Late pop icon Michael Jackson’s estate hit HBO with a 100$ million lawsuit over the controversial Leaving Neverland documentary, which is set to debut on the network on March 3 and 4. The lawsuit claims the documentary paints a false picture of the singer, calling it “character assassination.”
“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,” Estate Attorney Howard Weitzman tells In Touch in a statement.
Weitzman 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.”
As fans know, Jackson passed away at the age of 50 back in 2009. He became the subject of the explosive new documentary, Leaving Neverland, which premiered on January 25, 2019 at the Sundance Film Festival. The film was centered around interviews with Wade Robson, now 36, and James Safechuck, now 42, who claim they were allegedly sexually abused by the King of Pop. It exposed Jackson as a man who used his status to prey on young boys.
The lawsuit states that “Michael Jackson is innocent. Period,” and mentions the criminal investigation and 2005 trial in which Jackson was found not guilty, while also noting the conflicting statements made by Robson and Safechuck over the years.
“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,” the statement to In Touch reads. “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.”
It concluded, “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.”