The director of the controversial Leaving Neverland documentary has admitted that one claim made by one of the men accusing Michael Jackson of sexual abuse may be inaccurate.
Leaving Neverland, which extensively covers claims from two men that Michael Jackson molested them for years in the 1990’s when they were children, sparked a ton of controversy when it aired on HBO last month.
In the polarizing documentary, James “Jimmy” Safechuck, who is considered the most credible and damaging accuser against Jackson, described in explicit detail how he was sexually assaulted in the train station of the pop icon’s Neverland Ranch.
However, Jackson biographer, Mike Smallcombe, has now come forward that there’s no way possible Safechuck was abused in that location because the train station wasn’t even built until at least two years after Safechuck claimed the abuse ended.
Smallcombe tweeted an image of a construction permit issued by Santa Barbara County on September 2nd, 1993.
The permit states that Neverland’s train station wasn’t opened until 1994, but in the documentary and in his lawsuit against Jackson’s estate, Safechuck claimed that he was sexually abused for four years until he turned 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
Smallcombe shared a photo of the area taken in August of 1993 showing that the train station wasn’t built yet. “The construction of the actual building was approved by Santa Barbara County on September 2, 1993,” he wrote.
The picture below was taken on August 25, 1993. The train station wasn’t there (top of image). Work on the floral clock had started.
The construction of the actual building was approved by Santa Barbara County on September 2, 1993 (see below).
End of discussion. pic.twitter.com/ycOTKw0Vj5
— Mike Smallcombe (@mikesmallcombe1) April 2, 2019
In light of his damning evidence, Leaving Neverland‘s director, filmmaker Dan Reed, said that he accepts that one detail could be incorrect, but instead of entirely discrediting Safechuck, he said Safechuck simply got the dates he was abused wrong.
Reed wrote in response to Smallcombe’s tweet: “Yeah there seems to be no doubt about the station date. The date they have wrong is the end of the abuse.”
Yeah there seems to be no doubt about the station date. The date they have wrong is the end of the abuse.
— Dan Reed (@danreed1000) March 31, 2019
Unwilling to accept Reed’s explanation, Smallcombe tweeted: “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.”
In response to an article from UK newspaper The Sun noting Reed’s “dramatic u-turn admitting Safechuck wasn’t abused by Michael Jackson on dates he claimed,” Reed wrote: “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.”
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.
— Dan Reed (@danreed1000) April 2, 2019
Responding to a Daily Mail article saying Reed admitted that a key element of Safechuck’s accusation could be wrong, Reed said: “Admitted what?? Safechuck was at Neverland after the train station was completed. He even took photos of the station, we put two of these in the film. And he’s clear in the documentary that the sexual contact with Jackson continued into his teens…”
Admitted what?? Safechuck was at Neverland after the train station was completed. He even took photos of the station, we put two of these in the film. And he’s clear in the documentary that the sexual contact with Jackson continued into his teens…
— Dan Reed (@danreed1000) April 2, 2019
Smallcombe also accused Jackson’s other accuser, Wade Robson, of lying because he stated in the film he was left on his own with Jackson while his family went on a vacation to the Grand Canyon. But signed testimony by Wad’es mother, Joy, stated in 1993 and 2016 depositions that the “whole family” went on the trip.
Smallombe tweeted: “Wade Robson told a detailed story of how he claimed he was abused for the first time. How his family left him at Neverland alone, and went to the Grand Canyon. This can now be proven as false. Yet he was able to tell it to the world, without any scrutiny.”
Reed in an earlier TV interview was adamant that Wade and Safechuck wereren’t after payouts from Jackson’s estate, but said the pair were simply looking for justice. Reed described the two men as “very credible witnesses” and insisted strong corroborating evidenced backed up their horrific allegations.
Reed told Good Morning Britain’s Piers Morgan and Susanna Reid last month: “They want justice, they are not fussed about the money. I don’t know what they would do with the money when they get it.”
Explaining why the men had not come forward before participating in the documentary, Reed said: “The thing you have to understand about child sexual abuse is that, very often, a strong bond forms between the predator and the child and that bond can last for many, many years and that’s what’s happened in this case.”
He added: “The corroborating evidence around their accounts is very strong, I’ve looked at that. If you watch the film and you see how their families have just been devastated by what happened. I mean, what mother would go on television and say, ‘I delivered my little boy into the hands of a predatory pedophile who I thought was my best friend?”
Wade Robson has been questioned about why he’s all of a sudden accusing Michael Jackson of abusing him, considering he appeared as a defense witness for Jackson in his 2005 child abuse court case
Reed claimed Robson was motivated to lie because he was “in love with Michael and he wanted to do everything he could to save the man that he saw as his father figure, his mentor and his former sexual partner.”