SCLC President Dr. Charles Steele, Jr. Urges HBO to Cancel Airing of Documentary on Michael Jackson

ATLANTA – Dr. Charles Steele, Jr., president and CEO of The Southern Christian Leadership Conference (SCLC), the organization once led and co-founded by Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., issued the following statement regarding HBO’s plans to air a documentary Sunday and Monday night on the late King of Pop Michael Jackson.

“As national President/CEO of the Southern Christian Leadership Conference, I find the posthumous lynching, Leaving Neverland, to be both unfair and unacceptable.

It troubles me that HBO/AT&T/Warner Media would lodge allegations against someone who is deceased and not able to defend himself. These same allegations, when raised in trial in a court of law during Michael Jackson’s lifetime, affirmed his innocent.

Furthermore, the subjects of the documentary have given numerous conflicting stories and have been widely discredited. Additionally, the documentary is admittedly one-sided, offering no chance for rebuttal.

To try Michael now in the court of public opinion is an affront to his legacy, a smear to his reputation, and incongruent with the principles of justice and reconciliation which our founding president, Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. professed in his nonviolence philosophy.

I am voicing these concerns at the behest of the loyal supporters of the Jackson Family. As a human and civil rights leader, I find the concept of the documentary offensive. In the spirit of Dr. King and his nonviolence philosophy, we ask that you reconsider your decision to air this documentary.

We are available to meet or discuss this important and sensitive issue at your earliest convenience.”

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