Michael Jackson estate attacks 'lurid' documentary

By: Linda Safoa Antwi
Michael Jackson documentary
Michael Jackson
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MICHAEL Jackson's estate has criticised a documentary alleging the late pop star sexually abused children. Leaving Neverland will premiere at the Sundance Film Festival this month and includes interviews with two alleged victims of Jackson.

Representatives for Jackson's estate have responded in a statement.

"This is yet another lurid production in an outrageous and pathetic attempt to exploit and cash in on Michael Jackson," it said.

Two men who appear in the film say they were aged seven and 10 when Jackson befriended them and their families.

Now in their 30s, they allege they were sexually abused by the late singer.

Police raided Jackson's Neverland Ranch in California - referenced in the film's title - in 2003 while investigating allegations Jackson had molested a 13-year-old boy.

'Power of celebrity'

The case went to trial and Jackson was acquitted of all charges in 2005.

The synopsis for the documentary reads: "Through gut-wrenching interviews with the now-adult men and their families, Leaving Neverland crafts a portrait of sustained exploitation and deception, documenting the power of celebrity that allowed a revered figure to infiltrate the lives of starstruck children and their parents."

The two-part film is directed by Dan Reed, who is also behind documentaries including The Valley, Terror in Mumbai and The Paedophile Hunter.

It will debut at Sundance in Utah on 25 and 26 January and will be shown on Channel 4 in Spring 2019.

The film is a co-production between Channel 4, HBO and Reed, and will be shown in two two-hour broadcasts on consecutive nights in the UK.

Channel 4 told the BBC the film had "been in the pipeline for a few years".

Jackson died on 25 June 2009 aged 50 after receiving a lethal dose of the anaesthetic propofol.

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