MTV Is Reportedly Considering Removing Michael Jackson’s Name From Their Video Vanguard Award

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The MTV Video Music Awards are less than a month away, and organizers are apparently considering making a few changes. Namely, MTV is reportedly considering removing Michael Jackson‘s name from their Video Vanguard Award. The late singer has been enthralled in controversy since HBO’s documentary Leaving Neverland, and it seems as though MTV wants to avoid backlash by cutting ties with their connection to the King Of Pop.

According to a report by Complex, a source from Page Six disclosed information about talks of renaming the award by higher-ups at MTV — and apparently it’s “getting ugly.”

“There’s a lot of heated discussion at the network about how to handle the Michael Jackson Video Vanguard Award this year, and it’s getting ugly,” said the source. “There’s talk about if they should change the name, or get rid of it altogether. [There’s also talk] about who would pre­sent it and who would accept it. It’s a mess.”

The “heated discussion” comes after details about Michael Jackson allegedly sexually assaulting minors resurfaced in March through the HBO documentary Leaving Neverland. The documentary centers around two men, Wade Robson and James Safechuck, who claim Jackson molested them as young boys. Leaving Neverland affected both fans and family of Jackson. Some questioned Robson and Safechucks allegations, while others decided to boycott Jackson’s music completely. Rumors spread that Jackson’s daughter Paris was suicidal following the documentary’s release, but she quickly squashed the rumors by calling the reports “bullsh*t.”

MTV reportedly hasn’t come to a final decision yet. “MTV [potentially] banning his name is the latest fallout,” said the source. “They haven’t decided yet, but they’ve been going back and forth on it. There are a lot of issues.”

The award was not always connected with Michael Jackson. The Michael Jackson Video Vanguard Award is presented at MTV’s VMA ceremony as a way to recognize accomplishments in music and film. The award is oftentimes given to directors connected to popular and visually-impressive music videos. The first Vanguard award was given on stage in 1984 but renamed to honor Jackson’s accomplishments in visual arts in 1991. Since the award is not given annually, MTV may decide buy time and postpone their final decision until the next awards cycle.