Radio stations throughout Canada and New Zealand are opting out of playing Michael Jackson‘s music following the recent release of Leaving Neverland on HBO. The documentary, centered on two men who allege Jackson sexually abused them when they were children, aired in two parts on HBO March 3 and 4.
READ: Michael Jackson Estate Suing HBO for $100 Million Over “Leaving Neverland” Doc
Three major Canadian radio stations are no longer playing the late pop star’s music according to The Guardian. The owner of the Montreal French-language stations CKOI and Rythme and the English-language The Beat reportedly pulled his music Monday morning. Both CKOI and Rythme, along with 23 smaller radio stations, are owned under Cogeco.
Christine Dicaire, a spokeswoman for Cogeco, said the removal of Jackson’s music was a response to listener reactions to the documentary.
As for New Zealand, Radio New Zealand (RNZ), MediaWorks (which owns nine major commercial radio stations), New Zealand Media and Entertainment all decided to remove pull Jackson’s music from its radio stations. However, it’s unknown how long the Thriller artist’s music will remain off the air.
MediaWorks said “we will be guided by our audience” on whether the deletion is permanent while RNZ said the only exception would be if songs were played “as part of a news story or to provide colour around a commentary piece” at the moment.
The BBC had also reportedly banned Jackson’s music from its broadcast but it has since been denied.
“The BBC does not ban artists,” a spokesperson for the BBC said according to Variety. “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,”
In related news, Stevie Wonder, a former friend and collaborator of Jackson’s, recently spoke about the controversy surrounding Leaving Neverland and how some fans now have conflicting feelings about listening to his music.
When asked about this by TMZ, Wonder said, “He’s died, he’s dead. Hopefully, we can continue the legacy of inspiration he has given a lot of kids and a lot of people.”
Source: The Guardian
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