The recently premiered documentary ‘Leaving Neverland’, which has brought back child abuse claims against the late Michael Jackson, may jeopardize the billion-dollar estate that flourished after the singer’s death in 2009.
Since the singer’s death, the Michael Jackson estate has become a huge financial empire, with posthumous deals reportedly bringing in around $2 billion. Last year, Sony purchased Jackson’s share of EMI Music Publishing from the Michael Jackson estate for $287.5 million.
In the two-part documentary released by HBO, Wade Robson, 36, and James Safechuck, 41, describe their childhood experiences with Jackson in graphic detail, accusing Jackson of grooming and manipulating them and their families, and sexually abusing them.
The documentary, which premiered on the network on Sunday night, has evoked a wave of public anger across the world, with several radio stations in New Zealand and Canada dropping the King of Pop’s music from their playlists. Radio play provides a significant money flow for artists or their estates.
Child sex abuse claims also forced BBC Radio 2 to quietly delete the entertainer’s songs from their on-air stream, according to an earlier report by the Times. The newspaper claimed that the last time a solo Jackson song was aired on the station was on February 23. The allegations were denied by the radio station, which said that Jackson’s songs don’t feature on the playlist because it is for new releases.
There are also new projects in the works which could now be in jeopardy. The Michael Jackson estate, in cooperation with Columbia Live Stage, is planning to launch a stage musical inspired by the life of the pop star. The show, dubbed ‘Don’t Stop ‘Til You Get Enough’, is scheduled to open on Broadway next summer.
The world’s largest theatrical producer, Cirque du Soleil, is performing its tribute to Jackson in Las Vegas five nights a week. However, the latest allegations led to a petition being launched, urging the Mandalay Bay resort to cancel the show. So far, the Care2 petition has been backed by 4,212 people.