Back in March, HBO premiered Leaving Neverland, which featured Wade Robson and James Safechuck detailing the alleged sexual abuse they say they endured at the hands of Michael Jackson when they were boys. On Monday, Robson expressed disappointment in MTV for keeping the late music icon’s name on its Video Vanguard Award for this year’s Video Music Awards.
“I don’t personally need MTV to do one thing or the other, but as child abuse survivors all over the world watch to see whether society will support them or not if they have the courage to come forward, in that regard, it’s an unfortunate choice,” Robson told The Wrap.
The network began recognizing artists with the Video Vanguard Award in 1984 and named the honor after Jackson in 1991. Missy Elliott will become the first female rapper to receive the award at this year's show, on Aug. 26. Past recipients include Jennifer Lopez, Beyoncé, Justin Timberlake, Madonna, Britney Spears, P!nk and more.
Leaving Neverland is nominated for five Emmys this year. The Dan Reed-directed project has nods in the following categories: outstanding directing for a documentary/nonfiction program; outstanding documentary or nonfiction special; outstanding picture editing for a nonfiction program; outstanding sound editing for a nonfiction program; and outstanding sound mixing for a nonfiction program.