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TV Critic’s Corner

Allegations resurface in Michael Jackson documentary

Michael Jackson arrives at court during his 2005 child molestation trial in Santa Barbara.
Michael Jackson arrives at court during his 2005 child molestation trial in Santa Barbara.(Aaron Lambert/Santa Maria Times/AP/File)

As a super awareness of sexual misconduct has swept our culture with the #MeToo movement, a new HBO documentary is returning to the case of Michael Jackson.

Called “Leaving Neverland,” the 233-minute film will premiere later this month at the Sundance Film Festival and then air in two parts on HBO in the spring. It follows two men in their 30s, Wade Robson and James Safechuck, who were friends with Jackson as preteens, and who claim he subjected them to sustained abuse. Both men have tried to bring their accusations into the courtroom, but their cases were dismissed.

“If there’s anything we’ve learned during this time in our history, it’s that sexual abuse is complicated, and survivors’ voices need to be listened to,” director Dan Reed said in a statement. “It took great courage for these two men to tell their stories, and I have no question about their validity. I believe anyone who watches this film will see and feel the emotional toll on the men and their families and will appreciate the strength it takes to confront long-held secrets.”

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Naturally, the Jackson estate is not pleased, releasing a statement saying, “This so called ‘documentary’ is just another rehash of dated and discredited allegations. It’s baffling why any credible filmmaker would involve himself with this project.”


Matthew Gilbert can be reached at gilbert@globe.com. Follow him on Twitter @MatthewGilbert.