BBC Radio 2 have responded to reports that they have stopped playing Michael Jackson songs in the wake of revived sexual abuse allegations against the late star.
The news comes ahead of Channel 4’s two-part broadcast of the four-hour Leaving Neverland documentary on March 6 and 7. Director Dan Reed’s film focuses on testimony by Wade Robson, 36, and James Safechuck, 41, who both claim that Jackson sexually abused them when they were children.
The Times reported that a decision was said to have been made during the last week, and that the last time a solo Jackson song was aired on the station was last Saturday (February 23).
The BBC told NME that in fact Jackson simply doesn’t feature on the playlist because it is for new releases. As for other tracks played, they said that they don’t actually ban any artists from the air, adding: “We consider each piece of music on its merits and decisions on what we play on different networks are always made with relevant audiences and context in mind.”
Jackson’s alleged victims, Robson and Safechuck, brought civil suits against Jackson’s estate following his death, which were thrown out by a judge in 2017 who ruled the estate could not be held liable for the singer’s behaviour.
The two-part documentary will air in the UK on Channel 4 on Wednesday 6 and Thursday 7 March.
Reed explained to NME last week why he felt that he needed to make the documentary. “We had to establish that this wasn’t close physical contact of an innocent kind. This was full-on sexual activity. And that’s why there are these rather brutally graphic scenes described in the film,” he claimed.
Jackson’s family have denied the allegations in Leaving Neverland.