A biopic on Michael Jackson is officially on the way. However, it appears that a film surrounding the life and times of the King Of Pop is already facing backlash. Leaving Neverland director Dan Reed published an op-ed in The Guardian where he slammed Lionsgate for moving forward with the film. The title of his op-ed reads, “This new Michael Jackson biopic will glorify a man who abused children.”
Reed’s op-ed not only criticized Lionsgate but also, the press for the “gentle raising of eyebrows” surrounding the film. The comment was made in response to The Hollywood Reporter which reported that the film will “address all aspects of Jackson’s life, though it is unclear how the film will address the many controversies involving” the singer. “No one is talking about ‘cancelling’ this movie, which will glorify a man who raped children,” he wrote. From there, he directed a question to the filmmakers involved, including director Antoine Fuqua.
“How will you represent the moment when Jackson, a grown man in his 30s, takes a child by the hand and leads him into that bedroom? How will you depict what happens next? By sidestepping the question of Jackson’s predilection for sleeping with young boys, you are broadcasting a message to millions of survivors of child sexual abuse. That message is: if a pedophile is rich and popular enough, society will forgive him.”
At this point, there aren’t many details surrounding the upcoming Michael Jackson biopic. However, Lionsgate confirmed it was in the works. Shortly after, Fuqua confirmed Jackson’s nephew, Jaafar Jackson, would take on the role of the late pop star.
Reed left people devastated when Leaving Neverland debuted in 2019. The four-hour documentary explored the stories of Wade Robson and James Safechuck and their relationship with Jackson. Though Robson previously testified on Jackson’s behalf, leading to his 2008 acquittal, he later said that he lied to protect his mentor and abuser.
Leaving Neverland ultimately went on to win a Creative Arts Emmy for Outstanding Documentary or Nonfiction Special. The documentary marked the first time when Jackson’s accusers spoke publicly about the alleged abuse they experienced. We’ll keep you posted on any more updates surrounding the biopic.
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