“Leaving Neverland” director slams Michael Jackson biopic, calls it ‘complete whitewash’

"I don’t know how they are not ashamed."

The filmmaker behind Leaving Neverland is blasting the upcoming biopic Michael as a “complete whitewash” of Michael Jackson’s life, according to The Times of London.

“It’s an out-and-out attempt to completely rewrite the allegations and dismiss them out of hand, and contains complete lies,” director Dan Reed told The Times. “You never even see him alone with any boys, when it is a matter of fact that he shared his bed with small children for many years.”

Reed confirms to EW that he has read the draft Michael script, adding that he “would not have made those comments (to The Times) based on hearsay.”

<p>George De Sota/Redferns</p>

George De Sota/Redferns

Among Reed's concerns, is that the draft script of Michael omits any mention of the accusations of child molestation levied against Jackson over the years. Jackson's estate has approval of the project.

“You have some of the really top minds and top talent in Hollywood working on this, and I don’t know how they are not ashamed,” Reed told The Times. “In one scene Jackson tucks kids into their sleeping bags—how do they not throw up when they do these scenes?”

Antoine Fuqua (Training Day) is set to direct Michael with a script by three-time Oscar nominee John Logan (Gladiator, The Aviator, Hugo) and Graham King (The Departed, The Town) is producing. Jackson’s real-life nephew Jaafar Jackson (Jermaine Jackson's son) will make his debut starring as the King of Pop. Oscar nominee Colman Domingo will play Michael’s abusive father Joe, and Top Gun: Maverick star Miles Teller will step into the role of Jackson’s manager, John Branca.

Attorneys for the Jackson estate, Fuqua, King, and the production did not immediately return EW’s requests for comment.

Leaving Neverland, Reed's 2019 documentary, focuses on the allegations made by Wade Robson and James Safechuck, who both claim that Jackson sexually abused them when they were children in the late ‘80s and early-to-mid ‘90s. Reed has previously spoken out against the biopic and tells The Times that Jackson’s estate managers, Branca and John McClain, are “very aggressively” defending their commercial asset that continues to make them money after the singer’s death.

“They are trying to make out that he was a saint, and yet he was a predatory pedophile who abused children,” Reed alleges.

The film is not the first time Jackson's life story has been adapted. The jukebox show MJ: The Musical opened on Broadway in February 2022, grossing $178.9 million to date.

Last month Sony Music Group agreed to buy half of Jackson’s catalog for $1.2 billion.

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