HBO’s documentary on Michael Jackson, titled Leaving Neverland, was termed ‘disgraceful’ by the late pop star’s estate as it depicts the latter as a paedophile. The estate has urged the network to keep it from going public and further investigate their backgrounds. A letter sent to HBO chief Richard Plepler, calling the documentary a ‘one-sided, sensationalist program’, stated that the film ‘will go down as the most shameful episode in HBO’s history.’ However, HBO didn’t take too long to respond.
The film, helmed by Dan Reed, has a segment which shows two men, Wade Robson and James Safechuck, alleging that Jackson sexually abused them when they were children. The estate states that the men are lying and the makers have solely focused on the two boys rather than interviewing anyone from Jackson’s family. Despite the criticisms, HBO, however, declared that it’s sticking to its decision. “It doesn’t change our plans,” told the network’s programming president Casey Bloys to Variety. “We announced the air date. It will air as planned.”
“We hope that people will reserve judgment until they see it,” Bloys added. “It’s very powerful to see these two men share their stories. I think after everybody sees it, they can decide for themselves.”
The first instalment of the four-hour documentary will first air on HBO on March 3, with the second half airing the following night.
“We’ve been doing documentaries for a long time," he further added. “I think this one is a very important one, and it’s a very powerful message. I think both men were very brave to share their stories, and they deserve to be heard.”