HBO has been hit with a $100 million lawsuit filed by the estate of Michael Jackson over the pay-cable channel’s plans to run the documentary “Leaving Neverland,” NBC News reports.
HBO has said it is standing firm in its plans to televise the documentary, in which two men accuse Jackson of child molestation.
“The lawsuit filed in Los Angeles Superior Court alleges that by co-producing and airing the documentary, ‘Leaving Neverland,’ the cable giant is breaking a 1992 contract for televising a concert special in which it agreed not to ‘disparage’ the singer, who died in 2009,” NBC News reports. “Jackson, who long professed his innocence, was acquitted of child molestation charges in 2005.”
In a statement accompanying the 53-page complaint, Howard Weitzman, an attorney for the estate, says: “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 him.”
HBO is standing behind the documentary, issuing a statement saying that “despite the desperate lengths taken to undermine the film, our plans remain unchanged.”
HBO, which plans to televise the four-hour program over two nights early next month, added: “This will allow everyone the opportunity to assess the film and the claims in it for themselves.”
Here’s the trailer released by HBO this week for “Leaving Neverland” …