The director of the Michael Jackson abuse documentary Leaving Neverland has suggested that members of the singer’s staff were involved in covering up his alleged sexual abuse of children.
Director Dan Reed made the comments in an interview with The Sunday Times in the U.K.
The film raises questions over the role of his entourage in hiding Jackson's behavior; at one stage it describes a system of bells in Jackson's Neverland ranch that warned Jackson if anyone was coming.
However, members of staff who have actually dared to speak up over the years are few and far between. A maid who claims she saw Jackson and Wade Robson (one of the two men interviewed at length in the film) naked in the shower testified in court, as did some security guards, but Reed says that many lower-paid staff were afraid to.
“Still now, long after Jackson’s death, people are afraid of him. People seem afraid of raising their voices. The estate has a reputation of shrinking from nothing,” Reed says.
“Anthony Pellicano was the private investigator hired by Jackson’s lawyers to ‘take care of’ the first set of child-abuse allegations. This is a man who’s spent years in jail, having been caught with explosives.”
Reed adds: “There is a fear that prevented people speaking out, but then there’s the question of the higher-ranking figures in the household. That I can only address with a question. I wonder how much people close to Jackson, people facilitating everything he did day by day ... I wonder whether they asked themselves, ‘Why is Michael sleeping with little boys night after night after night for years? What does he do with these little boys?’”
Jackson supporters have objected to the film on many counts, but principally they have argued its credibility is damaged because both its principal subjects, Robson and James Safechuck, denied for many years, even under oath, that Jackson abused them.
Reed, who says the estate’s “go-to technique is to shame the victims,” tells The Sunday Times in response to this objection: “At the time of allegations in 1993, detectives came to their house and the family told them to go away. And the detective turned to the mum and said, ‘OK. But when your son’s in his thirties, he’s going to say, ‘Michael Jackson abused me.’ Any police detective who works on these cases will say that when you’re abused at the age of seven, or whatever, you’re not equipped to understand. You don’t feel it’s weird, necessarily. It’s your first sexual experience, so that’s what sex is, right? That feeling continues through your twenties, and it’s only when you get to your thirties, and you’re not hurtling forward through life, that you go, ‘That was weird.’”
“[Jackson] cared. He was their lover. He was dazzling and, at the same time, what he did was child rape. The psychological after-effects of that are being felt much later in their lives.”