Michael Jackson’s family has condemned the HBO documentary Leaving Neverland, which alleges the famous singer molested young boys, calling it a “public lynching.” His estate is now taking legal action against the cable giant, filing a $100 million lawsuit against the network.
The Jasmine Brand reports the lawsuit claims the doc is based on false accusations and its accusers have been financially motivated to lie. More important, HBO reportedly entered into a nondisparagement agreement with Jackson in 1992 when they aired his Michael Jackson in Bucharest: The Dangerous Tour concert. The agreement restricts individuals from taking any action that negatively impacts an organization, its reputation, products, services, management or employees.
“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,” said Howard Weitzman, the Jackson estate attorney. “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.”
HBO has responded, saying they will move forward with airing the doc.
“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 3 and 4. This will allow everyone the opportunity to assess the film and the claims in it for themselves.”
Check out the official trailer for the doc below.
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Born and raised in Compton, California, Jessica Bennett began her career as an intern at The Oakland Post, and later, The Source Magazine. She went on to write for respected hip hop publications such as DJ Booth and Hip Hop DX before becoming the Urban Editor of pop culture website, Wetpaint.com. She joined Ebony as the Entertainment Editor August 2017. Bennett has interviewed such names as Vanessa Williams, Spike Lee, Tyra Banks, Forest Whitaker, Magic & Cookie Johnson and several others.