HBO's 'Leaving Neverland' director says he's getting death threats, and responds to criticism from Michael Jackson's family

  • The director of “Leaving Neverland” commented on the statements that have been released by Michael Jackson’s estate and family since his movie premiered at the Sundance Film Festival on Friday.
  • “They have a very precious asset to protect,” Dan Reed told The Hollywood Reporter at the festival. “Every time a song plays, a cash register goes ‘ka-ching.’ It doesn’t surprise me that they have come out fighting in defence of their asset.”
  • Reed told the website that along with getting angry emails and phone calls since the premiere, he’s also received death threats.
  • HBO’s two-part documentary, which will air in March, contains allegations that Jackson molested young boys.

Dan Reed – the director of HBO’s two-part Michael Jackson documentary, “Leaving Neverland,” which contains allegations that the late pop star molested young boys – is speaking out after two statements made by the Jackson camp denounced his documentary in the wake of its world premiere at the Sundance Film Festival on Friday.

“They have a very precious asset to protect,” Reed told The Hollywood Reporter at Sundance. “Every time a song plays, a cash register goes ‘ka-ching.’ It doesn’t surprise me that they have come out fighting in defence of their asset.”

Hours after “Leaving Neverland” played at Sundance and received a standing ovation, the Jackson estate issued a statement that called it “the kind of tabloid character assassination Michael Jackson endured in life, and now in death.”

On Monday, Jackson’s family issued a statement addressing the allegations in the movie that the singer abused two child fans, Wade Robson and Jimmy Safechuck.

Michael Jackson GettyGettyMichael Jackson with 10-year-old Jimmy Safechuck on a tour plane on July 11, 1988.

“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,” the statement said. “Michael is not here to defend himself, otherwise these allegations would not have been made.”

In 2013 and 2014, respectively, Robson and Safechuck filed two lawsuits, each alleging that Jackson had abused them in the late 1980s and early 1990s. Both were dismissed in 2017. Jackson consistently denied ever abusing children.

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Reed told The Hollywood Reporter that along with receiving angry emails and calls from fans, he’s also had death threats sent to him since the movie’s premiere. The director said he’s already tracked down the origin of some of the negativity he’s receiving.

“Some of the email writing is cut and paste because we found a webpage that explains to people what to do” to protest the movie, Reed said.

“Leaving Neverland” airs on HBO in March.

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