Radio stations in Australia, Canada and New Zealand have become the latest to ban Michael Jackson from the air after horrific abuse claims.
Sydney’s Nova Entertainment on Thursday became the latest radio group to announce they are taking the late ‘King of Pop’ off the air in response to public opinion.
Wade Robson and James Safechuck claim in HBO’s Leaving Neverland that Jackson abused them aged seven and ten respectively.
The documentary has not yet been broadcast in Australia. A second major Australian radio network, ARN, said it was ‘closely monitoring audience sentiment in relation to individual artists’.
In New Zealand, the star’s songs are now almost totally absent from the airwaves, after being pulled by the country’s two biggest radio networks, MediaWorks and NZME.
The two companies between them dominate commercial radio.
‘We 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,’ MediaWorks director of content, Leon Wratt, told Magic FM.
He said the decision was ‘a reflection of our audiences and their preferences’.
NZME group director of entertainment, Dean Buchanan, confirmed Jackson’s material was off the air, though he shied away from talk of a ban.
Meanwhile, public broadcaster Radio NZ said Jackson’s songs did not feature on its playlists anyway.
A major radio station in Quebec and Ontario announced the decision to stop playing Jackson across its 23 stations, affecting around five million listeners.
A spokeswoman told CTV: ‘We are attentive to listeners’ comments, and last night’s documentary created reactions.’
It had been claimed by The Times that Jackson was quietly pulled from BBC Radio 2, but this was later denied by the BBC who say they do not ban artists.
The HBO documentary, which aired in the United States on Sunday, has rekindled long-running questions about Jackson’s relationship with children.
The four-hour two-part documentary – which premiered at the Sundance Film Festival this year – has made sure those allegations continue a decade after he died of an overdose.
Jackson’s estate has denied wrongdoing and filed a $100 million (£76m) lawsuit against HBO.
The 53-page complaint, filed in Los Angeles Superior Court, claims HBO was violating a ‘non-disparagement’ agreement by airing the documentary.
‘Ten years after his passing, there are still those out to profit from his enormous worldwide success and take advantage of his eccentricities,’ the suit claimed.
The decisions not to play Jackson’s music will no doubt further tarnish his brand and could result in a loss of radio royalties.