MICHAEL Jackson’s photographer has condemned the director of bombshell documentary Leaving Neverland as a “perpetrator of lies”.
Harrison Funk is the latest ex-pal of the singer to speak out against the controversial HBO doc where accusers Wade Robson and James Safechuck have claimed the King of Pop abused them.
Safechuck, now 41, claims he was molested until the age of 14, including in a room at a train station on the Neverland Ranch.
But the singer’s estate family have called into question the accuracy of the documentary after it emerged a planning permission request for the building was lodged two years after the abuse was alleged to have happened.
Leaving Neverland director Dan Reed was forced into a seemingly embarrassing U-turn by the discrepancies in the dates.
Michael Jackson is "innocent until proven guilty" according to Madonna.
The singer broke her silence on the sex abuse allegations against her fellow music icon for the first time in a not-yet published interview with British Vogue.
In an excerpt seen by the Independent, Madonna admitted she had not yet seen the HBO documentary "Leaving Neverland", in which James Safechuck and Wade Robson claim they were molested by Jackson as children.
"I don't have a lynch-mob mentality, so in my mind, people are innocent until proven guilty," she said. "I've had a thousand accusations hurled at me that are not true. So my attitude when people tell me things about people is, 'Can you prove it?'"
The dispute over Leaving Neverland, HBO's documentary detailing alleged child sex abuse by Michael Jackson, will stay in open court for now. Following a hearing last week, a federal judge on Tuesday decided to reject a motion from the Michael Jackson Estate to immediately throw the case to an arbitrator.
The Michael Jackson Estate sued HBO shortly before Leaving Neverland premiered March 3. The plaintiff alleges that the film constitutes a breach of a non-disparagement clause in a 27-year-old agreement, one that provided the pay network with rights to air a televised concert following the release of Jackson's album Dangerous. But the Michael Jackson Estate doesn't actually wish to litigate in open court. Instead, Jackson's heirs invoked an arbitration clause in that old deal and aimed to get a Los Angeles Superior Court judge to compel a showdown before the American Arbitration Association.
In response, HBO had the case removed from state to federal court in California. Characterizing the Michael Jackson Estate's whole legal endeavor as a "transparent effort to bolster their publicity campaign against the documentary" by skirting legal precedent against posthumous defamation claims, HBO denied there was any enforceable agreement that hadn't expired and actually covered Leaving Neverland. The AT&T subsidiary further argued that any over-reading of the 1992 contract would violate both its due process rights as well as the First Amendment.
The controversy surrounding documentary "Leaving Neverland" is "just a blip" according to Michael Jackson's former lawyer.
Thomas Mesereau, who successfully defended the late King of Pop against similar accusations in 2004, told TooFab exclusively that the damning HBO documentary will soon be forgotten about.
"I think his outstanding qualities will win out," he said on Wednesday night. "He was a great artist, a great person, honest, decent... I think in the end all the good qualities of Michael Jackson will prevail."