Longtime Simpsons executive producer James L. Brooks told The Wall Street Journal on Thursday, March 7, that pulling the episode “feels clearly [like] the only choice to make” in light of the allegations made in the HBO doc.
“The guys I work with — where we spend our lives arguing over jokes — were of one mind on this,” Brooks told the newspaper.
Leaving Neverland, which premiered at the Sundance Film Festival in January, aired in two parts on HBO on Sunday, March 3, and Monday, March 4. In the film, Wade Robson and James Safechuck accused Jackson of sexually abusing them as children.
“He said, ‘This is how we show our love,’” Robson claimed in the documentary after alleging Jackson performed oral sex on him when he was 7 years old.
The Grammy winner, who denied previously allegations of sexual abuse before his death in 2009, was found not guilty in a 2005 trial.
Jackson’s estate slammed the documentary in a statement to Us Weekly in January: “The film takes uncorroborated allegations that supposedly happened 20 years ago and treats them as fact. These claims were the basis of lawsuits filed by these two admitted liars which were ultimately dismissed by a judge. The two accusers testified under oath that these events never occurred. They have provided no independent evidence and absolutely no proof in support of their accusations, which means the entire film hinges solely on the word of two perjurers.”
The pop star’s daughter, Paris Jackson, reacted to the allegations in a since-deleted tweet on Wednesday, March 6.
“I actually haven’t made any statements yet, especially regarding how it affects my work life,” she replied to an article that claimed she “believes her father, Michael, is innocent of sex abuse claims.”
She added: “You guys are reaching a bit. At least this wasn’t a disgusting and attacking article though. … Y’all take my life more seriously than I do. Calm yo tittaaaaysss.”
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