Michael Jackson‘s legacy is still experiencing backlash from the explosive documentary Leaving Neverland.
As a result, MTV is contemplating removing Jackson’s name from its Video Vanguard Award for the Video Music Awards in August, reported the New York Post‘s Page Six.
“There’s a lot of heated discussion at the network about how to handle the Michael Jackson Video Vanguard Award this year, and it’s getting ugly,” a source told Page Six. “There’s talk about if they should change the name, or get rid of it altogether. [There’s also talk] about who would present it and who would accept it. It’s a mess.”
Leaving Neverland highlighted sexual-abuse allegations by two of Jackson’s former child protege’s Wade Robson and James Safechuck. In the documentary the men and their families described the relationships they had with Jackson, which included stories of how Jackson groomed these men to be sexual partners with him during their adolescence.
The Jackson estate denied the allegations and has since filed a $100 million lawsuit against HBO for violating a clause in a 1992 contract. The contract barred MTV from making “disparaging remarks” about Jackson, but HBO says the contract has expired.
The documentary aired in March, but Jackson’s legacy is still taking hits because of Robson and Safechuck’s allegations.
“MTV [potentially] banning his name is the latest fallout. They haven’t decided yet, but they’ve been going back and forth on it. There are a lot of issues,” a source told Page Six.
The VMA Video Vanguard award has recognized the accomplishments of artists, directors, and entertainers since 1984. Jackson’s work in music and his groundbreaking visuals, is what made the network rename the award the Michael Jackson Video Vanguard Award in 1991, according to Yahoo News.
The 2018 recipient of the Video Vanguard award was Jennifer Lopez, which the network released last July ahead of the August awards show. There has been no word on this years recipient.