As HBO sets a date for the hit documentary “Leaving Neverland” to come to the channel, Michael Jackson’s estate has sent a 10-page letter to the cable channel asking for a meeting to find a “solution” to the airing of the show.
The documentary that focuses on two reported cases of sexual abuse by the “Thriller” singer brought the audience to tears at the Sundance Film Festival while the singer’s estate has actively fought all claims.
A letter to HBO obtained by The Hollywood Reporter from the estate’s lawyer, Howard Weitzman, claims the documentary is “an admittedly one-sided, sensationalist program” that tells the story from the point of view of accusers Wade Robson and James Safechuck, and never asked the estate for its side of events.
The letter points out that the two accusers were “caught lying” in testimony and that if HBO should air the program, it will be the most “shameful episode” in the history of the network.
Weitzman writes that while HBO is up against fierce competition from the likes of Netflix and Amazon, “to stoop to this level to regain an audience is disgraceful.”
The lawyer adds that for HBO to have “joined the tabloid media’s ‘Michael Jackson cacophony’ — 10 years after his death — is truly sad.”
In the first look at the documentary, told from the perspective of two of the alleged sexual assault victims, the official trailer gives an inside look at what reportedly went down at Neverland Ranch.
The official synopsis from HBO reads: “‘Leaving Neverland’ is a two-part documentary exploring the separate but parallel experiences of two young boys, James Safechuck, at age 10, and Wade Robson, at age 7, both of whom were befriended by Michael Jackson. Through gut-wrenching interviews with Safechuck, now 37, and Robson, now 41, as well as their mothers, wives and siblings, the film crafts a portrait of sustained abuse, exploring the complicated feelings that led both men to confront their experiences after both had a young son of his own.”
“Leaving Neverland” will air March 3 and March 4 on HBO.