The Jackson family has taken yet another step to turn viewers away from Leaving Neverland. On Sunday night, at the same time as the film’s HBO premiere, the Jackson estate posted an entire Michael Jackson concert film on YouTube. In an obvious dig at the doc, Live in Bucharest (The Dangerous Tour) is the exact same run-time as Leaving Neverland, which tells the story of two men who claim to have been sexually abused by Jackson as boys. According to Variety, the estate also plans to air a second concert film, Live at Wembley Stadium, during Part 2 of the controversial documentary on Monday night.
“Don’t miss the magic of the King of Pop himself! Immerse yourself in Michael Jackson,” the Jackson estate tweeted on Saturday afternoon. “Live in Bucharest and Live at Wembley Stadium available for a limited time on Michael Jackson’s YouTube.” On Sunday evening, twenty minutes into the Leaving Neverland premiere, the estate followed up with a 30-second clip from Live in Bucharest and a link to stream. Like Part 1 of Leaving Neverland, the first concert film is exactly two hours and two minutes long.
Don’t miss the magic from the King of Pop himself! Immerse yourself in Michael Jackson. Live in Bucharest and Live at Wembley Stadium available for a limited time on Michael Jackson’s @youtube! pic.twitter.com/kdc6yZjKMA
— Michael Jackson (@michaeljackson) March 2, 2019
Don’t miss the magic from the King of Pop himself! Immerse yourself in Michael Jackson. Live in Bucharest and Live at Wembley Stadium available for a limited time on Michael Jackson’s @youtube!
— Michael Jackson (@michaeljackson) March 4, 2019
In the weeks since its Sundance premiere, the Jackson estate has attempted to discredit the docu-series and the allegations Wade Robson and James Safechuck present. In January, the pop star’s family called the two-part doc “tabloid character assassination” and a “blatantly one-sided” narrative. The estate went on to slam Leaving Neverland as “just another rehash of dated and discredited allegations,” and in February, they acted on that sentiment by suing HBO for $100 million.
The Live in Bucharest concert film is actually a point of contention in the Jackson estate’s lawsuit. HBO originally agreed to air the concert special in 1992, and the estate claims that the contract included a non-disparagement agreement. The suit alleges that by airing Leaving Neverland — a doc the Jackson family says is based on “false claims” — HBO is violating that 1992 agreement.
HBO and director/producer Dan Reedus have stood by the film in the face of mounting pressure from the Jackson family. “Despite the desperate lengths taken to undermine the film, our plans remain unchanged. HBO will move forward with the airing of Leaving Neverland, the two-part documentary, on March 3 and 4,” an HBO spokesperson said after the lawsuit was filed. “This will allow everyone the opportunity to assess the film and the claims in it for themselves.”
Live in Bucharest will be available to stream on YouTube for a limited time. Live at Wembley Stadium will be available to watch on YouTube at 8/7c Monday.