The singer’s estate is claiming the network is breaching a 1992 non-disparagement contract by airing a two-part documentary alleging sexual abuse against children.
Michael Jackson’s estate is suing HBO over the network’s plans to air a documentary alleging the singer sexually abused two young boys.
The estate is claiming that by showing Leaving Neverland, HBO is violating a non-disparagement clause from a 1992 contract. According to the suit, when HBO aired Michael Jackson in Concert in Bucharest: The Dangerous Tour, the clause precluded them from disparaging the singer in future works.
In a 53-page complaint, the four-hour, two-part documentary is referred to as “a one-sided marathon of unvetted propaganda to shamelessly exploit an innocent man no longer here to defend himself”.
Leaving Neverland premiered at the Sundance film festival last month and revealed the testimonies of two men, Wade Robson and James Safechuck, who allege that Jackson sexually abused them when they were under the age of 10. “We can’t change what happened to us,” Robson, now 36, said after the first screening. “The feeling is what can we do with that now.”
The suit urges HBO to take part in a public arbitration process and claims that it could cost the company up to $100m in damages.