The facts don’t lie, people do. Michael Jackson was and always will be 100% innocent of these false allegations.
The Jackson Family