Leaving Neverland director Dan Reed appeared on CBS This Morning on Tuesday to address the many issues regarding the documentary brought up by the Michael Jackson Estate leading up to its debut on HBO this weekend. The doc is centered around the personal accounts of Wade Robson and James Safechuck, who claim that they were sexually abused by Jackson at the ages of 7 and 10.
Robson and Safechuck's involvement in Leaving Neverland has been questioned by Jackson's estate, calling them "two perjures" for reversing course on their experiences with the singer that happened at least two decades ago. Reed believes their actions align with other victims of pedophiles who tend to form "deep attachments" to their abusers. Even after these alleged events, the director says they both "were in love with Michael and continued loving him."
The documentary is noticeably devoid of any input from members of Jackson's family. Reed says it was his intention to keep it that way because, as far as he knows, they weren't in the room when these instances of sexual abuse took place. "No one else was in the room, I don’t believe, when Wade was being molested by Michael, or when James was having sex with Michael," he said.
"What does the family know about the sexual abuse? Do you think they know about the sexual abuse?," Reed responded when asked about having an "obligation" to get the Jackson family's side of the story. "What was important to me was to have eyewitnesses or people who could add something to the story. I don't know that the Jackson family has any direct knowledge of what happened to Wade and James."
Leaving Neverland isn't afraid about delving into the graphic details of Jackson's alleged sexual abuse. Reed didn't wanted to shy away from their specific accounts in an effort to eliminate the preconceived notions of the singer's childlike behavior that he took with him into adulthood. "I think for many years Jackson got away with this image of being a bit of a child himself and being very affectionate with children, and I wanted to make sure people understood this wasn't overenthusiastic kissing or cuddling," he said. "This was sex, the kind of sex adults have but he was having with a little child."
The Jackson Estate is suing HBO for $100 million for breaching their agreement by airing the documentary which will potentially cause "reprehensible disparagement" of the singer.