The late Pop icon, Michael Jackson, is the latest musician to have his career run through the mud due to allegations of sexual abuse of minors.
In a documentary titled “Leaving Neverland” on HBO, Wade Robson and James Safechuck allege that when they were children, Jackson regularly sexually abused them. They shared their stories in graphic detail, complete with a follow-up interview with Oprah Winfrey on After Neverland.
After the documentary aired, dozens of radio stations have begun refusing to air Jackson’s music including New Zealand stations that broadcast to over half of the population. State-owned RNZ said their decision is “a reflection of our audiences and their preferences”. NZME director Dean Buchanan said, “Playlists change from week to week and right now Michael Jackson does not feature on them.”
Canadian radio stations are also following suit. The owner of Montreal’s French-language stations CKOI and Rythme, and the English-language The Beat, said Jackson’s music would not be played until further notice. Media company Cogeco covers 23 smaller stations and won’t feature Jackson on their airwaves, either.
These radio stations aren’t saying that they believe Jackson is guilty of the accusations, but they are just responding to the public’s outcry.
The Jackson family have vehemently denied the allegations, saying it is “an outrageous and pathetic attempt to exploit and cash in on Michael Jackson.”
Dan Reed, the director of the documentary, on the other hand, 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.”