The Jackson Estate claims that the facts in 'Leaving Neverland' documentary just don't add up
Ever since Leaving Neverland first aired back in January, the documentary - and its subject, Michael Jackson - has been the subject of much discussion. Some people have come out against the film, which claims the so-called King of Pop was a child abuser; meanwhile, others have doubled down on the accusations, arguing that every word of the documentary is true.
For the entire time this debate has been waging, the Jackson Estate has maintained that MJ is innocent, and have also levelled a $100million lawsuit against HBO for their use of some of the footage in the documentary.
Now, the estate has spoken out once more - this time to say that some of the "facts" in Leaving Neverland simply do not add up to accounts of what actually happened.
In a 24-page PowerPoint document titled "Leaving Neverland and the Truth", which was handed over to Billboard, the estate "details ... dozens of examples in the documentary of bias, inconsistency and footage taken out of context."
One of the inconsistencies they mention is Wade Robson's claim that Jackson had invited him to sleep in his bed. In Robson's deposition on the matter, the estate notes, the former child dancer "makes clear that he and his sister were the ones who initiated the idea, and that Michael insisted they ask their parents."
Another incident of footage being "taken out of context" is a moment in which Jackson wishes Robson happy birthday, which the documentary apparently portrays as being "creepy" and "predatory". The estate argued that Jackson actually recorded many greetings like this one, and his treatment of Robson was not unique.
They also brought up an issue which Jackson's former lawyer, Mark Geragos, actually mentioned on Twitter: that footage of him was misrepresented to make it seem as if he was discrediting Jackson's accusers.
"The quotes are taken out of context and no effort was made to clarify," a representative for the estate said. "Much of this information is available online, and we have sent various pieces to the media, but no one has really been interested in reporting on it [or] digging further than the documentary."
Estate attorneys, Jonathan Steinsapir and Howard Weitzman, have also brought up specific criticism about an account given by Robson, in which he said that Jackson "looked upset" at a dinner the night before he was due to testify at his 2005 child molestation trial. According to claims from others who were present at the time, the dinner took place after Robson had given his testimony.
"That whole story is made-up fiction," the lawyers said. "It's hard to tell what the impact [of the documentary] will be. What is clear is people are drawing conclusions without knowing all the facts. They're depending on a documentary that we know is not completely accurate."
In response to this, Vince Finaldi, Wade Robson and James Safechuck's attorney, explained that misremembering small details is common for victims of child abuse: "They can try and nitpick little things - 'Was he sitting on the left or the right side of the car?' If you understand the mechanics of sexual abuse, kids are not remembering insignificant details, but they have a vivid memory of what happened to them."
The presentation given to Billboard has not been disclosed to the general public.