A number of radio stations across the world have dropped Michael Jackson songs from their playlists.
The news comes in the wake of the US broadcast of Leaving Neverland, in which revived sexual abuse allegations are made against the late singer.
- Read: “More victims will come out” – ‘Leaving Neverland’ director Dan Reed on Michael Jackson’s toxic legacy
According to CNN, multiple major radio stations in New Zealand have stopped airing Jackson’s music including commercial broadcaster MediaWorks. Meanwhile, CBC reports that in Canada three major Montreal-based radio stations have pulled Jackson off air.
In a statement, MediaWorks’ Leon Wratt said: “Michael Jackson isn’t currently on any MediaWorks Radio stations’ playlists. This is a reflection of our audiences and their preferences – it is our job to ensure our radio stations are playing the music people want to hear.”
NZME, a rival broadcaster to MediaWorks, told the New Zealand Herald: “NZME station playlists change from week to week and right now Michael Jackson does not feature on them.”
Over the weekend, BBC Radio 2 was compelled to clarify to NME that it had not pulled Jackson’s songs from the station’s playlists. It followed what a BBC spokeswoman said was an “incorrect” report by The Times that that was the case.
The BBC said that it doesn’t feature Jackson the playlist because it’s reserved 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.”
Director Dan Reed’s film, Leaving Neverland, focuses on testimony by Wade Robson, 36, and James Safechuck, 41, who both claim that Jackson sexually abused them when they were children.
The pair brought civil suits against Jackson’s estate following his death but these were thrown out by a judge in 2017 after ruling that the estate could not be held liable for the singer’s behaviour.
Today (March 6) we met protesters outside Channel 4 who were demonstrating against the UK broadcast of the documentary, which airs in two parts tonight and tomorrow, March 7 at 9pm on Channel 4.
The demonstrators are marching against the film after Channel 4 said there was “no change” in its commitment to airing the documentary despite demands from Jackson’s family and fans. We spoke to demonstrators who told us why they were against the airing of the documentary. Watch the video below.
Jackson’s family have denied the allegations in Leaving Neverland.