Abu Dhabi, UAETuesday 25 June 2019

Michael Jackson's estate promotes concert video as 'Leaving Neverland' documentary airs

The singer's Twitter account attempted to distract viewers by uploading a two-hour performance to YouTube

Michael Jackson, pictured in 1993, during his 'Dangerous World Tour' in Singapore. AFP
Michael Jackson, pictured in 1993, during his 'Dangerous World Tour' in Singapore. AFP

As a controversial new documentary re-examining allegations of sexual abuse against Michael Jackson hit screens, the singer's estate made an attempt to change the narrative.

When Leaving Neverland aired on HBO on March 3, the Jackson estate’s Twitter account shared a link to the singer's Live in Bucharest (The Dangerous Tour) concert. The film of the performance, which was recorded in 1992, ran for two hours and two minutes – roughly the same length as the first episode of the two-part documentary, which features interviews with two men who allege they were sexually abused by Jackson when they were children.

"Don’t miss the magic from the King of Pop himself! Immerse yourself in Michael Jackson. Live in Bucharest and Live at Wembley Stadium available for a limited time on Michael Jackson’s YouTube!" tweeted the Thriller star's estate, with the Romanian show garnering more than 150,000 views since being published.

The account also revealed that the Live at Wembley Stadium concert will land on YouTube on March 4, at the same time the second part of Leaving Neverland will air.

The documentary, which first premiered at the 2019 Sundance Film Festival, features on-camera interviews with accusers Wade Robson and James Safechuck, with testimonies from family members, as well as old footage of Jackson.

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

The lawsuit claimed that "Michael Jackson is innocent", adding: "In 2005, Michael Jackson was subjected to a trial – where rules of evidence and law were applied before a neutral judge and jury and where both sides were heard – and he was exonerated by a sophisticated jury."

HBO, however, said it would broadcast the documentary – which was directed by Dan Reedus – as scheduled.

"Despite the desperate lengths taken to undermine the film, our plans remain unchanged," a statement sent to AFP at the time said. "This will allow everyone the opportunity to assess the film and the claims in it for themselves."

FILE - In this Jan. 24, 2019, file photo, Wade Robson, from left, director Dan Reed and James Safechuck pose for a portrait to promote the film "Leaving Neverland" during the Sundance Film Festival in Park City, Utah. The documentary, which premiered at the Sundance Film Festival to a standing ovation, will begin airing on HBO on Sunday. (Photo by Taylor Jewell/Invision/AP, File)
Wade Robson, left, director Dan Reed, centre, and James Safechuck at the Sundance Film Festival. AP

Jackson, who died on June 25, 2009 after being given an overdose of the anesthetic 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.

Updated: March 4, 2019 01:21 PM

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