Dan Reed may have taken home the top honor for documentary
filmmakers with his Emmy win for Leaving
Neverland but the process of making and releasing the film appeared an
easy one. Not only has HBO been slapped with a lawsuit for the production release,
but Reed and the two accusers who appear in the limited series received death
threats ahead of the Sundance debut. In
short, getting the Emmy win probably made it all worthwhile, but the battle over Leaving
Neverland is far from over.
What is Leaving Neverland about?
During his life, Michael Jackson was regularly seen in the company of children. He appeared to be a child actor and even had them at his home for sleepovers. Allegations surfaced in August 1
In 2003, shelves reopened the investigation and booked
Jackson on ten criminal counts. He was to stand trial for child molestation, abduction,
extortion, and false imprisonment charges. Leaving Neverland takes a
deep dive into the accounts of two of Jackson's alleged victims. Both appear in
the documentary to recount their time spent with Jackson.
Dan Reed and the subjects of the film received death threats
Michael Jackson's estate is not only the filmmaker's naysayers, and his subjects have had a battle. According to Deadline death threats were received by Reed and the two accusers in the lead up to The Sundance Film Festival where the film was first screened. Rabid Michael Jackson fans allegedly sent the threats.
The content was controversial. For those who believe Jackson groomed and molested several children, it looked like concrete evidence. For fans of the King of Pop, the documentary is viewed as another outrageous piece of content geared toward sullying Jackson's name. One alleged victim, James Safechuck recounted how he had met Jackson on the set, and that Jackson had an immediate interest in him. After winning over his parents, Safechuck was allowed to go on tour with Jackson. It was during that tour, he said, that things turned sexual. Safechuck alleges Jackson introduced him to masturbation.
Wade Robson, another accuser, suggested that Jackson
involved in calculated grooming of not only the
young boys he allegedly abused but the family's of those boys, too. Both
Robson and Safechuck received threats because they willingly appeared in Leaving
What is the status of the lawsuit?
Michael Jackson's estate is slaughtered by HBO, and parent company, Time Warner, with a $ 100 million lawsuit shortly before the two-part movie release. According to court documents, the estate is arguing that HBO signed a nondisparagement agreement with Jackson decades ago. They believe that the clause remains valid and that the network broke that clause by releasing the documentary.
HBO requested that that case be dismissed. According to this
reports, HBO lawyers have argued that litigation was intended to chill speech.
A judge denied the request just days after Leaving Neverland was brought
home an Emmy Award for documentary. Jackson's
estate has been outspoken about their distaste for the movie . They have
argued that HBO and the filmmakers were purposefully sensationalizing
allegations that they have been declared false.
According to Vanity
Fair the judge's decision is likely to be finalized next month. Jackson's
HBO's dismissal request. They said, “HBO
has tried everything possible to avoid having a trier of fact adjudicate theirs
wrongdoing. If HBO believes its actions were right then there is no reason for it
them to try and hide behind procedural technicalities to avoid an arbitration
or a trial. ”The case is likely headed toward arbitration.