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Jackson estate threatens HBO with $100m suit

February 22, 2019

Michael Jackson’s estate is threatening to sue HBO for $100m over its controversial sex abuse documentary about the late singer, Leaving Neverland.

The documentary – which centres on alleged child abuse by the star – premiered at the Sundance Film Festival last month. The Jackson estate have filed that the channel is in breach of contract around a non-disparagement clause in 1992 agreement around HBO’s airing of Live in Bucharest: The Dangerous Tour, featuring Jackson, that prevents the channel from disparaging him in future works.

The estate claims that HBO promised not to take any actions that “may harm or disparage or cause to lower in esteem the reputation or public image of [the] performer.” The contract also required the channel to notify and consult with Jackson and Optimum Productions if it looked to air additional programming about the singer. The estate is looking for damages “could exceed $100m. It is seeking arbitration as well as an injunction that would prevent the documentary from airing. However, HBO said previously that the film will go out as planned.

Leaving Neverland is also due on Channel 4 on 6-7 March a few days after it is scheduled on HBO. Channel 4 said in a statement shared with TBI that its “plans remain unchanged”.

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