"It's hard to understand how these allegations can be true"
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. In the wake of the film being shown, Jackson’s songs were subsequently banned on numerous radio stations around the world.
Now in response, a new counter documentary has been released on Amazon Prime, Youtube and other streaming services.
“Acquitted in life, back on trial after death,” reads the synopsis. “Michael Jackson: Chase The Truth takes an investigative look into the legal battles of the global superstar. Close friends, former staff and researchers paint an intimate portrait of Jackson’s complicated world and put allegations of sexual abuse under the microscope.”
Released this week, the film features testimony from Jackson’s former bodyguard Matt Fiddes and actor Mark Lester – who claim that Safechuck and Robson’s abuse claims were fictitious and motivated by financial gain.
“It’s always financial,” said Fiddes in the film. “It’s hard to understand how these allegations can be true.”
Jackson biographer Mike Smallcombe meanwhile added: “Now two accusers going to sue the Jackson estate. All of Michael Jackson’s accusers – it’s always been about money.”
- Read more: “More victims will come out” – Leaving Neverland director Dan Reed on Michael Jackson’s toxic legacy
Sharing the trailer on Instagram, Fiddes wrote that he “expects Wade and James are hiding behind a rock along with Dan Reed somewhere with embarrassment right now!”
He continued: “I would love to invite Wade, James and Dan Reed to come and challenge us on live UK TV about the man we knew, our friend Michael Jackson.
Fiddes added: “We don’t need four hours of edited footage to show the truth about our friend and the lies about him. I have had enough of this nonsense. We told the truth in one hour! He is not even here to defend himself.
“Thoughts are with Mrs Jackson and the whole Jackson family. They have been through so much including Michael’s children.
As Michael used to say to me. “The bigger the star, the bigger the target” and he is still the biggest in death.”
Earlier this year, Leaving Neverland director Dan Reed wrote about the criticism against Robson as he previously defended Jackson under oath during his 2004 trial.
“Wade states in my film that he had perjured himself because he could not bear to see Jackson, the man he loved, go to jail,” he wrote.
Explaining that “telling the truth was out of the question” for Robson at the time, he added: “He had never told a soul, not even his mother. So the Jackson camp now call him an admitted liar. This argument falls apart when you apply even the merest dusting of common sense.
“Was he lying then? Or is he lying now? You can’t have it both ways.”
Reed also commented on those close to Jackson being aware of his highly-controversial sleeping arrangements.
“The most extraordinary thing in all this is that no-one denies that Jackson took little boys to his bed, night after night, for many, many years,” he said. “What did his family and business associates think he was doing with these little boys behind a locked door?
“Did they believe he was actually a child in the body of a man and therefore somehow needed to sleep with little boys? That makes no sense if you think about it for more than a second.”
Asked by NME if he could imagine people still trying to defend Jackson after seeing the documentary, Reed replied: “I can’t, you know. It’s not just hearing the guys tell their stories – it’s seeing the impact it’s had on their mums, on their wives, on their sisters and brothers. [In each instance] the whole family has been devastated by learning what has actually happened.
“By the end of the fours hours, it’s really difficult to imagine that anyone would be able to dismiss such a consistent and emotional set of interviews. These people would have to be genius actors. Having your mum go on telly and say, ‘I fucked up and I allowed my son to fall into the hands of a predatory paedophile’ – for the average son, that’s quite a move to pull if all you’re after is a bit of cash.”
Following the release of Leaving Neverland, a large number of Jackson fans took to the streets of London in protest. See footage below.
Michael Jackson denied any wrongdoing before his death in 2009.