A Los Angeles judge ruled last Monday that the companies founded by Michael Jackson will not have to legally respond to abuse allegations against the pop star.
The lawsuit was filed in 2013 by Wade Ronson, one of the alleged victims who appeared in the documentary “Leaving Neverland” and who accused the companies MJJ Productions and MJJ Ventures of facilitating Jackson’s access to children to abuse them.
The Los Angeles Superior Court judge ruled that these companies did not have the ability to control Jackson since he owned them until he died in 2009.
The lawsuit was already dismissed when it was filed but returned to court after the state of California passed a new law against child molestation in 2020.
Robson’s attorney, Vince Finaldi, announced he would appeal the decision.
“If we were to let it pass, it would set a dangerous precedent that would leave thousands of children working in the entertainment industry vulnerable to sexual abuse by people in places of power,” he said in a statement published by Variety magazine.
Another of the alleged victims featured in the documentary, James Safechuck, also filed a similar lawsuit that is currently on appeal after being dismissed.
Jackson’s heirs are also pending an arbitration that will decide whether HBO must compensate them for the controversial documentary “Leaving Neverland,” which explores allegations of sexual abuse against the “King of Pop.”
Lawyers for Jackson’s estate are asking HBO for more than $100 million as they accuse the network of defaming the artist, failing to include his version of events and breaking a “no disparagement” agreement signed between the channel and the musician in 1992.
The complaint is based on an old agreement reached by HBO to broadcast “Michael Jackson Live in Bucharest: The Dangerous Tour”, a concert by the artist whose contract included a clause whereby the channel undertook not to make any comments or practices that could “denigrate” Jackson or his representatives.
In its defense, HBO claimed that this clause is “irrelevant” to this case and accused Jackson’s heirs of wanting to silence victims of sexual abuse.