Viewers noticed on Monday’s 2019 MTV Video Music Awards that Michael Jackson’s name was not being said when mentioning the Video Vanguard Award. Fearing potential backlash from HBO’s eye-opening documentary Leaving Neverland, the network quietly removed the King of Pop’s name from the award. Page Six first reported MTV was considering the move due to the shocking allegations levied against the late singer in the doc.
In the press release announcing that Missy Elliott was going to be this year’s recipient of the Vanguard Award Jackson’s name was mentioned. However, in promos leading up to the show, his name was not used. During her speech, Missy did make sure to mention him saying, “The Michael Jackson Video Vanguard Award means so much to me,” before thanking Janet Jackson.
Viewers and fans definitely took notice that Missy made sure remind everyone that the award was renamed after the “Thriller” crafter.
In an IG post announcing her nomination to fans, Elliott also called if the Michael Jackson Video Vanguard award.
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I am Humbly Grateful to be receiving the MichaelJacksonVideoVanguard Award😭🙏🏾❤️ I Thank my FANS “Supafriends” who fought diligently to see this day come🙏🏾 @KidFury @crissles who rooted for years!❤️I am crying right now so thankful 😭 I didn’t know if I would ever receive this but I want y’all to know I do not take it for Granted I am GRATEFUL @atlanticrecords @monascottyoung Thank you Dear God!!! @MTV @vmas am SO HUMBLED🙏🏾 #VA hometeam! two up two down❤️ lastly the WHOLE DANCE COMMUNITY❤️🙏🏾#ThrowItBack #ThrowItBack
Jackson’s estate is currently suing HBO over the film, the network fired back demanding the lawsuit be thrown out. Whatever the case, looks like the damage from the documentary has already been done.
Photo: Roy Rochlin / Getty