Michael Jackson and James Safechuck
Photo: Dave Hogan (Getty Images)

HBO’s Leaving Neverland documentary reportedly shook audiences when it premiered at the Sundance Film Festival this past weekend. The documentary, which centers around the accounts of two men who claim they were molested by Michael Jackson as children, begins with a disclaimer about its “graphic” descriptions of the alleged assaults. Critics are praising the film’s raw power, but the family of Michael Jackson is making their disapproval of the project known in a new statement.

“We can’t just stand by while this public lynching goes on, and the vulture tweeters and others who never met Michael go after him,” a statement from the family reads. “Michael is not here to defend himself, otherwise these allegations would not have been made.”

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The statement attacks the documentary for not having “a shred of proof or single piece of physical evidence.” It continues, “They never interviewed a single solitary soul who knew Michael except the two perjurers and their families. That is not journalism, and it’s not fair, yet the media are perpetuating these stories.”

The family’s statement follows one from the estate of Michael Jackson that calls the documentary a “tabloid character assassination.”  

Read the family’s full statement below.

Michael Jackson is our brother and son. We are furious that the media, who without a shred of proof or single piece of physical evidence, chose to believe the word of two admitted liars over the word of hundreds of families and friends around the world who spent time with Michael, many at Neverland, and experienced his legendary kindness and global generosity. We are proud of what Michael Jackson stands for.

People have always loved to go after Michael. He was an easy target because he was unique. But Michael was subjected to a thorough investigation which included a surprise raid of Neverland and other properties as well as a jury trial where Michael was found to be COMPLETELY INNOCENT. There has never been one piece of proof of anything. Yet the media is eager to believe these lies.

Michael always turned the other cheek, and we have always turned the other cheek when people have gone after members of our family - that is the Jackson way. But we can’t just stand by while this public lynching goes on, and the vulture tweeters and others who never met Michael go after him. Michael is not here to defend himself, otherwise these allegations would not have been made.

The creators of this film were not interested in the truth. They never interviewed a single solitary soul who knew Michael except the two perjurers and their families. That is not journalism, and it’s not fair, yet the media are perpetuating these stories.

But the truth is on our side. Go do your research about these opportunists. The facts don’t lie, people do. Michael Jackson was and always will be 100% innocent of these false allegations.

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