Michael Jackson's estate slams 'Leaving Neverland' Emmy victory

Ben Arnold
Contributor
Michael Jackson arrives at the Oxford University Union to give a lecture, 2001. (Credit: REUTERS/Russell Boyce)

Michael Jackson's estate has condemned the Emmys after it awarded Leaving Neverland its highest documentary honour.

The two-part film, which made further allegations of rape and sexual abuse against the late singer, won in the Outstanding Documentary category at the Creative Arts Emmys last night.

Produced by HBO and Channel 4, and made by BAFTA-winner British director Dan Reed, it centred on the testimony of two men, Wade Robson and James Safechuck, who claim they were befriended by Jackson as children and later abused by him.

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“For a film that is a complete fiction to be honoured in a non-fiction Emmy category is a complete farce,” the estate said in a statement.

Dan Reed (Credit: Phil McCarten/Invision for the Television Academy/AP Images)

“Not one shred of proof supports this completely one-sided ... so-called documentary which was made in secrecy and for which not one person outside of the two subjects and their families were interviewed.”

Accepting the award at the Microsoft Theater in Los Angeles last night, Reed paid tribute to Safechuck and Robson, hailing their bravery.

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“None of this would have been possible without the incredible courage and determination of Wade and James and their families, and I wanted to salute that,” he said.

“This is one of the first times we’ve been able to shine light on child sexual abuse. 'The pattern of how it unfolds is not an easy story to tell. It often remains undisclosed for so many decades, so I thank them from the bottom of my heart.”

Wade Robson, from left, director Dan Reed and James Safechuck (Credit: Taylor Jewell/Invision/AP, File)

Prior to the ceremony, Reed was also asked about jokes made by comedian Dave Chappelle in a recent Netflix stand-up special.

Chappelle cast doubt on the testimony of Robson and Safechuck, but then went on to joke about the allegations of abuse surrounding Jackson, who died in 2009.

“You can make comedy out of so many other things. Why not do something brave instead of crapping on a victim of child rape?” Reed said.

Reed added that he found the jokes in Sticks and Stones to be 'completely revolting'.