Michael Jackson’s estate is engaged in a campaign of adverts, lawsuits and interviews in an attempt to salvage his image after the screening of Channel 4’s documentary Leaving Neverland, which details years of alleged grooming and child abuse.
The documentary, shown on Wednesday night and continuing on Thursday, features detailed testimonies from Wade Robson and James Safechuck, who allege the pop star abused them for years while they were children. It prompted a campaign to shore up Jackson’s legacy and save the multimillion-pound empire he left behind.
Jackson’s estate – which has made $2.1bn (£1.6bn) since his death in 2009 and is run by John McClain, a co-executor with Jackson’s former lawyer John Branca – originally tried to block the release of the documentary by contacting Channel 4 and issuing a $100m lawsuit against HBO, which broadcast Dan Reed’s film last weekend in the US.
The estate said the documentary, which premiered at Sundance in January, is “the kind of tabloid character assassination Michael Jackson endured in life, and now in death”, and added that “the film takes uncorroborated allegations that supposedly happened 20 years ago and treats them as fact”. Read more