The documentary Leaving Neverland, which split opinion when part one aired in the UK earlier this year, focuses on testimony by Wade Robson, 36, and James Safechuck, 41, who both claim that Jackson sexually abused them when they were children. Last month, comedian Chappelle’s new Netflix show Sticks And Stones was released – in which he jokes about the accusations and the idea of ‘cancel culture‘.
“This is the worst time ever to be a celebrity,” said Chappelle. “You’re gonna be finished. Everyone’s doomed. Michael Jackson has been dead for 10 years, and this n**** has two new cases.”
He then urged the crowd to not watch Leaving Neverland, tell the audience: “It’s fucking gross. I felt like HBO was sticking baby dicks in my ears for four hours straigh, I’m gonna say something that I’m not allowed to say. But I gotta be real. I don’t believe these motherfuckers. I do not believe them.”
Chappelle added: “I don’t think he did it, but you know what? Even if he did do it … you know what I mean? I mean, it’s Michael Jackson. I know more than half the people in this room have been molested in their lives, but it wasn’t no goddamn Michael Jackson, was it? This kid got his dick sucked by the King of Pop.
“You know how good it must have felt to go to school the next day after that shit?”
Now, director Dan Reed has said that he felt “physically sick” after hearing Chappelle’s jokes.
“I don’t think Dave Chappelle was very funny or clever to do what he did,” Reed told Deadline. “You know, mocking kids who were raped by famous people, it’s like: Is that funny?”
- Read more: “More victims will come out” – Leaving Neverland director Dan Reed on Michael Jackson’s toxic legacy
Reed added: “Some people think it’s funny, but I don’t want this film to be positioned as part of the sort of ‘Cancel Culture,'” Reed went on. “[Michael Jackson] has been dead a long time, his music’s out there. There’s nothing in the film that says, ‘Don’t listen to Michael Jackson.’ There’s nothing in this film that says, ‘Cancel MJ.'”
This comes after both Safechuck and Robson responded to Chappelle’s jokes last month.
“I’m heartbroken for all those children who look to see how they will be received when they finally find the courage to speak out about their sexual abuse,” said Safechuck. “I just want to reach out to other survivors and let them know that we can’t let this type of behaviour silence us. Together we are strong.”
Robson added: “He can say whatever he wants. It reveals him, not us.” His lawyer Vince Finaldi also hit out at Chappelle over airing his “misinformed” opinions, adding: “It’s unfortunate that he has chosen to use his platform to shame sexual abuse victims, and spread his ignorance of sexual abuse and the way it is perpetrated upon children, in an attempt to resurrect his career.”
- Read more: “It’s one-sided and biased” – Taj Jackson attempts to defend his uncle, Michael Jackson, against the Leaving Neverland fallout
Jackson’s daughter Paris recently made headlines after hitting back at rapper 50 Cent for jokes he made about the allegations of sexual abuse.
This weekend saw Leaving Neverland win the Creative Arts Emmy Award.
Michael Jackson denied any wrongdoing before his death in 2009.