In court documents obtained by The Blast, HBO is once again arguing that there was no breach of contract as Michael Jackson’s estate is claiming in their $100 million lawsuit. The network’s dispute comes as the late singer’s estate attempts to move their case to arbitration.
HBO is taking the estate's breach of contract argument to task since it appears to be their primary stance in the suit which is seeking upwards of $100 million in damages. The network is challenging the estate's interpretation of a deal struck in 1992 between Jackson and HBO, which allowed them to use footage from Michael Jackson in Concert in Bucharest: The Dangerous Tour, but prevented them from disparaging MJ at any point in the future.
HBO claims the 1992 doc was only briefly mentioned, and had nothing to do with Leaving Neverland. The network also draws into question the validity of this agreement since Neverland came out well after the termination of their deal, and "long past any reasonable period of time thereafter."
The Jackson Estate filed the suit in February, alleging that HBO caused "reprehensible disparagement" to the late singer and his legacy when the network "chose to fund and produce a film where they knew the two subjects [Wade Robson and James Safechuck] had for many years testified under oath and told family, friends and law enforcement that Mr. Jackson did nothing inappropriate to either of them."