The police were more in the majority than the demonstrators at the world premiere of Leaving Neverland & # 39 ;, a new documentary in which the allegations of sexual abuse of children against Michael Jackson, debuting at the Sundance Film Festival, are being investigated.
As press and attendees poured into the Egyptian theater, they passed two women carrying placards on which stood & # 39; Find Truth & # 39 ;.
"I'm here to stand up for him," said Brenda Jenkyns, a Jackson fan who made the trip to Park City, Utah, from her home in Calgary, Canada. "It is important that people look at the facts because the truth is not black and white."
Jenkyns said she first discovered the pop star by following the coverage of his death in 2009 and was impressed by his commitment to humanitarian goals. & Leaving Neverland & # 39 ;, a four-hour documentary by Dan Reed, gives a very different picture of the singer as a man who used his celebrity to sexually abuse and exploit children. The film includes interviews with Wade Robson and James Safechuck, two men claiming that they were sexually abused by Jackson when they were children. Robson's account is controversial because he said under oath that Jackson never behaved inappropriately before he changed his account in a lawsuit in 2016. Safechuck filed a separate series in 2014.
"This film is not about giving a voice to a victim," said Catherine Van Tighem, a fan who came to Sundance from Alberta, Canada. "The people in this movie have already had their day in court and they have been legally denied, they sought financial gain and the case was rejected … if Michael were to live today, this film would be considered a slander. 39;
Jackson was accused of molestation and was acquitted in a lawsuit in 2005. He reached a financial arrangement with another prosecutor, Jordan Chandler, in 1994. Both the Robson and Safechuck lawsuits were dismissed, where the judge said they had submitted too late after the death of the singer in 2009.
The sparingly attended protest was something of an anti-climax, especially after the Park City police told reporters that they were going to get more staff in the expectation that Jackson fans would be out of the fight.
"The tensions are higher for this movie than anything I've ever seen in Sundance," a law enforcement Deadline told earlier this week.
Instead, it was left to the two women from Canada to come to Jackson's defense. A swarm of camera's surrounded Jenkyns and Van Tighem and at one point a reporter was picked up to ask where the protest was.
"I think I am," Jenkyns said.