Michael Jackson Estate Sues HBO Over Sexual Abuse Documentary
Michael Jackson’s estate has sued HBO over the upcoming documentary Leaving Neverland, which tells the story of two men who say they were abused by Jackson as children. TMZ reports that Jackson’s estate is seeking over $100 million in damages, claiming that the movie constitutes a breach of a non-disparagement provision signed by the network over two decades ago.
The non-disparagement clause stems from a contract that HBO signed in 1992 to secure the rights to air the live concert special Michael Jackson Live In Concert In Bucharest: The Dangerous Tour, which at the time became the channel’s highest rated special ever. The complaint made by Jackson’s estate states:
In those non-disparagement provisions, HBO promised that “HBO shall not make any disparaging remarks concerning Performer or any of his representatives, agents, or business practices or do any act that may harm or disparage or cause to lower in esteem the reputation or public image of Performer.” Other provisions in the Agreement require HBO to notify and consult with Jackson and Optimum Productions if it wishes to air additional programming about Jackson.
Jackson’s estate has been criticizing the documentary since it debuted at Sundance last month, calling it “tabloid character assassination” and attacking the credibility of the men accusing Jackson of abuse. Watch the trailer for the film below.