The director of the controversial Leaving Neverland documentary is now conceding that one claim made by one of Michael Jackson’s alleged victims may be inaccurate.
According to the Daily Mail, in the polarizing HBO special that premiered last month, James Safechuck — who is widely considered the most credible and damaging accuser against the pop icon — described in detail how he was sexually assaulted in Jackson’s Neverland train station.
However, Jackson biographer, Mike Smallcombe, has now come forward to point out the abuse couldn’t have taken place in that location because the station wasn’t even built until two years after Safechuck says the the abuse ended.
This week, Smallcombe even tweeted an image of the construction permit issued by Santa Barbara County in September 2, 1993, which states Neverland station was not opened until 1994. But in interviews and in his lawsuit against the Jackson estate, Safechuck claimed that he was abused for four years until the age of 14 – which would fall between 1988 and 1992.
In the last couple of hours I’ve been given access to the Santa Barbara County construction permits for the Neverland train station by my source – approved Sept 2, 1993 pic.twitter.com/xjtfvEvsUu
— Mike Smallcombe (@mikesmallcombe1) March 30, 2019
In light of this evidence, filmmaker Dan Reed says he accepts that one detail maybe incorrect. But instead of discrediting Safechuck entirely, he explains he simply got the date his abuse finished wrong.
“Yeah there seems to be no doubt about the station date. The date they have wrong is the end of the abuse,” he wrote in response to Smallcombe’s tweet.
The biographer seemed unwilling to accept this explanation, writing to his Twitter followers:
So @danreed1000 is now saying because the story has been debunked, suddenly the end of Safechuck’s abuse was when he was 16/17 rather than 14. It’s a three year discrepancy. Just hold your hands up, don’t change the story. This is what happens when you don’t investigate properly. https://t.co/EydUEztVJJ
— Mike Smallcombe (@mikesmallcombe1) March 31, 2019
Smallcombe is not the only one questioning the accuracy of Leaving Neverland.
Jackson’s former personal bodyguard Matt Fiddes, who worked for Jackson for ten years until his 2009 death said in an interview with the BBC that the documentary left out that Safechuck and co-accuser Wade Robson have launched lawsuits against Jackson’s estate — which potentially could see them cashing in on their claims, according to the U.K. tabloid The Mirror.
Fiddes, who now heads up a multi-million dollar global fitness company, called the allegations against Jackson “nonsense.”
The Jackson family has filed a lawsuit against HBO and are considering suing Robson and Safeschuck.