‘Leaving Neverland’: Michael Jackson’s Estate is Livid Over the Documentary’s Emmy Win

Leaving Neverland was a massive hit. The documentary that grappled with sex abuse allegations against the late King of Pop, Michael Jackson, garnered plenty of media attention upon its release. The production house behind it was also slapped with a lawsuit over the details in the documentary by Jackson’s estate. That didn’t stop the Television Academy from honoring the documentary with an illustrious Emmy Award, handed down during a two-night event this weekend. Not everyone was thrilled by the win, however. Jackson’s estate is reportedly livid over the film’s category nomination and the win.

Leaving Neverland Wins an Emmy for Oustanding Documentary

Leaving Neveerland’s Outstanding Documentary Special win seemed like a done deal months ago. While many fans were rooting for Fyre to take home the top prize, it was evident that Leaving Neverland was the front-runner. The special took home the Emmy during a two-day ceremony a week ahead of the Sept. 22 aired awards show.

Dan Reed
Director Dan Reed | Photo by JC Olivera/WireImage

While many fans and critics can respect the time, effort and detail put into the special; there is one group of people who are livid to see the team behind Leaving Neverland take home an Emmy. Jackson’s estate spoke out shortly after the winner was announced, and they are far from thrilled.

Jackson’s estate has taken issue with the category in which the documentary was nominated

Jackson’s estate released a statement regarding Leaving Neverland’s win. The first issue the statement addressed was the category in which the special was nominated. The statement calls the nomination a “farce” and attempts to call into question the validity of the production team’s claims. The estate went on to say, “Not one shred of proof supports this completely one-sided, so-called documentary which was made in secrecy and for which not one person outside of the two subjects and their families were interviewed,”

Leaving Neverland was competing against extraordinary documentaries in its category. The other nominees included Fyre: The Greatest Party That Never Happened, a documentary special produced by Netflix. It also competed against The Inventor: Out for Blood in Silicon Valley and Jane Fonda in Five Acts. Both specials were aired on HBO. Love, Gilda and Minding The Gap rounded out the group. Mind The Gap was produced by Hulu, while Love, Gilda was aired on CNN.

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Reposted from @anthonykingdancer – The documentary "Leaving Neverland" premieres tonight. I encourage everybody to watch it. If you feel that you don't want to watch it, then please reconsider, to acknowledge and support the victims. I am so proud of them and happy for them! Here are the broadcast times for USA, UK, France and Norway: – United States: HBO Sunday 3rd March and Monday 4th March – United Kingdon: Channel 4 Wednesday 6th March and Thurs 7th March – Norway: NRK TV on Sunday 10th March at 06:00, and NRK 2 at 22.50 – France: M6 Thursday 21st March 21 in the first half of the evening I want to say this to the people who defended, failed to condemn or excused Michael Jackson's behaviour: You degraded the victims of child abuse because you liked the way somebody danced and sang. This was not a passive action, you actively attempted to destroy their reputations because of your defence of somebody that you did not know. You are a selfish and a child abuse defender, in my opinion. I have screen captured every comment, every message, every excuse and every threat. Stay very far away from me. To the individuals who victim shamed and harassed, to the MJ Estate, to the people who had a duty of care to the children around this predator and to the people who turned a blind eye, to the people who remained silent, to his lying cheerleaders, to the people who have sent me death threats and abuse, to his defenders: SHAME ON YOU! Thank you for helping the cause of child welfare around the whole world. Thank you, Terry George, Michael Jacobshagen, Jordan Chandler and Garvin Arvizo. Thank you to the work of long gone "‘Desiree speaks so listen’" to "MJvictims", "MJfacts", Diane Dimond and Thomas W. Sneddon Jr and all the others. Read more on my Facebook and linked on my Twitter account anthonyking1 #LeavingNeverland #MichaelJackson – #regrann

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There is no denying that Leaving Neverland was controversial. The release of the special caused a media stir and brought the sex abuse allegations against Jackson back into the forefront. Jackon was accused of sexual abuse multiple times by multiple children. Several children alleged they were invited to share Jackson’s bed. One of the subjects from Leaving Neverland claims Jackson taught him how to masturbate.

Michael Jackson’s estate is suing HBO

Back in February 2019, Jackson’s estate filed a $100 million lawsuit against HBO and its parent company, Time Warner. The lawsuit attempted to thwart the release of Leaving Neverland. HBO did release a statement regarding the lawsuit when news of it became public. They noted that they had absolutely no plans on changing the release of the special. The special was released on schedule.

Michael Jackson
Michael Jackson | Photo by Kevork Djansezian-Pool/Getty Images

According to People, the lawsuit hinged on a 1992 contract signed by HBO. The agreement, which is linked to a televised concert aired that year, allegedly has a clause regarding disparaging remarks attached. The clause supposedly prohibits HBO from making any disparaging remarks about the King of Pop. Jackson’s estate has argued that HBO broke the provision by producing and airing Leaving Neverland.