MTV may cut Michael Jackson’s name from their Vanguard Award at the VMAs as fallout from the HBO documentary “Leaving Neverland” continues to loom over Jackson’s legacy.
According to exclusive sources that spoke with Page Six, “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 said. “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.”
The prestigious Video Vanguard Award was first given to Jackson in 1988.
MTV renamed it in his honor in 1991, and some of the biggest artists of all time including Rihanna, Beyoncé, Kanye West, Britney Spears, U2 and Jennifer Lopez (last year’s recipient) have been honored under the current name.
The controversial HBO documentary which focused on disturbing sexual-abuse allegations by former Jackson protégés Wade Robson and James Safechuck is said to still be a factor in the networks name dilemma. Both men claimed Jackson groomed them as kids to have a sexual relationship.
“MTV [potentially] banning his name is the latest fallout. They haven’t decided yet, but they’ve been going back and forth on it. There are a lot of issues,” a source said.
The MTV Video Music Awards, will air in August and will feature performers and nominees such as Ariana Grande, Taylor Swift, Billie Eilish, and Lil Nas X.
Grande and Swift lead the nominations this year with ten each.
The network does not give the Vanguard award every year, so that may buy them time to make a final decision on the matter.
No word yet on a decision from the network.