The focus of the third and final episode on Leaving Neverland is how filmmaker Dan Reed continues the pattern of deceit in his promotional interviews. Through his responses, Reed reveals that he is not interested in the accuracy of his film, only the impact of this film. The episode concludes by taking a measure of how Leaving Neverland matches up with accepted standards for documentary filmmaking.
Dan Reed's interview in Vanity Fair, February 2019
Reed implies there was no point in interviewing anyone else for his film. "I found Wade and James’ accounts so persuasive and internally consistent and credible that I thought it wasn’t worth breaking the storytelling perspective completely to introduce extraneous people who didn’t have the kind of intimate access to Jackson, who weren’t part of that world that he created around the kids and the abuse." He also says how he spent 2 days filming Safechuck and 3 days with Robson. But according to deception experts, liars plan their lies down to the last detail and work to make their stories consistent and persuasive. How does Reed know they aren't lying? Talking to others may have revealed a history of deceptive behavior.
( at 5:06 into interview) This is one of many interviews in which Reed basically says he doesn't want to bother interviewing Jackson's family or lawyers because what are they going to say--that he's a nice guy? But how does Reed know what they'll say unless he asks?
Journalist Charles Thomson rebuttal interview
Charles Thomson in a radio interview after the release of Leaving Neverland, explaining the evidence that the accusers in the film should not be trusted based on their deceptiveness in their legal claims. At no point does Thomson use Reed's "Well, Jackson's a nice guy" to defend Jackson.
Reed's "lights went out" defense
Reed states in his Oprah interview, among many others, that he didn’t interview anyone but Robson & Safechuck because they were the only ones there when the doors closed and the lights went out.
Another interview where Dan Reed says he didn’t interview others because they weren’t there “when the lights went out”
Shawn Welling says he doesn't believe Wade
Shawn Welling is the director of Planet Funk Academy, knows Wade through the dance community, and considered him a friend. After Leaving Neverland, he publicly stated that he does not believe his allegations, based on his personal relationship with Wade. Although Reed would say someone like Welling wasn't there, "when the lights went out,", he is someone who was a friend of Wade's and doesn't believe him. Even if Reed didn't want to include someone like Welling in his film, it's the kind of interview that Dan Reed should have been interested in if he was making an honest attempt at establishing Wade's credibility. It's the lack of curiosity by Reed that's a problem.
LaVelle Smith Jr. also knew Wade through the dance community and publicly stated that he believes Wade is lying
Dan Reed on the people working around Jackson
(at 20:15 into interview ) This interview includes Reed's statements about wondering what Jackson's entourage might have to say about Jackson's relationships with boys. Reed says he's never heard an explanation. I find this a baffling statement to make, because as a journalist, he shouldn't just be imagining what these people might say, he should be asking them directly; especially because he implicates them as ignoring or possibly enabling abuse.
Studio Engineer Brad Sundberg on Wade's claim of abuse in the studio
Sundberg was in the recording studio every day during the time period Robson says he was abused. Sundberg counters the Leaving Neverland claims in The Hustle podcast on March 16, 2019, with his own accounts of working very closely with Michael Jackson for 18 years. Sundberg says there is no way abuse happened in that recording studio, and he doesn't believe Jackson was a child molester.
“Every time a song plays, a cash register goes ‘ka-ching.’ It doesn’t surprise me that they’ve come out fighting in defense of their asset." One of the many interviews where Reed discusses the financial incentive of the Jackson estate to defend him, without acknowledging his own financial interests in a guilty narrative, and the financial interests of his film subjects.
In his Today show interview, Reed is asked if the accusations of Robson and Safechuck are about money, referring to their lawsuits filed against Jackson’s companies. Reed deflects the question: “It is about money, it’s about the Jackson estate’s money and protecting an asset.”
(at 2:03 into interview)
In his Good Morning Britain interview when asked about the accusers financial motives, Reed tells Piers Morgan, “You’re swallowing the Jackson line hook line and sinker, that it’s all about the money.” (at 7:50 into interview)
Dan Reed refuses to acknowledge that Robson and Safechuck have a financial incentive in their accusations. His Good Morning Britain interview of 2019 was one of the few interviews where Reed was pushed on this point of money motive. (at 8:40 into interview)
Further evidence that Dan Reed was keeping the project a secret. Sound engineer Kevin Lipsey shares his experience of being hired to work on an event for Leaving Neverland.
Reed only interviews police and prosecutors:
Dan Reed, in this interview with the LA Times, says he talked to prosecutors and police detectives to "validate" his subjects claims. He also says it was after talking to Wade that convinced him of his stories truthfulness, not fact-checking the claims.
Dan Reed's "massive corroborating evidence"
In his Good Morning Britain interview, Reed says he found massive corroborating evidence for Robson and Safechuck’s claims of abuse, but when asked to elaborate he only mentions eyewitness statements by the cook, the chambermaid, and the driver. But these former Neverland employees only came up with these eyewitness stories after tabloid money was being offered.
(at :48 into interview)
3 articles on why paying sources for stories is unreliable and unethical:
Dan Reed questions the 2005 not guilty verdict
Dan Reed in his interviews cavalierly challenges the acquittals in the 2005 trial against Jackson. He parrots the prosecution spin that Jackson was acquitted because of the focus on the mother, Janet Arvizo, who he excuses by offhandedly saying her offense was shoplifting. (at :48 into interview)
New York Times interview with Dan Reed in which he calls Jackson fans the Islamic State of fandom
Reed is propagating unfounded rumors:
Reed has repeated the inflammatory falsehood that Jordan Chandler’s description of Jackson’s privates matched the photos of him, but this statement is completely unfounded, and based on the trickery of DA Tom Sneddon in using his position of authority to mislead the public. Reed ignores the evidence that Jordan Chandler got the circumcision issue wrong. Here's an explanation by Jackson’s 2005 trial investigator, Scott Ross, on the most obvious evidence that there was no match. Not only would Jackson have been arrested if there was a match, he would also have received a grand jury indictment, since grand juries are considered rubber stamps for prosecutors. But 2 separate Grand Juries did not indict Jackson, indicating a lack of substantive evidence.
Reuters source for photos of Jackson's privates not a match with Jordan's description
Tom Sneddon’s motion to admit Jordan’s description and drawing
Jordan Chandler’s claim that Jackson was circumcised from Santa Barbara Sheriff’s office affidavit allegedly leaked to the Smoking Gun
Explanation about how Jordan Chandler’s drawing of Jackson’s privates did not match photos:
Grand Jury Info about why prosecutors chose them:
Grand Jury disbands without indictment against Jackson on April 29th
Reed distorts the facts from Jackson's 1993 settlement with the Chandlers:
Reed brings up the 1993 settlement with Jordan Chandler in this BBC interview, (at 12:40 into interview) saying he was paid off to drop his case, and that Jackson bought his silence. But Reed fails to acknowledge that the Chandlers from the start had no interest in testifying in court about Jordan’s claims which is why they forced Jackson into a precarious legal situation, pressuring him to settle the civil case as we discussed in the Chandler episodes. The Chandlers were still perfectly free to testify against Jackson in his criminal case back in 1994 if they were interested in pursuing justice, but by Evan Chandler’s own words, he made it clear that they never wanted to do that.
Chandler Settlement Information:
Why settle a civil suit if you are innocent:
Dan Reed's problematic twitter response to the discrediting train station story from Safechuck
"Nope. No u-turn. No clash of dates. James was present at Neverland before and after the train station was built. In fact he took photos of the completed station which we included in the doc. And his sexual contact with Michael lasted into his teens. That’s all in the film." So Reed confidently claims that the train station abuse occurred after it’s 1994 completion, when Safechuck was at least 16. This response contradicts Safechuck's own ongoing lawsuit, which specifically details that the abuse slowed down in 1990 and completely stopped in 1992 when Safechuck was 12. Reed also contradicts his own film, because Safechuck gives his train station story in the segment that's before 1990, and he says it happened early in the relationship. Reed is also contradicting a major theme in his film and his interviews that Jackson loses interest in boys at puberty. And by saying Safechuck has photos of the train station proves nothing except that Safechuck had been to Neverland after the train station was constructed, but we already knew he visited the ranch without Jackson present well into his teenage years.
In this interview from March 4, 2019 Dan Reed contradicts his twitter response (From April 2, 2019) that the train station abuse must have happened after it was constructed in 1994, when Safechuck was 16: "He liked prepubescent boys, and he did have sex with Wade and James up to about the age of 14. Beyond that, I haven’t heard of a victim older than 14."
Reed's response to Mark Geragos quote
Geragos himself corrected the Leaving Neverland error in a tweet, noting that his press conference comments referred to the Xtra jet case, not the Arvizos. But Reed doubled down when confronted with this edited clip, stating, "His remarks at the press conference have everything to do with Jackson's accusers.”
Dan Reed emphasizes romance narrative in LA Times:
In his LA Times interview, Reed says, “Robson had a fulfilling sexual and emotional relationship at the age of 7 with a 30-year-old man who happened to be the King of Pop. And because he enjoyed it, he loved Michael, and the sex was pleasant. I’m sorry, that’s just the reality.”
Romance theme in Rolling Stone interview
Reed says, “Michael was Wade’s lover." In other statements, Dan Reed reveals that for him, the most upsetting part about Robson and Safechuck’s stories is not the physical abuse, but that Jackson cheated on them with other boys or dumped them. “The wedding was a token of Michael’s love and how they were going to be together forever. To me that’s repugnant, because obviously Michael had no intention of being with James forever and probably had slept with many other boys. We know he did. We know he slept with Wade while he was seeing James.” He leaves out the threats and fear in their lawsuits, and how that conflicts with the pure love angle in the film.
Romance theme in Cosmopolitan interview from March 2019
Dan Reed states, “Arguably the most harrowing part of the film is how both Wade and James were dropped for other children.” Reed says when Jackson dropped the accusers for other kids, that was the cruelest cut.
Harvard’s Journalist’s Resource recommending Frontline standards
Frontline’s documentary standards
Dan Reed's right of reply defense
When Dan Reed is questioned about fairness he always responds that because he included Michael Jackson’s videotaped statements of innocence he has fairly given him representation in the film.
Leaving Neverland wins Emmy for best nonfiction documentary in 2019
Dan Reed statement that Jackson supporters have not provided any credible challenge to the allegations in Leaving Neverland
In opening arguments for the negligence suit brought by Jackson's mother, AEG lawyer threatened that ugly stuff about Jackson's behavior would be coming out
2 days later Wade Robson announces on the Today Show that he was abused by Jackson
Jackson's trial lawyer from 2005 Tom Mesereau suggests a possible link between Wade Robson's announcement and the AEG civil case
The documentary, Untouchable, about the allegations of sex abuse by Harvey Weinstein, also premiered at Sundance in 2019. Before the late entry of Leaving Neverland, the Weinstein doc was the most talked about film. But after Leaving Neverland, Weinstein was overshadowed by all the coverage of Michael Jackson.
Leaving Neverland was a late entry to the Sundance Film Festival in 2019.
The New York Times reported how Weinstein would use his ties to the press to churn out sensational stories about celebrities such as Michael Jackson to distract from the bad publicity surrounding the allegations against Weinstein.
The lead attorney for AEG in fighting Katherine Jackson’s lawsuit was Martin Putnam. His wife Keri Putnam was working as the executive director for Sundance when Leaving Neverland was released in 2019. She also worked for HBO which backed Leaving Neverland, and she worked for Miramax, Harvey Weinstein’s company.
AEG lawyer's wife Keri Putnam was working as the Executive Director for the Sundance Festival when Leaving Neverland premiered in 2019. Putnam's jobs prior to Sundance included first HBO, which released Leaving Neverland, and she worked for Miramax, Harvey Weinstein's film company.
Co-founder of Sundance admitted to child molestation charges and publicized in early February 2019. Drowned out by the Michael Jackson documentary Leaving Neverland.