[USA], Feb 22 (ANI): The estate of the late pop star Michael Jackson is suing HBO and parent company Time Warner for allegedly violating a non-disparagement clause in a contract from 1992.
The lawsuit filed on Thursday in Los Angeles Superior Court alleges that by co-producing and airing ‘Leaving Neverland’, the channel is breaching an old contract for showing Jackson in a concert in Bucharest-- the Dangerous Tour, in which it agreed not to disparage the late singer, reported The Hollywood Reporter.
The suit also stated that the contract covered future disparagement of the late King of Pop and that the documentary allegedly shows Jackson molested children on the Dangerous Tour that the concert footage came from. It has asked the court to order arbitration and also stated that the damage could exceed USD 100 million.
In the complaint filed, Optimum Productions and the two co-executors of the Jackson Estate stated that, “Michael Jackson is innocent. Period. In 2005, Michael Jackson was subjected to a trial — where rules of evidence and law were applied before a neutral judge and jury and where both sides were heard — and he was exonerated by a sophisticated jury.”
“Ten years after his passing, there are still those out to profit from his enormous worldwide success and take advantage of his eccentricities. Michael is an easy target because he is not here to defend himself, and the law does not protect the deceased from defamation, no matter how extreme the lies are,” they added.
According to the complaint filed, Jackson’s estate seeks "all damages proximately caused by HBO's reprehensible disparagement of Michael Jackson, which could exceed USD 100 million should HBO succeed in the damage it is intending to cause to the legacy of Michael Jackson,” reported E! News.
In response to the complaint, HBO issued a statement to The Hollywood Reporter claiming that the documentary will air as decided.
"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 3rd and 4th. This will allow everyone the opportunity to assess the film and the claims in it for themselves,” the statement read.
The documentary ‘Leaving Neverland’, which debuted in January at the Sundance Film Festival and will air on HBO in two parts on March 3 and 4, tells the story of Wade Robson and James Safechuck. Both of the men say that they met Jackson as children when the singer was at the height of his fame in the late 1980s and early 1990s. They allege that Jackson sexually abused them, causing them trauma lasting into their adulthood.
Jackson’s estate has criticised the film, previously calling it “tabloid character assassination.” (ANI)