The documentary Leaving Neverland was awarded Outstanding Documentary or Nonfiction Special at the Creative Arts Emmys on Saturday, a decision Michael Jackson's estate does not condone. "For a film that is a complete fiction to be honored in a nonfiction Emmy category is a complete farce," the estate said in a statement released to Entertainment Tonight. "Not one shred of proof supports this completely one-sided, so-called documentary which was made in secrecy and for which not one person outside of the two subjects and their families were interviewed."
Leaving Neverland is a two-part HBO documentary that focused on the sexual abuse allegations that surrounded Jackson and features interviews with two of his accusers, Wade Robson and James Safechuck, who detailed the alleged abuse they received at Jackson's hands. The film earned five nominations at this year's Emmys.
Jackson's estate has been critical of the film since before its release, slamming the claims made by the filmmakers and Robson and Safechuk's stories.
"This is yet another lurid production in an outrageous and pathetic attempt to exploit and cash in on Michael Jackson," the estate said in a statement to E! News after the movie was announced. "Wade Robson and James Safechuck have both testified under oath that Michael never did anything inappropriate toward them. Safechuck and Robson, the latter a self-proclaimed 'master of deception', filed lawsuits against Michael's Estate, asking for millions of dollars. Both lawsuits were dismissed."
"This so called 'documentary' is just another rehash of dated and discredited allegations," the statement continued. "It's baffling why any credible filmmaker would involve himself with this project."
Director Dan Reed told ET that Leaving Neverland "confronts people with a crime that they don't really want to know about, and wish didn't exist."
"We thought it would make some noise, but we kind of thought people would go, 'Oh yeah, it's another film about the allegations against Michael Jackson.' But this has been taking us completely unawares," he said of the polarizing response to the film. "It's been a tsunami of love, of hatred, of attention and noise, of thoughtful critical reaction and unthinking reaction. It's been a journey into the heart of the world media."0comments
"I just hope there are people out there, who have had a similar experience to the guys in my film, who feel more at ease with themselves having watched it, and have a way to articulate what happened to them," he added.
Photo Credit: Getty / Michel Linssen