HBO Seeks Dismissal of Michael Jackson Estate’s Suit Over ‘Leaving Neverland’

HBO urged an appeals court on Friday to throw out litigation brought by the Michael Jackson estate over the 2019 documentary “Leaving Neverland.”HBO and the Jackson estate have been locked in a legal war ever since the premium cable network agreed to run the documentary, which chronicles child sexual abuse allegations against Jackson.The Jackson estate has argued that the two men featured in the documentary — Wade Robson and James Safechuck — fabricated their allegations for financial gain.

The estate’s lawyers could not sue for defamation, as Jackson is dead, but they dug up a contract from a 1992 HBO concert special from Jackson’s “Dangerous” tour, which contained a non-disparagement clause.The estate argued that the documentary constituted a breach of the 1992 agreement, and went to court seeking to compel arbitration.

HBO countered that the estate was seeking to squelch free expression by invoking a clause from an irrelevant and long-expired contract.

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