3 major radio stations pull Michael Jackson music citing child abuse claims in 'Leaving Neverland'

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Cogeco Media, which owns 23 radio stations in Canada, including three major ones, have stopped playing Michael Jackson’s music. (Photo: Steve Granitz/WireImage)
Cogeco Media, which owns 23 radio stations in Canada, including three major ones, have stopped playing Michael Jackson’s music. (Photo: Steve Granitz/WireImage)

While Michael Jackson fans are divided over the child abuse allegations in Leaving Neverland, Cogeco Media, one of the largest radio networks in Quebec, has pulled the late singer’s music from its stations.

“We are attentive to the comments of our listeners, and the documentary released on Sunday evening created reactions,” company spokesperson Christine Dicaire told Yahoo in a statement. “We prefer to observe the situation by removing the songs from our stations, for the time being. No other comments will be made.”

The ban means that the King of Pop’s music will not be played on three major stations owned by the company — CKOI, Rythme and The Beat. Dicaire told the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation that the decision also applies to Cogeco Media stations in smaller markets. The company operates 23 radio stations in total that reach more than five million listeners per week.

So far, Cogeco Media is alone in its move to #SilenceMichaelJackson.

A Corus Radio spokesperson told the Canadian Press on Sunday, “We currently have no plans to pull the songs but are monitoring the situation closely.”

Variety reported that, despite stories that emerged over the weekend, England’s BBC2 had no plans to remove Jackson’s music. “The BBC does not ban artists,” a rep told the website. “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 the U.S., Cumulus Media, one of the largest owner and operators of AM and FM radio stations, said the company “is never in favor of censorship,” according to Variety.

Reps for iHeartRadio, the country’s largest radio network, declined Variety‘s request for comment and so did streaming services Spotify and Apple Music. (Last year, Spotify was widely criticized for its “hateful conduct” policy announced in response to R. Kelly.)

In the Leaving Neverland documentary, which aired on HBO Sunday and Monday, two men, Wade Robson and James Safechuck, detailed abuse allegations against the singer, who died in 2009. Jackson maintained his innocence amid similar allegations when he was alive — and was found not guilty of charges with both Robson and Safechuck testifying on his behalf.

The Jackson family has spoken out against the documentary — as has the Jackson Estate. Various members of Jackson’s family criticized Oprah Winfrey for having the accusers for a sit-down after the film aired. For her part, Winfrey, who was molested as a child, called sexual abuse “a scourge on humanity.”

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Meanwhile, the Michael Jackson musical will go on despite the allegations.


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