This year's Sundance Film Festival lineup will include a film titled Leaving Neverland, a documentary that accuses Michael Jackson of sexually abusing two young boys.
"At the height of his stardom, Michael Jackson began long-running relationships with two boys, aged 7 and 10, and their families," the film’s synopsis states. "Now in their 30s, they tell the story of how they were sexually abused by Jackson, and how they came to terms with it years later."
The "Remember the Time" singer was accused of molesting a boy in 1993, however, the case was dropped after an out-of-court settlement was made. Michael was also accused of molestation by two brothers in 2005. However, the criminal case went to trial and he was acquitted. While the identities of the two accusers in Leaving Neverland have yet to be confirmed — they are reportedly not Michael's previous accusers whose identities were never made public — his estate (which promptly denounced the documentary) believes they are choreographer Wade Robson and James Safechuck, who was Michael's companion as a child and sued his estate over sexual abuse claims in 2014 (five years after the singer's death).
"This is yet another lurid production in an outrageous and pathetic attempt to exploit and cash in on Michael Jackson," a rep for his estate said, per Rolling Stone, following the release of a photo from the film that showed a young Wade standing in front of Michael. "Wade Robson and James Safechuck have both testified under oath that Michael never did anything inappropriate toward them. Safechuck and Robson, the latter a self-proclaimed 'master of deception,' filed lawsuits against Michael’s estate, asking for millions of dollars. Both lawsuits were dismissed. This so-called 'documentary' is just another rehash of dated and discredited allegations. It’s baffling why any credible filmmaker would involve himself with this project."
The documentary, which is named after the late singer's infamous California ranch, Neverland, will be told in two parts and run for a total of 233 minutes.
This year’s Sundance Film Festival will be held from January 24th to February 4th.
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