Sundance Increases Security for Michael Jackson Sexual Abuse Movie, Leaving Neverland, Amid Angry Fans, Threats
Because hardcore Michael Jackson fans don't want to see The King of Pop accused of sexual abuse again, and peaceful protests don't always happen.
The world premiere of Leaving Neverland, a documentary that focuses on the sexual abuse claims against Michael Jackson, will be met with increased security and police presence at Sundance. Park City Police Captain Phil Kirk told Deadline: “We have increased our staffing out of concerns for the potential for a protest.”
Leaving Neverland, a 236-minute documentary is set to premiere at Sundance on January 25. The increased police presence for the Michael Jackson sexual abuse movie comes in the wake of direct threats made against its director, Dan Reed, according to Deadline.
“Tensions are higher for this movie than anything I’ve ever seen at Sundance before,” a law enforcement source said. “No one is going to be prevented from exercising their Constitutional rights, but we are not going to allow this to get out of hand, in any way.” he added.
In addition to the outside security checks, Leaving Neverland’s Egyptian Theatre screening will have heightened security measures inside, too. Plans to up security when the movie screens in Salt Lake City on January 26 are also in place.
As for protests, people will be able to express their right to do so in Salt Lake City, but police presence will potentially include the bomb squad.
A Michael Jackson Sexual Abuse Movie Does Not Sit Well With Fans
Sundance and Salt Lake City seem to be planning for the worst, presumably because overzealous fans of Michael Jackson are unhappy about a movie investigating sexual abuse claims against the singer is premiering to an in-person audience on a large scale. The Michael Jackson estate said the film is “just another rehash of dated and discredited allegations.”
Leaving Neverland is already set to premiere on HBO in the spring, as well as on Channel 4 in the UK, similar to how Brexit released. The Michael Jackson sexual abuse movie focuses on Wade Robson and James Safechuck, two men who claim Michael Jackson sexually abused them when they were 7 and 10, respectively.
Both Robson and Safechuck are in Park City and scheduled to partake in a Q&A with Reed after the Leaving Neverland screening. But, if security concerns continue to rise, that could change.
Leaving Neverland’s 2019 release coincides with the 10-year anniversary of Michael Jackson’s death.