Channel 4 sets premiere date for controversial Michael Jackson film

Justin Harp
Photo credit: Rick Diamond/WireImage - Getty Images

From Digital Spy

The following article contains discussion of sexual misconduct allegations that some readers may find upsetting.

Channel 4 has announced a two-night premiere schedule for its controversial Michael Jackson documentary Leaving Neverland.

The two-part film had its world premiere at the Sundance Film Festival last month, and features interviews with two men who allege that they were abused by the singer as children.

Jackson's estate has condemned Leaving Neverland as an attempt at "character assassination", and alleged that it treats "uncorroborated allegations" from two decades ago "as fact".

However, Channel 4 is standing behind the documentary and will air it over two nights on Wednesday, March 6 and Thursday, March 7 at 9pm.

Previously, Channel 4 has described Leaving Neverland as an "extraordinarily compelling, yet moving film". The project was commissioned along with HBO over in the US.

Like Channel 4, HBO programming president Casey Bloys told reporters at the TCA press tour in Los Angeles over the weekend that the Jackson estate's objections would not stop the airing of the documentary in the US.

Photo credit: Robyn Beck-Pool/Getty Images

"The show is airing," he insisted. "It's not changing because of the letter [from the estate] and I ask that everybody watch it and decide for themselves. It's a very, very powerful documentary and I think once they see it, they'll understand."

Bloys added: "There are no plans to take a meeting [with them]. We are airing the documentary and the letter is not going to change that."

Leaving Neverland will also air on HBO in the US on consecutive nights, on Sunday, March 3 and Monday, March 4.

Rape Crisis England and Wales works towards the elimination of all forms of sexual violence and sexual misconduct. If you’ve been affected by the issues raised in this story, you can access more information on their website or by calling the National Rape Crisis Helpline on 0808 802 9999. Rape Crisis Scotland’s helpline number is 08088 01 03 02.

Readers in the US are encouraged to contact RAINN, or the National Sexual Assault Hotline on 800-656-4673.

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