'Leaving Neverland' director slams Michael Jackson fans who still think he was innocent
The director of the HBO documentary Leaving Neverland has slammed people who don't think that Michael Jackson was guilty of abusing children as 'truthers'.
Dan Reed directed the controversial doc, which focuses on the stories of Wade Robson and James Safechuck as friends of the so-called King of Pop, details the level of manipulation and subterfuge Jackson (who died in 2009 at the age of 50) would allegedly use to groom the boys, and has led to immense debate online.
In the weeks following the documentary's airing, fans have taken to protest Leaving Neverland and defend Michael Jackson. But Reed took to Channel Seven's Morning Show earlier this week to refute claims that the abuse allegations were fabricated and that Michael Jackson was being falsely accused.
In his refutation, Reed slammed the idea that he had been making up the allegations or that the documentary was one-sided, explaining that he had spoken to several figures in law enforcement in order to verify his theory, and seemed confident that he had done the due diligence in accusing Michael Jackson of abuse.
Pointing out that "facts don't lie, pedophiles do", Reed says that he had started filming for the documentary with an open mind, but by the time production had wrapped, he was in no doubt about Jackson's guilt - even though he was acquitted of the very same crime back in the year 2005.
"I didn’t approach this in a naive way. I listened very carefully to days and days and days of interview, then we went and did about 18 months of research and checked everything we could and tried to poke holes in Wade and James’ accounts."
"We didn’t find anything that cast any doubt on their accounts — on the contrary, we found a lot of corroborating evidence," Reed added, saying that he even went to police officers to verify the claims, so determined was he to find out the truth.
"I interviewed the police investigators and the sheriff’s department investigators who were part of looking into Michael Jackson’s background, and none of them had any doubts at all about his guilt."
Reed also says that the most upsetting part of the documentary for him came from Wade Robson, one of the men featured in the documentary that was allegedly abused by Michael Jackson, who explains how he fell in love with the singer as a seven-year-old boy.
"As a parent you think wait a minute, that can’t be right, surely sexual abuse is something that the child experiences as unpleasant, as painful, as difficult.
But in fact what I began to realise was that the seduction that Michael Jackson inflicted on these children was kind of part and parcel of all the affection and tenderness and attention that he was giving them...
In fact what you realise is that a proper grooming paedophile, which is what Jackson was, will just sort of gently ingratiate his way both into the family, but also into the child’s affections."
Finally, Dan Reed spoke about the impact the allegations have had on the Jackson family. Last week, Michael Jackson's 20-year-old daughter Paris Jackson was forced to slam reports that she had attempted suicide, and Reed admits he agonised about the impact his documentary could have, saying he was "of course worried".
"The politics of the Jackson clan is very complicated and this supposed attempted suicide of Paris, which she has immediately denied, that’s very puzzling. I don’t know what’s going on there.
Jackson’s children had nothing to do with the sexual abuse and of course they’re upset that their dad is being accused of all this stuff. But these allegations have been around for decades now and they won’t come as any surprise to the kids."
"I feel for them, I wish them the very best, but the truth must come out because I think this is an important story," Leaving Neverland director Dan Reed added.