The estate of Michael Jackson is suing the makers of new documentary Leaving Neverland for $100 million (nearly £77 million).
It is citing a contract HBO signed in 1992, when it broadcast the show Michael Jackson in Concert in Bucharest: The Dangerous Tour.
A clause in the contract prevented the broadcaster from disparaging the singer in any of its future content.
“The Jackson Estate will seek all damages proximately caused by HBO’s reprehensible disparagement of Michael Jackson, which could exceed $100 million should HBO succeed in the damage it is intending to cause to the legacy of Michael Jackson,” reads the complaint.
Attorney for the Jackson estate Howard Weitzman told Deadline: “HBO breached its agreement not to disparage Michael Jackson by producing and selling to the public a one-sided marathon of unvetted propaganda to shamelessly exploit an innocent man no longer here to defend himself.”
The documentary, which spans four hours and was premiered at the Sundance Film Festival last month, centres on testimony from Wade Robson and James Safechuck, who Jackson befriended as children.
Both claim they were subjected to sexual abuse at the hands of the singer aged seven and 10.
HBO has said that it still intends to broadcast the documentary, made by British BAFTA-winning director Dan Reed, next month.
“Despite the desperate lengths taken to undermine the film, our plans remain unchanged,” it said in a statement.
“HBO will move forward with the airing of Leaving Neverland, the two-part documentary, on March 3rd and 4th. This will allow everyone the opportunity to assess the film and the claims in it for themselves.”
The film will also be shown on Channel 4 on March 5 and 6.