'Leaving Neverland' director denies 'u-turn' over timeline of Michael Jackson abuse

Rachael Krishna
FILE – In this May 25, 2005 file photo, Michael Jackson arrives at the Santa Barbara County Courthouse for his child molestation trial in Santa Maria, Calif. (Aaron Lambert/Santa Maria Times via AP, Pool)

Leaving Neverland director Dan Reed has rebuked claims that his documentary got a piece of information wrong.

Michael Jackson biographer Mike Smallcombe, who penned the book Making Michael in 2016, challenged the filmmaker disputing the timeline of events in the explosive documentary that charts the alleged abuse of two young boys at the hands of the Thriller singer.

Smallcombe says one of the accusers, James Safechuck, couldn’t have been molested in a room at the Neverland train station between 1988 and 1992, as claimed in the two-part film, as it wasn’t built until 1994.

Reed initially engaged with the claims on Twitter, saying  “Yeah there seems to be no doubt about the station date. The date they have wrong is the end of the abuse.”

However, when this tweet was covered by media sites, Reed hit back, saying that the disputed station construction date does not take away from the accusers’ claims, and has denied making a “u-turn”.

Reed has repeatedly defended his documentary since it aired earlier this year, and defended accusers Wade Robson and Safechuck.  In an article for the Guardian last month Reed said, “Leaving Neverland has been seen by his many wild-eyed defenders as a “j’accuse” aimed at the legacy of Michael Jackson. It is not. It is a detailed, four-hour study of the psychology of child sexual abuse, told through two ordinary families who were groomed for 20 years by a paedophile masquerading as a trusted friend.”

Read more: Leaving Neverland director challenged on Jackson abuse dates 

On Jackson’s side, representatives for the deceased musician continue to firmly deny any accusations against him. The estate has sued HBO over the documentary and accused Reed of “violat[ing] every rule of responsible journalism and documentary filmmaking.”

FILE – In this Jan. 24, 2019, file photo, Wade Robson, from left, director Dan Reed and James Safechuck pose for a portrait to promote the film “Leaving Neverland” during the Sundance Film Festival in Park City, Utah. The documentary premiered at the Sundance Film Festival. (Photo by Taylor Jewell/Invision/AP, File)

Following the airing Leaving Neverland, multiple radio stations around the world have boycotted Jackson’s work.