The King of Pop has had the honor of having MTV’s Video Vanguard Award named after him since 1991. However, following confusion over the “Leaving Neverland” documentary that released earlier this year, the network is reportedly considering removing the deceased icon’s name from the award.
A close source disclosed to Page Six that MTV is in talks about renaming the prestigious video music award.
“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,” the source claims. “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.”
Since the inception of the MTV VMA in 1982, the network has recognized the accomplishments of legendary artists, directors, and entertainers with their VMA Video Vanguard Award. After years of creating groundbreaking visuals like “Thriller”, “Leave Me Alone”, and “Moonwalker” among others, the network decided to rename the award to the Michael Jackson Video Vanguard Award in 1991.
But after HBO resurfaced claims that Jackson allegedly sexually abused two minors in their March-released Leaving Neverland documentary, many have been left questioning their respect for the pop icon including MTV.
“MTV [potentially] banning his name is the latest fallout,” the source said. “They haven’t decided yet, but they’ve been going back and forth on it. There are a lot of issues.”
In Leaving Neverland, two men, Wade Robson and James Safechuck, shared their claims of having a sexual relationship with Jackson while they were children. Backlash from the documentary had many people upset at both Jackson and HBO. While some have questioned the validity of Robson and Safechuck’s allegations, others decided to boycott Jackson’s music.