Michael Jackson’s family has made it clear that they are not pleased with the Leaving Neverland documentary, which is set to debut on HBO in March. They previously criticized the movie’s creators, and now they’ve reportedly decided to take legal action against the network: The Blast reports that Jackson’s estate has filed a lawsuit against HBO.
Jackson’s estate argues that Jackson has a “longstanding contractual relationship” with the network, and that the film breaches a non-disparagement clause. TMZ notes that this contract was signed in 1992 when HBO aired Michael Jackson Live In Concert in Bucharest: The Dangerous Tour, and that the non-disparagement clause reads, “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.”
The estate is seeking “damages proximately caused by HBO’s reprehensible disparagement of Michael Jackson, which could exceed $100 million should HBO succeed in the damage it is intending to cause the legacy of Michael Jackson.”
Jackson estate attorney Howard Weitzman told The Blast, “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. 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.”
Read our review of Leaving Neverland here.