In response to potential backlash that could be generated when HBO airs Leaving Neverland next month, Denmark’s oldest shopping mall is getting rid of a Michael Jackson statue out of fear that it would invite outrage amongst shoppers, in addition to vandalism from miscreant teens. As you’re aware (at least if you read up on the four-hour documentary’s subject matter) the film focuses on two men who accuse the pop star of sexual abuse, in graphic detail.
Charlotte Anderson, who is a marketing manager for the Roedovre Centrum mall, claimed that the venue had already gotten around 15 complaints about the statue from shoppers. The Jackson figure was part of an exhibition that deliberately coincided with a weeklong winter holiday for Danish school students, which began on Monday. Other less controversial celebrities in the feature included Julia Roberts and Marilyn Monroe. In lieu of the Jackson figure, a wax mock-up of Brad Pitt will appear instead.
As for Leaving Neverland (which was previously screened at the Sundance Festival on January 25), it will be aired on HBO in two parts on March 3 and March 4, and has subsequently been denounced by the late pop icon’s estate as both “tabloid character assassination” and a “public lynching.”
In response to that characterization the film’s director and producer, Dan Reed, said: “I didn’t characterize Jackson at all in the film—I think if you watch it you’ll have noticed that it’s a story about these two families and Jackson is an element of that story.” He also stated that Jackson was not the main focus, and instead, it was “an account of sexual abuse, how sexual abuse happens and then how the consequences play out later in life.”