Michael Jackson’s estate has criticised a documentary, which alleges the late pop star was a child sex abuser.
‘Leaving Neverland’ will premiere at the Sundance Film Festival this month and features interviews with two men who say they were abused by the musician.
The men told the film-makers they were aged seven and 10 when Jackson began long-running relationships with them and their families, while also at the peak of his fame.
Now in their 30s, they allege they were sexually abused by the star.
Ahead of the documentary’s premiere, representatives for Jackson’s estate have issued a statement, which reads: “This is yet another lurid production in an outrageous and pathetic attempt to exploit and cash in on Michael Jackson.”
The title of the documentary, directed by Bafta-winner Dan Reed, references the Neverland Ranch in Santa Barbara County, California, where Jackson lived from 1988 to 2003.
Leaving Neverland’s synopsis reads: “Through gut-wrenching interviews with the now-adult men and their families, ‘Leaving Neverland’ crafts a portrait of sustained exploitation and deception, documenting the power of celebrity that allowed a revered figure to infiltrate the lives of starstruck children and their parents.”
Police raided the ranch in 2003 while investigating allegations Jackson had molested a 13-year-old boy.
The singer, one of the most influential and best-selling artists of all-time, was acquitted of all charges in 2005 following a high-profile trial.
He died in 2009, at the age of 50, while preparing for a series of 50 concerts that were scheduled to take place at London’s O2 Arena.
The cause of death was found to be an overdose of the anesthetic propofol.