Michael Jackson’s name was erased from MTV’s Video Vanguard Award at its video music awards show on Monday.
The music network quietly removed the late King of Pop from the name of its flagship award, which was renamed for Jackson in 1991, without explanation during Monday’s show. Editors at Page Six reported last month that MTV would pull Jackson’s name from the honour due to potential backlash after HBO’s screening of controversial documentary Leaving Neverland.
The film focuses on historic sexual abuse allegations made against the star by James Safechuck and Wade Robinson. Jackson’s estate is suing HBO over the film.
Jackson’s name was included on a press release sent out to announce the honour, which was presented to rapper Missy Elliott this year, but other promos excluded his name.
Elliott mentioned the Thriller singer during her acceptance speech, saying, “The Michael Jackson Video Vanguard Award means so much to me,” before thanking pal Janet Jackson for her friendship and inspiration.
MTV officials have not yet commented on the decision.