Michael Jackson's family calls new documentary 'public lynching'

The family of Michael Jackson on Monday described reaction to a new documentary about alleged child sex abuse by the late US pop star as a "public lynching" and said he was "100 per cent innocent" of such accusations.

The statement followed the premiere at the Sundance Film Festival in Utah last Friday of Leaving Neverland, in which two men, Wade Robson, 36, and James Safechuck, 40, say they were befriended by the singer and sexually abused by him starting from when they were seven and 10.

The documentary received a standing ovation at Sundance, Variety and other entertainment media reported.

It will be shown on cable channel HBO and Britain's Channel 4 television network this spring.

Variety in its review called the four-hour documentary "devastating" while Rolling Stone said it left the audience at Sundance "completely shell-shocked".

Jackson, who died in 2009 at 50, was acquitted at a 2005 trial in California on charges of molesting a different 13-year-old boy at his Neverland ranch.

He is survived by his mother Katherine and nine siblings, four of whom were members of pop group The Jackson 5.

Referring to Jackson as "our brother and son", Monday's statement said the family was "furious that the media, who without a shred of proof or single piece of physical evidence, chose to believe the word of two admitted liars over the word of hundreds of families and friends around the world who spent time with Michael, many at Neverland, and experienced his legendary kindness and global generosity".

"We can't just stand by while this public lynching goes on," the statement added. - REUTERS