Singer Michael Jackson died almost a decade ago, but there are still scandals being dug up that have him placed firmly at their center.
During his lifetime, he faced numerous allegations of abuse of young boys, and now even more allegations have come out of the woodwork. HBO has decided to create a two-part documentary, called Leaving Neverland, that explores the new sexual assault allegations made by two men, which will air on March 3 and 4.
Jackson’s family has taken exception to this course of action, and his estate announced it would be suing the network for $100 million for the documentary after having dug up an old contract that HBO had signed. Even with this threat hanging over them, HBO has said they will go forward with their plans to air it as scheduled at the beginning of March, according to CNN.
“Despite the desperate lengths taken to undermine the film, our plans remain unchanged,” the network said in a statement about their decision. “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 contract the estate has pulled out of the archives was signed in 1992, and pertained to HBO’s airing of one of the singer’s concerts.
According to the estate, the new documentary breaks the contract in which HBO agreed “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 himself.”
It has already been aired at the Sundance Film Festival in January, and Jackson’s family were furious with the contents of the documentary.
The documentary sees Wade Robson, 41, and James Safechuck, 37, detailing — graphically — the years of abuse they suffered at the hands of Jackson in the 1980s and 1990s.
Jackson’s family has labeled the pair “admitted liars,” given that Robson spoke out in support of the singer when he faced sexual assault charges in the mid-2000s, and Safechuck publicly denied he had ever been molested by Jackson.
The fact that they have changed their tune now after Jackson’s death has infuriated the family and Jackson’s estate, who believe they are looking to ruin the singer’s reputation now that he is unable to speak up and defend himself from their claims.
Robson’s response to that claim is that he was unable to speak about what he had suffered through at the time.
“I wish I was at a place where I could tell the truth… I just wasn’t ready. I wasn’t able when I was 11 and when I was 22.”