By Emma Moylan

7th March 2019

Michael Jackson’s music has been pulled from radio stations after a documentary explored allegations made against the singer.

 

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The Leaving Neverland documentary aired last night, provoking radio stations to pull his music and fans to question their appreciation of the pop star.

Two men detailed their allegations about the late singer who had previously denied Jackson had molested them as children.

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In the documentary, the two men accused Jackson of ‘graphic and extensive sexual abuse’ and even claimed that the singer made them participate in a mock marriage.

Since, dozens of radio stations have made the decision to remove his music from their playlists.

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The public broadcaster in New Zealand as well as its major rivals united in choosing to ban the pop singer’s hits from being played.

MediaWorks, the owner of nine major radio stations, confirmed their decision to take Michael Jackson off their playlists, defending their decision as:

“a reflection of our audiences and their preferences.”

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Radio stations in Canada also chose to adopt an MJ hiatus as three major stations ditched the songs. A spokeswoman for the company Cogeco said the decision was in response to listener reactions.

The singers estate criticised the documentary as:

“an outrageous and pathetic attempt to exploit and cash in on Michael Jackson.”

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Opinion has been divided about the revelations. Some are questioning their admiration for the pop star and are supporting radio stations’ decisions to pull his songs. Some claim that playing the songs will help the people profit who covered up the injustices that Michael forced on children.

Meanwhile, some fans are defending Michael and sending death threats against the film’s director, Dan Reed, and the two men levelling the accusations.

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Reed said:

“People will have to listen to his music in the knowledge that he was a prolific child rapist. If they’re comfortable doing that, fine. If they’re not, well perhaps listen to something else for a while.”

Leon Wratt who works for MediaWorks said:

“The audience has always been pretty split over Michael … you’ve got 500 songs on a playlist and you have to make the decisions which 500 are the ones people will want to listen to.”

“We [MediaWorks] aren’t deciding whether Michael Jackson is guilty of paedophilia, we’re just making sure our radio stations are going to play the music people want to hear.”

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The singer was cleared of any accusations of child molesting after a trial in 2005 but the allegations have been known to the public for a long time. Streaming services have not made the decision to remove his music.

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It is unknown whether the radio stations will pull music of other artists under investigation such as R Kelly who has been accused of serial misconduct. Last May, Spotify ceased to promote the rapper’s music but rescinded the decision soon after.

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In February, the Neverland estate canceled the Chicago run of a musical about his life after the premiere of the documentary.

The estate is currently seeking $100 million in damages from HBO after the estates lawyer called the documentary a ‘disgrace’.

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