‘Leaving Neverland’ Director Dan Reed on Refuting Michael Jackson Defenders, the Psychology of Child Sexual Abuse, and a Potential Sequel

After shocking and disgusting audiences at the 2019 Sundance Film Festival, Leaving Neverland aired in two parts on HBO earlier this month. Wade Robson and James Safechuck’s damning accusations of years-long sexual abuse by Michael Jackson became one of the most successful documentary premieres in the network’s history.

Directed by Dan Reed, known for helming the documentaries The Paedophile Hunter and Three Days of Terror: The Charlie Hebdo Attacks, Leaving Neverland is told exclusively through people who had a direct role in the story because he believes that gives his documentaries a “real power.” He reiterates this documentary is about Wade and James, not the superstar. All footage and comments from the Jackson estate come from archive footage.

In our interview with Reed we discuss what Leaving Neverland did to his psyche, the process of turning hours of first-person interviews into a complete narrative, the overwhelming negative response from Jackson fans to the documentary,
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