Michael Jackson’s estate could take private action over the ‘Leaving Neverland’ documentary.
A court of appeal in the United States, the 9th US Circuit Court of Appeals, has confirmed that the family of the late King of Pop can take action against HBO over the documentary and allegations he sexually abused two boys, James Safechuck and Wade Robson.
Attorneys Howard Weitzman and Jonathan Steinsapir said in a statement: “In the court’s own words, HBO agreed that it would not make any disparaging remarks concerning Jackson. It’s time for HBO to answer for its violation of its obligations to Michael Jackson.”
It means that the case, brought on by Michael’s estate will be heard by an independent third party and outside of court. They have sued the channel for $100 million, claiming they had broken a contract made in 1992 that they had with Michael himself. They claimed that when HBO signed a contract to broadcast the Dangerous tour, they would not disparage him.
However, Theodore Boutrous, lawyer for HBO, has insisted the clause has now expired after both sides “fulfilled their obligations” and they also claimed the documentary was important.
It comes after James had his lawsuit against two of the late Michael’s corporations dismissed.
The 42 year old had made an attempt to sue MJJ Productions Inc. and MJJ Ventures Inc. over the alleged abuse but Los Angeles County Superior Court Judge Mark A. Young ruled that he had not demonstrated a relationship with the companies that would have required them.
Jackson estate attorneys said in a statement: “We are pleased that the court dismissed Mr. Safechuck’s case by ruling that he had no grounds to pursue such a lawsuit.”
This is the second time James’ case has been thrown out since it was filed in 2013.
A judge dismissed it in 2017, but it was revived earlier this year after a new law was brought in in California which gave those who alleged childhood sexual abuse more time to file lawsuits.
Wade also had a similar lawsuit revived but no fresh ruling has been made on it as yet.