Michael Jackson Estate Slams 'Leaving Neverland' Documentary Over Sexual Abuse Allegations

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Michael Jackson's estate is speaking out ahead of the release of a new documentary about the late singer.

On Wednesday, the 2019 Sundance Film Festival announced that it will premiere Leaving Neverland -- a nearly four-hour-long documentary that details sexual abuse allegations against the King of Pop -- on Jan. 25.

On the festival's website, the documentary is described as featuring "gut-wrenching interviews" with two now-adult men -- James Safechuck and Wade Robson -- and their families, which detail "a portrait of sustained exploitation and deception, documenting the power of celebrity that allowed a revered figure to infiltrate the lives of starstruck children and their parents."

"As one of the world’s most celebrated icons, Michael Jackson represents many things to many people -- a pop star, a humanitarian, a beloved idol. When allegations of sexual abuse by Jackson involving young boys surfaced in 1993, many found it hard to believe that the King of Pop could be guilty of such unspeakable acts," the description reads. "In separate but parallel stories that echo one another, two boys were each befriended by Jackson, who invited them into his singular and wondrous world. Seduced by the singer’s fairy-tale existence and enthralled by their relationship with him, both boys' families were blind to the manipulation and abuse that he would ultimately subject them to."

On Thursday, HBO announced that it -- along with the U.K.'s Channel 4 -- plans to air the documentary this spring following its Sundance debut.

In a statement to ET on Thursday, Jackson's estate calls the documentary a "lurid production." 

“This is yet another lurid production in an outrageous and pathetic attempt to exploit and cash in on Michael Jackson," the statement reads. "Wade Robson and James Safechuck have both testified under oath that Michael never did anything inappropriate toward them. Safechuck and Robson, the latter a self-proclaimed ‘master of deception,' filed lawsuits against Michael’s Estate, asking for millions of dollars. Both lawsuits were dismissed." 

"This so -called ‘documentary’ is just another rehash of dated and discredited allegations," the statement continues. "It’s baffling why any credible filmmaker would involve himself with this project.”

Back in May, Jackson's estate also spoke out against The Last Days of Michael Jackson, an ABC News special. In a statement to ET, the estate called the special "another crass and unauthorized attempt to exploit the life, music and image of Michael Jackson without respect for Michael’s legacy, intellectual property rights or his children.”

The network responded to that and copyright infringement claims from the estate with a statement of its own.

“ABC News’ documentary explores the life, career and legacy of Michael Jackson, who remains of great interest to people worldwide,” an ABC News spokesperson told ET at the time. “The program does not infringe on his estate’s rights, but as a courtesy, we removed a specific image from the promotional material.”

Watch the video below for more on Jackson:

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