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Ofcom Rejects Complaints About Michael Jackson Documentary Leaving Neverland

HuffPost UK logo HuffPost UK 25/03/2019 Daniel Welsh
a person wearing a red dress standing in front of a stage: Michael Jackson © PA Wire/PA Images Michael Jackson

Ofcom has rejected hundreds of complaints made about the documentary Leaving Neverland, which details allegations of sexual abuse made against Michael Jackson.

The media regulator received a total of 230 complaints from viewers of the two-part Channel 4 documentary, who felt that it wasn’t made clear enough that the accusations described had not been proved in court, and had been vehemently denied by the Jackson estate.

Singer Michael Jackson.  (Photo by Time Life Pictures/DMI/The LIFE Picture Collection/Getty Images) © Time Life Pictures Singer Michael Jackson. (Photo by Time Life Pictures/DMI/The LIFE Picture Collection/Getty Images)

However, Ofcom did not agree, and has decided not to take the matter any further.

They said: “We understand that this two-part documentary gave rise to strong opinions from viewers. In our view, the allegations were very clearly presented as personal testimonies and it was made clear that the Jackson family rejects them.”

Ofcom also received four complaints about the graphic nature of the descriptions of abuse, though they said that Channel 4 clearly made viewers aware that the content was coming, and that Leaving Neverland was not inappropriate to show after the 9pm watershed.

Brenda Jenkyns who drove from Calgary, Canada stands with a sign outside of the premiere of the "Leaving Neverland" Michael Jackson documentary film at the Egyptian Theatre on Main Street during the 2019 Sundance Film Festival, Friday, Jan. 25, 2019, in Park City, Utah. (Photo by Danny Moloshok/Invision/AP) © Danny Moloshok/Invision/AP Brenda Jenkyns who drove from Calgary, Canada stands with a sign outside of the premiere of the "Leaving Neverland" Michael Jackson documentary film at the Egyptian Theatre on Main Street during the 2019 Sundance Film Festival, Friday, Jan. 25, 2019, in Park City, Utah. (Photo by Danny Moloshok/Invision/AP) Leaving Neverland aired in two parts on Channel 4 earlier this month, focussing on James Safechuck and Wade Robson’s detailed accounts of sexual abuse at the hands of Jackson when they were children.

The documentary has been blasted by the Jackson estate, who previously urged Channel 4 to rethink their plans to screen it, vehemently denying all allegations against the late singer.

Wade Robson, from left, director Dan Reed and James Safechuck pose for a portrait to promote the film "Leaving Neverland" at the Salesforce Music Lodge during the Sundance Film Festival on Thursday, Jan. 24, 2019, in Park City, Utah. (Photo by Taylor Jewell/Invision/AP) © Taylor Jewell/Invision/AP Wade Robson, from left, director Dan Reed and James Safechuck pose for a portrait to promote the film "Leaving Neverland" at the Salesforce Music Lodge during the Sundance Film Festival on Thursday, Jan. 24, 2019, in Park City, Utah. (Photo by Taylor Jewell/Invision/AP)

In a letter to the Associated Press, they wrote: “I think we can all agree that the false allegations being made in your ‘documentary’ are ‘significant allegations’. It is hard to imagine more significant accusations that can possibly be made against anyone.”

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