There was a detail from the MTV VMAs you might have missed. MTV removed Michael Jackson‘s name from the VMA Video Vanguard Award on Monday night. No explanation was offered for the decision, and the show proceeded without any questions to the choice.
According to Page Six, which previously reported that MTV would remove the moniker following the HBO documentary Leaving Neverland, MTV was planning to pull Jackson’s name from the award roughly a month prior to the awards show. The documentary, which premiered on HBO in March, detailed the alleged accounts of sexual abuse committed by Jackson from boys who were guests at Jackson’s Neverland estate.
MTV did include Jackson’s name on the press release that announced Missy Elliott as the 2019 recipient of the award. But when it came to promotion for the show, Jackson’s name was not mentioned. In 1991, MTV renamed the award with the inclusion of Jackson’s name. Upon accepting the milestone award, Elliott said in her speech, “The Michael Jackson Video Vanguard Award means so much to me.” She also thanked Janet Jackson — Michael’s sister — for her support and friendship. Michael’s estate is currently in the process of suing HBO over the film. MTV has yet to comment.
Michael died on June 25, 2009 — 10 years ago — due to cardiac arrest. The performer, who helped to revolutionize MTV’s place in the pop culture lexicon, was the recipient of a number of honors, including 13 Grammy awards. Jackson is survived by his three children, Paris, Blanket and Prince, and still maintains an impressive iconography and music fan base.