Those words have proven to be prophetic, as recently, director Dan Reed seemed to make a U-turn by admitting that the timeline given by alleged victim James Safechuck may not fit the dates given in the documentary.
Safechuck was one of the men who appeared in the documentary along with fellow victim Wade Robson, who brought forward similar claims against the pop star.
However, Jackson’s biographer Mike Smallcombe has now disputed the allegations made by Safechuck that Michael abused him in the upstairs room of Neverland’s train station.
After obtaining documents form Santa Barbara County, the journalist found the train station in question wasn’t built until three years after Safechuck alleges the abuse stopped – leading him to the conclusion that Safechuck’s timeline of abuse was incorrect.
Speaking to Mirror Online, Smallcombe hit out at the film’s director, calling him ’embarrassing’.
“By acknowledging the build date, Reed is essentially confirming that Safechuck’s claim of being abused in Neverland’s train station between 1988 and 1992 is impossible.
“To seemingly now claim on Safechuck’s behalf that the abuse went on as Safechuck approached adulthood, all to preserve the timeline of his film is astonishing.”
In the last couple of hours I’ve been given access to the Santa Barbara County construction permits for the Neverland train station by my source – approved Sept 2, 1993 pic.twitter.com/xjtfvEvsUu
— Mike Smallcombe (@mikesmallcombe1) 30 March 2019
And now, the estate of Michael Jackson telling The Root that the discrepancy is “one of several lies” that Safechuck has made in the film.
“Safechuck’s allegations that he was abused in a building before it was even built and two years after he said the ‘abuse’ stopped speaks for itself”, said lawyers for the estate.
“Remember these are two individuals who filed lawsuits asking for millions of dollars after changing years of their under oath testimony and multiple denials that Michael ever did anything inappropriate to them. The lawsuits were dismissed but the accusers are appealing the dismissals. I believe for the accusers, the director and HBO this has always been about the money or ratings.”
Leaving Neverland director Dan Reed previously responded to Smallcombe’s comments and said there was “no doubt” that the date of construction had been wrongly mentioned by Safechuck.
“Yeah, there seems to be no doubt about the station date. The date they have wrong is the end of the abuse,” said Reed on Twitter.
Yeah there seems to be no doubt about the station date. The date they have wrong is the end of the abuse.
— Dan Reed (@danreed1000) 31 March 2019
Responding to a number of stories on Twitter, Reed further denied that there he had made a “U-Turn” in the claims, declaring that the evidence still supports the allegations made in the film as the alleged abuse occurred both before and after the construction of the train station.
“1. James Safechuck was at Neverland both before and after the construction of the train station there,” wrote Reed. “The two still photos of the station shown in #leavingneverland were in fact taken by James, who is very clear that he was abused by Jackson in multiple places over many years.”
He added: “2. #leavingneverland also makes clear that sexual contact between James and #MichaelJackson continued until James Safechuck was in his teenage years. The station at Neverland is just one of the many locations where James remembers sexual activity taking place.”
I just never think we’re going to get to the bottom of this.
I’ve changed my stance several times over the past few weeks and now I’m more unclear than ever.
My head hurts.
Images via Netflix
Charismatic, witty, charming, engaging - four things Joshua Rogers will never be. Thankfully, he’s a semi-competent editor, who, after graduating university with two mostly pointless degrees, joined The Hook two years ago. He subsequently honed his writing skills over several features and investigative pieces, arguably letting The Hook audience in on way too much of his personal life.