Michael Jackson’s estate will take HBO to arbitration over their 2019 film after the network’s two appeals against the ruling are rejected.
The Jackson estate argued that the 2019 documentary breached a 27-year-old non-disparagement clause from Jackson’s 1992 concert film of the Dangerous tour, whereas HBO argued that the clause has nothing to do with the present case and accuses the estate of attempting to silence victims of sexual abuse.
In the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals yesterday, a three-judge panel ruled that the “contract contained a broad arbitration clause that covers claims that HBO disparaged Jackson in violation of ongoing confidentiality obligations“, Variety states.
However, the estate’s motion was granted but the judges conceded that the suit may be “frivolous,” adding “we may only identify whether the parties agreed to arbitrate such claims; it is for the arbitrator to decide whether those claims are meritorious.”
So basically, the dispute between Michael Jackson’s estate and HBO will undergo a private resolution procedure where an agreed independent party will make a decision on the case after both parties have presented their arguments and evidence.
— Elena (@sharesns) December 15, 2020
Howard Weitzman and Jonathan Steinsapir, Michael Jackson’s estate attorneys, accepted the decision with open arms saying “In the court’s own words, HBO ‘agreed that it would not make any disparaging remarks concerning Jackson.’ It’s time for HBO to answer for the violation of its obligations to Michael Jackson.”
HBO had sought to avoid arbitration, with the network’s attorney, Theodore Boutrous, arguing that the 1992 contract had effectively expired. However, the judges rejected this argument.
“An arbitration clause can still bind the parties, even if the parties fully performed the contract years ago,” the judges ruled.
Okay so why isn’t the media publicising this? But they publicised the heck out of that useless documentary “leaving neverland”. How is it so hard to understand that a 14 time exonerated black man is actually innocent? Leave. The. Guy. Alone. 🤦♀️
— HVLH🥑🥥 (@hvlh_gtf) October 22, 2020
Although this may be a big step forward for the Michael Jackson estate, it seems that the legacy of one of the world’s most influential pop stars now rests in the hands of one quite significant arbitrator.