The Michael Jackson Estate filed a lawsuit against HBO on February 21 for the production of Leaving Neverland. The documentary, which is set to air on March 3, details accounts of alleged sexual abuse victims of the late Michael Jackson.
Court documents obtained by OK! Magazine state, “Respondents’ breaches of the Agreement have caused damages to Petitioners in an amount to be prove in an arbitration, with such damages potentially exceeding $100 million should Respondents’ succeed in the damage they are intending to cause to the legacy of Michael Jackson and the businesses associated with the Jackson Estate.”
Estate Attorney Howard Weitzman told OK!, “HBO breached its agreement not to disparage Michael Jackson by producing and selling to the public a one-sided marathon of unvetted propaganda to shamelessly exploit an innocent man no longer here to defend himself.”
He continued, “HBO could have and should have ensured that Leaving Neverland was properly sourced, fact-checked and a fair and balanced representation. Instead, they chose to fund and produce a film where they knew the two subjects had for many years testified under oath and told family, friends and law enforcement that Mr. Jackson did nothing inappropriate to either of them.”
Howard further explained, “Nearly four years after Michael died they suddenly changed their recollections, sued the Estate of Michael Jackson for hundreds of millions of dollars and had all of their lawsuits dismissed. Yet they are still seeking money, having appealed. HBO and the director were well aware of their financial motives and that ample opposing facts are available from numerous sources but made the unconscionable decision to bury any evidence casting doubt on their chosen narrative.”
“Had they made an objective film it would have allowed viewers to make up their own minds about these allegations, instead of having a television network dictate to them that they must accept these false claims about Michael Jackson,” the Estate Attorney said.
HBO has since released the statement, “Despite the desperate lengths taken to undermine the film, our plans remain unchanged. HBO will move forward with the airing of Leaving Neverland, the two-part documentary, on March 3rd and 4th. This will allow everyone the opportunity to assess the film and the claims in it for themselves.”