HBO is standing by its decision to air Michael Jackson documentary Leaving Neverland, despite protests from the late singer’s estate.
The four-hour documentary, which includes interviews with two men who allege they were sexually abused by the singer as children, premiered at the Sundance Film Festival last month, and left audiences shocked.
Following the film’s airing, Jackson’s estate expressed its disapproval calling the documentary a “character assassination”.
“Leaving Neverland isn’t a documentary, it is the kind of tabloid character assassination Michael Jackson endured in life, and now in death,” said the estate’s official statement at the time.
“The film takes uncorroborated allegations that supposedly happened 20 years ago and treats them as fact.”
The estate also recently sent HBO a 10-page letter to address problems in the documentary, but speaking at the Television Critics Association’s winter press tour on Friday (February 8), HBO boss Casey Bloys confirmed that none of this is stopping Leaving Neverland from airing.
Asked if he feels uneasy about airing the documentary, Bloys said (via The Hollywood Reporter): “Not at all. All I would ask is that anybody writing or thinking about it would watch it and reserve judgment until they see it.”
He also added that they feel prepared for backlash or even legal action from the estate too, adding that HBO has “no plans to not air” the documentary.
And as for the letter that the estate sent to HBO in which the estate requested a meeting to discuss a “solution”, Bloys insisted that it “doesn’t change anything”.
“The show is airing,” he continued. “It’s not changing because of the letter and I ask that everybody watch it and decide for themselves. It’s a very, very powerful documentary and I think once they see it, they’ll understand.”
Bloys also added that they currently don’t have any plans to meet with the estate.
“There are no plans to take a meeting. We are airing the documentary and the letter is not going to change that,” he concluded.