Michael Jackson was a career pedophile that used very deliberate, manipulative, deceitful, and well-organized methods to ensnarl his victims, according to Leaving Neverland director Dan Reed.
Reed has spent 3 years working on the explosive HBO documentary, interviewing two of Jackson’s alleged victims Wade Robson and James Safechuck over 3 and 2 days, respectively, as well as several members of their families, before then taking a deep dive into the investigations against the singer to corroborate their evidence.
“For mothers to come on camera and say in front of millions of people, ‘I delivered my son into the clutches of a pedophile and he raped my child repeatedly under my nose.’ I don’t know any mums that would go on television to say that in order to get a quick buck from the Jackson estate," Reed tells Metro.
Michael Jackson and Leaving Neverland
Leaving Neverland also explores how Michael Jackson convinced the mothers to leave him in a bedroom alone and spend so much time with their children.
“There was a blinding effect of celebrity and all of the trappings,” says Reed. “There also wasn’t as much talk about pedophilia. It was a more naive time. We have grown a lot less trusting. Probably quite rightly. Because people with power and authority can get away with this stuff. You can’t adequately explain why Michael did the things that he did. It wasn’t as though he was compelled by a force he couldn’t control and then made one or two indiscretions. He was a career pedophile. I think.”
“He abused Wade on and off for 7 years. James pretty much for 5. I believe he had a lot of other victims. He comes across as a very deliberate, manipulative, deceitful, well-organized pedophile. Who would practice drills to get dressed quickly, rehearse with Wade, from 7, what he should say when the detective asked him about this, that, and the other.”
Reed is well aware of how unsettling and horrifying Leaving Neverland is to watch, as Robson and Safechuck go into explicit detail about the sexual activities that Jackson coerced and forced them into. But he also knew this approach was integral.
“We said to James and Wade at the start, ‘We can’t draw a veil over this. We have to confront the graphic nature and facts of what happened.’ We had to establish it was actual sexual abuse and not just inappropriate touching. It wasn’t innocent. It was the kind of sexual activity that grown-ups do. But it was being done to a child. And it happened again and again and again.”
The Jackson family and estate have been quick to attack the nearly 4-hour long documentary, insisting that Robson and Safechuck made the allegations for financial gain, while others have criticized the film for being too one-sided.
“I made sure that we included Jackson’s denials and the assertions of his innocence. All of these child sexual allegations were categorically denied. When Wade came out in 2013 we have all these statements from people debunking his comments and supposed awakenings. So it is just not true to say it is one-sided."
“We don’t make any allegations against the Jackson family or estate. There is no need to put their rebuttals in the film. Plus, what is the other side to, ‘He raped me!’ Is it, ‘He didn’t rape me.’ Or, ‘It wasn’t so bad.’ We are ultimately talking about an act where there were only two witnesses. And one of those is dead. If this was a criminal case, and we were in court, I think James and Wade and their families would make convincing witnesses.”
Leaving Neverland airs on HBO on Sunday March 3 and Monday March 4 at 8pm EST.
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