HBO has slammed Michael Jackson’s estate for suing the network over its controversial documentary Leaving Neverland, describing its $100 million damages claim as “mere fantasy”.
According to The Blast, the broadcaster condemned the estate’s continued push for the lawsuit to be settled in private court. Additionally, it argued that it did not breach the non-disparaging clause set out in a 1992 contract made with Jackson prior to the airing of one of his tour specials, as the new documentary dictates any legal issues be settled in public.
HBO went on to add that the concert in question has nothing to do with the subject at the centre of Leaving Neverland and is only mentioned throughout it, therefore its clause does not apply.
It concluded by explaining that the documentary was released 25 years after the former agreement was terminated and “long past any reasonable period of time thereafter.”
Directed by Dan Reed, Leaving Neverland sees dancer Wade Robson and actor James Safechuck look back on their lives as they claim Jackson groomed and sexually abused them as children.
Talking to NME about the film, Reed previously accused Jackson’s estate of clouding people’s judgment when it comes to the Billie Jean hitmaker.
He said: “The Michael Jackson estate – the Michael Jackson machine – pumps out a lot of propaganda to the effect that he was just a childlike lover of humanity and a saviour of children, which is complete bilge.
“[Leaving Neverland] is not a platform for the Jackson estate to launch their campaign of counter-information. That’s not what we provide. In this documentary, people make very serious allegations about Michael Jackson. It’s not a piece of showbiz shim-sham.”
Just last month, Jackson’s estate detailed how its own investigation would exonerate the singer-songwriter and allow his fans to say that they love his music again.