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Michael Jackson estate sends letter to Channel 4, says 'Neverland' docu violates norms

'Leaving Neverland' is set to air early next month.

AP|
Updated: Feb 11, 2019, 05.01 PM IST
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AP
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FILE - In this Dec. 3, 1984 photo, Michael Jackson performs at the Dodger Stadium in Los Angeles, as part of the Victory Tour concert.
LOS ANGELES: The Michael Jackson estate has sent a letter to the U.K.'s Channel 4 warning that a documentary on two men who accuse the singer of molesting them as boys violates the network's programming guidelines.

The letter written by estate attorney Howard Weitzman and released Monday to The Associated Press states that 'Leaving Neverland', set to air in early March, makes no attempt at getting a response to the accusers from Jackson's estate, family, friends or others who have defended his reputation as required by the channel's standards for factual programming and basic journalistic ethics.

The letter cites a section of the publicly available guidelines that state if a show makes "significant allegations'' then "those concerned should be given an appropriate and timely opportunity to respond.''

"I think we can all agree that the false allegations being made in your `documentary' are `significant allegations,''' the letter states, adding ``it is hard to imagine more significant accusations that can possibly be made against anyone.''

Yet no one was ever asked to respond, the letter states.

``This includes persons mentioned by name in your `documentary' as having `replaced' Robson and Safechuck as Jackson's supposed victims of abuse. Those named persons eloquently and publicly deny ever being abused,'' the letter states.

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Wade Robson, from left, director Dan Reed and James Safechuck.

Channel 4 representatives did not immediately reply to an after-hours request for comment.

The film's director Dan Reed has addressed the criticism from the estate previously, saying in a statement that he intentionally focused on just Robson and Safechuck.

``Anyone who sees the film will know it is solely about hearing the stories of two specific individuals and their families in their own words, and that is a focus we are very proud of,'' Reed said.

The three-page document from the estate echoes a longer letter it sent to HBO on Friday calling the allegations from Wade Robson and James Safechuck ``disgraceful'' and urging investigation of the men's backgrounds. A copy of the HBO letter was included with the Channel 4 letter, and applies just as much to the U.K. station, the letter states.

From 'Billie Jean' to 'Beat It': Michael Jackson's Top 5 Hits Of All Time

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The Enigma

29 Aug, 2018
Michael Jackson, possibly one of the finest entertainers the world has ever seen, would have celebrated his 60th birthday today. Jackson made a foray into the world of music and showbiz as a singer in 'Jackson 5' in 1964. The star went solo in 1971 and released a string of record-breaking albums, enthralling performances, shock-value music videos, and electrified stadium audiences around the globe. Audiences loved him the world-over with his kinetic live shows. He has to his credit numerous awards and honours. As supremely gifted a songwriter as he was a dancer and choreographer, Jackson seemed incapable of penning anything other than a hit in his prime. Here's a look at his top 5 tracks which topped Billboard charts:
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The two channels co-produced the documentary account of how the two men's lives intersected with Jackson's when they were kids at the height of his fame, and how the trauma of what they say happened in their youth started to emerge in their adult life.

It premiered last month at the Sundance Film Festival, where Robson and Safechuck got a standing ovation afterward.

Both had previously told authorities Jackson did not molest them, with Robson testifying as much in Jackson's 2005 trial, in which he was acquitted of molesting another boy. Jackson died in 2009.

Both men later filed lawsuits that were dismissed and are currently on appeal.

The AP does not typically name victims of sexual abuse, but attorneys for Robson and Safechuck have said they have agreed to be named publicly.

From Michael Jackson to Queen Bey, A Look Back At Grammy Fashion Through The Decades

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Music Meets Fashion

27 Jan, 2018
On May 4, 1959, Frank Sinatra, Sammy Davis Jr., Gene Autry and other musical luminaries sat down to formal dinners and golden statues in Los Angeles and New York simultaneously for the very first Grammy Awards. Over the fabulous and star-studded 60 shows, the fashion slowly evolved into the wildest and wackiest red carpet of the awards season. Here's a glance at some outrageous fashion moments at the Grammys:
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