MTV reportedly changed the name of an award honoring Michael Jackson ahead of the 2019 Video Music Awards.
MTV removed Jackson’s name from the Video Vanguard Award quietly and without any explanation, according to a report published Wednesday by Page Six. Reports surfaced last month that the late pop star’s name could be absent from the award during Monday night’s show.
The decision reportedly was a move to get ahead of potential backlash after the release of the HBO documentary “Leaving Neverland.”
The network included Jackson’s name in a press release sent out announcing this year’s recipient of the award, Missy Elliot. However, most promos excluded the “Billie Jean” singer’s name. Jackson’s name was officially added to the award in 1991. (RELATED: Report: Aaron Carter Wants To Open About Personal Experience With Michael Jackson)
Elliot still honored Jackson when accepting the award during the show Monday night.
“The Michael Jackson Video Vanguard Award means so much to me,” she said before she thanked Janet Jackson for her inspiration.
Celebrities give their opinions on Leaving Neverland and defend Michael Jackson at last nights VMA’s pic.twitter.com/V7q9PUaOUG
— JR (@jamster83) August 27, 2019
Jackson was accused of sexually abusing young men throughout his lifetime. The HBO documentary follows the stories of two boys who claim they were abused by Jackson after the singer became close with their families.
Jackson’s estate has since sued HBO for $100 million. The estate claimed HBO violated a contract in which they were not allowed to make “disparaging remarks” about Jackson.