AceShowbiz - Michael Jackson's family has criticised a new documentary, featuring two men accusing him of sexual abuse, describing it as a "public lynching."
Filmmaker Dan Reed's four-hour expose, "Leaving Neverland", debuted at the Sundance Film Festival in Park City, Utah on Friday, January 25. In the film two men, dance choreographer Wade Robson and former child actor James Safechuck accuse Jackson, who died aged 50 in 2009, of sexually abusing them as boys.
Members of the Jackson clan issued an official response slamming the film on Monday, January 28, stating they are "furious" the two men's claims are receiving attention.
"Michael always turned the other cheek, and we have always turned the other cheek when people have gone after members of our family - that is the Jackson way," their statement to the Associated Press read. "But we can't just stand by while this public lynching goes on ... Michael is not here to defend himself, otherwise these allegations would not have been made."
Their angry missive also pointed out that the father-of-three was acquitted of molesting a 13-year-old Gavin Arvizo in 2005, following a police investigation that included a raid on his Neverland Ranch. Robson testified in Jackson's defence during that trial and in a 1993 investigation into allegations the singer had abused another teenage boy, Jordan 'Jordy' Chandler. Safechuck gave evidence in the first case, but refused to testify in the 2005 trial.
Both men later changed their stories and filed lawsuits alleging the musician had abused them in 2013 - which have since been dismissed for technical reasons.
The family's statement called the two accusers "perjurers" and fumed that they were "furious" journalists had taken the two "admitted liars" claims seriously "over the word of hundreds of families and friends around the world who spent time with Michael."
The family insists that truth and evidence are on their side.
"We are proud of what Michael Jackson stands for," the statement said.
Representatives of Jackson's estate have also slammed "Leaving Neverland", as has his nephew Taj Jackson. The singer's children, Michael, Jr., 21, Paris Jackson, 20, and Prince Michael, 16, have yet to publicly comment on the film. Reed has defended his film, claiming the denunciations contain "no substantial criticism" of his work.