One of the co-founders of the MJInnocent campaign group says no good can come of Cinema Akil’s screening of ‘Leaving Neverland’ this week.
The independent cinema in Al Quoz is screening the documentary in which two men accuse the former pop star of child sex abuse, as part of its debatable series on April 24, 27 and May 1. After the screening on April 27, they will also host a debate.
However, the cinema, as well as local newspapers and the National Media Council (NMC), who grant permission to screen films locally, has been inundated with requests from Jackson fans from all over the world to stop the planned showing.
“Cinema Akil are late to the party, the film has already been debunked and pulled from many countries, they will end up with massive pie in their face,” Seany O’Kane, the co-founder of the MJ Innocent campaign group based in the UK, told Gulf News tabloid!.
A statement from Cinema Akil said the independent production doesn’t necessarily reflect their views but they were showing it as part of their debatable series to “foster tolerance and encourage the exchange of differing opinions within a safe environment.”
The film is readily available on iTunes in the UAE and has already been sold to over 130 territories.
“But iTunes is up to the individual to download and watch themselves in private and at home, this is in public and for profit,” said O’Kane.
“No good can come of this for the cinema but publicity. Spark what debate?” he added. “What good can come from the one-sided defamation of a dead man?
“The alleged accusers have stopped giving interviews because they keep contradicting themselves.”
Asked what MJInnocent would rather Cinema Akil do, he replied: “Show something that celebrates his life, rather than a modern day lynching. If this is the first bit of footage they have shown of him it’s a disgrace.”
O’Kane said MJInnocent wouldn’t be sending any representatives to the Dubai screening and didn’t advocate protest, just debate, with the whole point of their campaign being to offer people a different side to the story, against a growing media tide, that O’Kane said was against them.