Hbo have confirmed plans to go ahead with the release of the controversial Michael Jackson documentary Leaving Neverland, despite facing a $100 million lawsuit from the late-singer’s family.
The Jackson estate filed the suit on Thursday, claiming that the four-hour feature engages in a “posthumous character assassination” of the Thriller star.
They allege that HBO entered into a series of non-disparagement agreements with the singer in 1992, when the network aired a two-hour television event, Michael Jackson in Concert in Bucharest: The Dangerous Tour, claiming that these agreements cover periods both during and after the televised event.
HBO have opposed such claims, insisting in a statement that they still plan to air the documentary in two 2-hour parts on March 3 and 4.
“Despite the desperate lengths taken to undermine the film, our plans remain unchanged,” they revealed. “This will allow everyone the opportunity to assess the film and the claims in it for themselves.”
Leaving Neverland initially premiered at the Sundance Film Festival in Utah in January.
The film centers on accusations of sexual misconduct made by Wade Robson and Jimmy Safechuck, dating back to the 1980s, when they were aged 7 and 10.
It is set to air on Channel 4 in the U.K. on March 6 and 7, with the network releasing a similar statement, asserting that viewers will “make their own judgment about the testimony of the two victims interviewed in the film.”
Ahead of the documentary’s premiere, filmmaker Dan Reed said: “If there’s anything we’ve learned during this time in our history, it’s that sexual abuse is complicated, and survivors’ voices need to be listened to.
“It took great courage for these two men to tell their stories and I have no question about their validity.”