A federal appeals court granted a victory on Monday Battle over Michael Jackson’s Estate 2019 HBO Documentary Living Neverland. The late singer was accused of sexually abusing two boys.
The Michael Jackson estate sued HBO for $100 million, arguing that the documentary violated the 27-year-old’s non-insulting norm from a concert film from a 1992 “dangerous” tour.
However, the Hollywood channel argued that this rule was irrelevant to the current controversy accusing Jackson Estate of trying to silence victims of sexual abuse.
Unless there are further appeals, the case will go to a private arbitrator, which the Jackson estate argued was required by the 1992 contract at the center of the lawsuit.
That means the proceedings will be largely shielded from public view, though Jackson attorneys said in court filings that they would like for them to be as open as possible and sought private arbitration because it was the only way available to sue under the contract.
Moreover, the decades-old agreement to put a Jackson concert on HBO required that the cable channel not disparage Jackson, which the lawsuit says it did by airing the molestation allegations of Wade Robson and James Safechuck in Leaving Neverland.
“In the court’s own words, HBO ‘agreed that it would not make any disparaging remarks concerning Jackson,’” estate attorneys Howard Weitzman and Jonathan Steinsapir said in a statement.
“It’s time for HBO to answer for its violation of its obligations to Michael Jackson.”
However, HBO representative Karen Jones did not immediately respond to an email seeking comment on the decision.
Michael Jackson died in 2009 at age 50.