A prominent civil rights group has come to the defense of Michael Jackson, slamming HBO’s upcoming documentary “Leaving Neverland” as a “posthumous lynching” of the late pop superstar.
Variety reports that Charles Steele, president and CEO of the Southern Christian Leadership Conference, sent a letter to HBO imploring it to reconsider televising the production. The two-part doc, set to premiere March 3 and 4, revisits allegations of child sexual abuse by Jackson.
“It troubles me that HBO/AT&T/Warner Media would lodge allegations against someone who is deceased and not able to defend himself,” Steele said in the letter, sent Feb. 27. “These same allegations, when raised in trial in a court of law during Michael Jackson’s lifetime, affirmed his innocence.”
Founded by Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. in 1957, the Southern Christian Leadership Conference played a key role in the civil rights movement of the 1960s.
“The SCLC’s letter echoes the sentiments of Tito, Marlon, Jackie and Taj Jackson, who on Feb. 26 sat for an interview with CBS’s Gayle King to vouch for their belief in the late singer’s innocence,” Variety notes. “Last week, the Jackson estate sued HBO on grounds that the studio is in violation of a non-disparagement clause that was present in previous TV specials about Jackson. As of HBO’s most recent response to the Jacksons’ lawsuit, their plans to air the documentary have not changed.”