Michael Jackson Supporters Protest in London Ahead of 'Leaving Neverland' U.K. Broadcast
A group demonstrated outside the headquarters of Channel 4, which is airing the explosive documentary in two parts, starting Wednesday.
The noise surrounding Michael Jackson documentary Leaving Neverland has found its way over the Atlantic.
The explosive film detailing allegations of sexual abuse committed by the late pop icon is set to air in the U.K. in two parts on Channel 4, starting Wednesday night. Ahead of the first broadcast, a group of protestors gathered outside the network's London headquarters.
According to reports, the group of about 20-30 Jackson fans, many brandishing placards, amassed outside the Channel 4 offices around midday Wednesday, with one having traveled from as far away as Austria.
The protestors chanted "innocent," "facts don't lie" and "Channel 4, shame on you," claimed music weekly NME, adding that they criticized the accounts of Wade Robson and James Safechuck, the two men in the film, saying they "hijacked the #MeToo movement."
In Leaving Neverland, Robson and Safechuck say they were sexually abused by the late music icon when they were boys and detail a pattern of behavior that allowed both them and their families to feel safe initially, an escalation of abusive behavior as the boys became teenagers and a re-emergence of the experience in their lives when Jackson was taken to court over other allegations of abuse.
Jackson's estate has denied the allegations, and is suing HBO for $100 million, claiming the cable outlet violated a non-disparagement clause in a contract for a 1992 concert special.
"Leaving Neverland: Michael Jackson and Me examines allegations of sexual abuse of young boys made against Michael Jackson and carries testimony from men who speak about their childhood experiences with Mr Jackson," said a spokesperson from Channel 4 in a statement to The Hollywood Reporter.
"Channel 4 has a remit to deliver high quality news and current affairs, and an excellent track record for investigative documentary journalism. It is in the public interest to allow these individuals to tell of their interactions with Michael Jackson. He was of course a high-profile figure whose work still entertains millions of people but who was previously accused of child sex abuse. Viewers will make their own judgement about the testimony of the two victims interviewed in the film when it airs tonight and tomorrow.