Following the HBO documentary ‘Leaving Neverland’, Michael Jackson songs have been banned from radio stations across the globe including New Zealand and Canada.
In the wake of the US broadcast of ’Leaving Neverland’, in which revived sexual abuse allegations are made against the late and great pop star Michael Jackson, a number of radio stations have dropped his songs from their playlists.
In the two-part film, which began airing on HBO on Sunday, Wade Robson and James Safechuck accuse the singer of sexually abusing them over a period of several years when they were as young as 7 and 10. Jackson’s estate has pushed back against the film and has filed law suits of their own saying the documentary is a “public lynching,”and is suing HBO, which shares a parent company with CNN, Warner Media.
The documentary has had a mixed reaction from viewers with some expressing their disgust of the star’s supposed behaviour and have sided with the alleged victims while others have taken to the singer’s defense.
This has left a large following of music fans across the world feeling uncomfortable about listening to Jackson’s music in the wake of the allegations and has subsequently led to several radio stations across the world pulling his music from the airwaves.
According to CNN, multiple major radio stations in New Zealand have stopped airing Jackson’s music including commercial broadcaster MediaWorks. Meanwhile, over at CBC, there have been reports that in Canada three major Montreal-based radio stations have also pulled the King of Pop’s music 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.”
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.”