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Leaving Neverland director condemns upcoming Michael Jackson biopic
For the piece in The Observerpublished Sunday, the filmmaker revisited his 2019 documentary — centered on two men, Wade Robson and James Safechuck, who accused Jackson of sexually abusing them when they were 7 and 10 — and said the upcoming biopic sends out an "unacceptable" message: "If a pedophile is rich and popular enough, society will forgive him," Reed writes.
Reed called out what he perceived as the "deafening silence" of press reaction to the film. "No one is talking about 'cancelling' this movie, which will glorify a man who raped children," he writes. "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."
"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," Reed continues. "To them I say this: 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?"
He adds, "To the filmmakers, 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. That message is: If a pedophile is rich and popular enough, society will forgive him."