HBO has been threatened with another lawsuit related to its controversial documentary Leaving Neverland.
Leaving Neverland, a two-part docuseries, details allegations of sexual abuse by Michael Jackson spanning years. A man named Brett Barnes has hired a lawyer and come forward threatening legal action against HBO over the documentary, saying that the film inaccurately depicts his own relationship with Jackson by suggesting that he was abused by the late singer, TMZ reports.
Leaving Neverland centers on accounts from James Safechuck and Wade Robson, who claim Jackson abused them as young boys. In one interview, Robson — who toured with Jackson — referred to footage showing Barnes with Jackson and noted that Barnes later “replaced him.”
Barnes denied he was ever abused by Jackson in his testimony at the singer’s 2005 criminal trial. Leaving Neverland does show a denial from Barnes in writing on-screen, which states that Jackson did nothing inappropriate to him, but Barnes’ legal team reportedly says that is not enough to “cure such a despicable allegation.”
Barnes’ legal threat comes after Jackson’s estate condemned the documentary and served HBO a $100 million lawsuit for violating a non-disparagement agreement. HBO has stood by Leaving Neverland and director Dan Reed’s work and said in a statement, “Dan Reed is an award-winning filmmaker who has carefully documented these survivors’ accounts. People should reserve judgment until they see the film.”
Leaving Neverland is set to air on March 3 and 4 on HBO.