Abu Dhabi, UAETuesday 22 October 2019

'Leaving Neverland': Dubai's Cinema Akil to screen Michael Jackson documentary

The HBO film features interviews with two men who allege the singer sexually abused them as children

Michael Jackson arrives at court for his child molestation trial in 2005, in which he was later acquitted. AP
Michael Jackson arrives at court for his child molestation trial in 2005, in which he was later acquitted. AP

It left audiences stunned and shocked when it premiered at the Sundance Film Festival in January, and now the harrowing documentary Leaving Neverland is coming to the UAE.

The four-hour film, in which renewed sexual abuse claims are made against singer Michael Jackson, is set to be screened at Cinema Akil in Dubai next month.

The HBO documentary by Dan Reed will be shown at the Alserkal Avenue arthouse theatre on Wednesday, April 24 at 7pm, and on Saturday, April 27 at 2pm. Both screenings will be followed by a panel discussion, and tickets are priced at Dh52.50.

The documentary, which was aired in two parts on HBO earlier this month, focuses on the stories of two men, Wade Robson and James Safechuck, who claim the Thriller singer abused them as children at the height of his fame.

The documentary also includes testimonies from family members, as well as old footage of Jackson.

"At the height of his stardom, the world's biggest pop star, Michael Jackson, began long-running relationships with two boys, aged seven and 10, and their families. They now allege that he sexually abused them," Cinema Akil's synopsis reads.

Wade Robson, from left, director Dan Reed and James Safechuck pose for a portrait to promote the film "Leaving Neverland" at the Salesforce Music Lodge during the Sundance Film Festival on Thursday, Jan. 24, 2019, in Park City, Utah. (Photo by Taylor Jewell/Invision/AP)
Wade Robson, director Dan Reed and James Safechuck at the Sundance Film Festival. AP

The artist's estate has made repeated bids to quash and discredit Leaving Neverland, filing a $100 million (Dh367.3m) lawsuit against HBO just two weeks before the film first aired.

In the wake of the documentary, Canada's Cogeco – which operates 22 radio stations across Quebec and one in Ontario – has stopped playing music from the singer, as has New Zealand's MediaWorks.

The Los Angeles Lakers have also replaced Jackson’s song Beat It from their entertainment, while producers from The Simpsons have pulled a 1991 episode starring Jackson from circulation.

Jackson, who died on June 25, 2009 after being given an overdose of the anaesthetic propofol, faced multiple allegations of child sex abuse during his lifetime.

In addition to his 2005 acquittal the performer paid a $15m court settlement in 1994 over allegations involving another child.

For more information on the Leaving Neverland screening, visit www.cinemaakil.com

Updated: March 28, 2019 09:50 AM

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