Michael Jackson's Estate Slams Leaving Neverland's 2019 Emmy Win

The documentary was awarded in the Outstanding Documentary/Nonfiction Special category.

By Samantha Schnurr Sep 16, 2019 5:40 PMTags

Michael Jackson's estate is not mincing words about this 2019 Emmy win. 

On Saturday, Leaving Neverland, the headline-making two-part documentary directed and produced by Dan Reed and distributed by HBO and Channel 4, took home the 2019 Emmy for Outstanding Documentary/Nonfiction Special. The documentary, which was released widely in March, focused on Wade Robson and James Safechuck and their allegations against Jackson of sexual abuse

"This has been quite a journey for this doc," Reed reportedly said as he accepted the award, according to Deadline. "None of this would have been possible without the incredible courage and determination of Wade and James and their families, and I wanted to salute that...This is one of the first times we've been able to shine light on child sexual abuse…the pattern of how it unfolds is not an easy story to tell…it often remains undisclosed for so many decades, so I thank them from the bottom of my heart."

However, the late music icon's estate had a much different response to the win. 

Michael Jackson's Brothers & Nephew Defend Him Over Doc

"For a film that is a complete fiction to be honored in a nonfiction Emmy category is a complete farce," the estate of Michael Jackson said in a statement. "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."

E! News has reached out to HBO for comment. 

The pop star's estate has repeatedly denounced the documentary, denied the allegations against him and filed a lawsuit against HBO and Time Warner in February, seeking upwards of $100 million, for allegedly breaching a non-disparagement clause in a contract from 1999. 

Dan Reed/HBO

"Despite the desperate lengths taken to undermine the film, our plans remain unchanged," HBO retorted in a statement to The Hollywood Reporter at the time. "HBO will move forward with the airing of Leaving Neverland, the two-part documentary, on March 3rd and 4th. This will allow everyone the opportunity to assess the film and the claims in it for themselves."

Reed previously responded to the estate's "one-sided" criticism, stating on Today, "Jackson is dead and he's not here to defend himself, but we include the rebuttals that he made while he was alive and he recorded plenty of denials and we've included that in the film and given him significant presence and his lawyers...As far as Jackson's right of reply goes, we have met that fully."