The director of Leaving Neverland, the 2019 documentary that accused Michael Jackson of child sexual abuse, has penned an op-ed slamming plans to make an authorized biopic about the King of Pop.
Writing in the Guardian, filmmaker Dan Reed said that the movie “will glorify a man who raped children.”
“What the total absence of outrage accompanying the announcement of this movie tells us is that Jackson’s seduction is still a living force, operating from beyond the grave,” Reed wrote. “It seems that the press, his fans and the vast older demographic who grew up loving Jackson are willing to set aside his unhealthy relationship with children and just go along with the music.”
The Antoine Fuqua-directed Michael is set to star Jackson’s nephew and Jermaine’s son Jaafar Jackson, and will be produced by Graham King, who previously brought the Freddie Mercury biopic Bohemian Rhapsody to the big screen. Oscar-nominated screenwriter John Logan will reportedly pen the film’s script, which — given the authorized nature of the project — likely won’t touch on the allegations of child sexual abuse.
“Even if you do not believe a word of what his many accusers have said; even if you are not concerned by the police investigations and the massive payouts to halt legal proceedings, how do you explain the completely uncontested fact that for years Jackson spent innumerable nights alone in bed with young boys?” Reed wrote. “What was he doing with them, alone in his Neverland bedroom, with alarm bells in the corridor? That cannot be acceptable by any measure.”
The two-part, four-hour Leaving Neverland focused on Wade Robson and James Safechuck, two former child performers who described, in often excruciating detail, the way Jackson allegedly groomed and sexually abused them while they were children.
Reed continued, “To the film-makers, I say: how will you represent the moment when Jackson, a grown man in his 30s, takes a child by the hand and leads him into that bedroom? How will you depict what happens next? By sidestepping the question of Jackson’s predilection for sleeping with young boys, you are broadcasting a message to millions of survivors of child sexual abuse.”