Who Is Dan Reed? New Details On The Director Of The Michael Jackson Documentary 'Leaving Neverland'

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Who Is Dan Reed? New Details On The Director Of The Michael Jackson Documentary 'Leaving Neverland'

He took on a hard subject.

HBO's Leaving Neverland is an in depth, explosive look at the rumors that Michael Jackson had sexual relationships with young boys. The film's director did not shy away from telling it like it is. The story is told through the eyes of two men who claim to have been groomed by and then sexually abused by Jackson. Wade Robson and James Safechuck detail the ways that Michael drew them (and their parents) into his circle in order to have a sexual relationship with them. The Jackson family is suing HBO and the film's director, Dan Reed, and vehemently deny that any of the sexual misconduct allegations against the late Michael Jackson are true. Regarding the lawsuit against him, Reed told NME: “It’s not a platform for the Jackson estate to launch their campaign of counter-information. That’s not what we provide. In this documentary, people make very serious allegations about Michael Jackson. It’s not a piece of showbiz shim-sham.” So, who is Dan Reed, the director of Finding Neverland?

1. He's been making documentaries for decades

Dan Reed has been making documentary films for more than 20 years. He has covered subjects ranging from the 9/11 attacks to sex work to Christianity and religion to natural disasters and beyond. When he set out to tell Wade Robson and James Safechuck's stories, he was careful to take the time to research and verify what they were telling him. He told NPR that he examined their stories with "a good deal of skepticism." Reed verifed Robson and Safechuck's stories with documents from the police dating back to 1993. He also looked into the 2003 to 2005 charges against Jackson and said, “We found nothing that contradicted and we found quite a lot that corroborated Wade and James’s stories.”

RELATED: The 5 Most Shocking Revelations From The Michael Jackson 'Leaving Neverland' Documentary On HBO

2. He did not know much about Michael Jackson

Reed did not know about Michael Jackson or much about the allegations against the singer before he began working on Leaving Neverland. He hired a researcher to dive into the claims made by the men who have accused the pop singer of sexual abuse. He also says the fim isn't about Michael Jackson. It is about Robson and Safechuck coming to terms with what happened to them as children. In an interview with Billboard, Reed said that the two alleged victims are in the best position to teach families “about how this kind of grooming child sexual abuse really goes on.”

3. The reaction at Sundance

Reed took Leaving Neverland to the Sundance Film Festival in Park City, Utah. He said the audience's reaction humbed and surprised him At the end of the film, he received a standing ovation. He was not expecting that given the pedestal people put Michael Jackson on for so long. The Sundance audience's reaction was positive. “We didn’t know how people were gonna react at the end because there were people crying in the audience and there were people mumbling to each other and we had no idea what this all meant,” he siad. Reed notes that the audience’s standing ovation after the premiere of Leaving Neverland was a “turning point” in his life, and in the lives of Robson and Safechuck. “I thought, ‘Wow, people have identified with them. People believe them.’”

RELATED: Who Is Jordy Chandler? New Details On The Original Boy Who Accused Michael Jackson Of Child Abuse

4. Jackson's hard core fans are attacking him

Reed calls the fans of Michael Jackson that resent anything bad being said about their idol "MJ cultists." The attacks from Jackson's hardcore fans did not stop Reed from making the documentary.  "You have the people I call the 'MJ cultists', people who are just fanatical devotees and their first response is to be very vicious and nasty and will fling dirt in every direction they can. They’ve been on my case pretty much since the announcement. Some of it very nasty, vicious. I don’t want to quote anything but trust me, it’s not the kind of thing you want to read in the morning when you get up. But, mostly, I started to ignore it all and just filed it all in Junk and so did the other people in my company who had the misfortune to receive it.”

5. But most people fall in a grey area

Outside of the cult of Michael Jackson, Reed found that most people fell into a grey area, "where they’re like, ‘Yeah he was maybe a bit weird, a bit dodgy, maybe he was a pedophile, but we don’t really know’. And that’s the space that Jackson has inhabited since 2005, since he was acquitted. Most people have never been confronted with the evidence of his pedophile activity — until now.”

RELATED: Who Is James Safechuck? New Details About The Man Who Accused Michael Jackson Of Sexual Abuse In 'Leaving Neverland'

6. He credits the #MeToo movement

Reed believes that the #MeToo movement opened more people up to being able to actually hear the message in Leaving Neverland. The #MeToo movement helped convince Wade Robson’s mother to appear in the film. "I think we’re blessed with a kind of gathering momentum behind the idea that we should listen to the people who say they’ve been sexually abused, whether they’re women or children or men," Reed said.

Amy Lamare is a Los Angeles based freelance writer covering entertainment, pop culture, beauty, fashion, fitness, technology, and the intersection of technology, business, and philanthropy. She is deeply devoted to her chocolate Labrador and an avid long distance runner. You can find her on Instagram and Facebook.

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