The singer and the network had a "non-disparagement clause" back in 1992 and now the estate is suing for $100 million.
The battle between HBO and Michael Jackson's estate continues as the network faces a $100 million lawsuit. It's been almost three months since Leaving Neverland aired and it continues to be the center of controversy. The two-part, Dan Redd-directed series featured Wade Robson and James Safechuck, two men that were close to Jackson when they were children. The men describe, in disturbing details, their allegations of child molestation at the hands of the pop star. Jackson's estate has repeatedly spoken out against the HBO series, and they're taking the network to court.
The estate claims that the HBO was in breach of contract when they developed and aired Leaving Neverland because the network has had a “longstanding contractual relationship” with Jackson. They claim there is a non-disparagement clause that was breached. According to The Blast, the estate wants their case to be heard in public arbitration, but HBO doesn't understand why a private court is necessary. They admit that in 1992 they struck a deal with Jackson to air one of his concert specials and that the non-disparagment clause was in the contract, but they didn't breach anything. A non-disparagement clause means that an employer can't say anything negative about an employee, even when their contract has been completed or severed.
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In Leaving Neverland, the 1992 concert was mentioned, but HBO claims that it was only briefly and wasn't an important part of the docuseries. The network also says that it's been over 25 years since that contract was enacted, so it's “long past any reasonable period of time thereafter.”