In the wake of the Sundance debut of the controversial Michael Jackson documentary Leaving Neverland, multiple radio stations across the world are choosing to remove the legendary superstar’s music from their playlists. As CNN notes, several outlets in Canada and New Zealand have dropped Michael Jackson from rotation, adding to the collective shift of public opinion towards Michael Jackson as a person and as an artist.
"Michael Jackson isn’t currently on any MediaWorks Radio stations’ playlists," MediaWorks radio director Leon Wratt shared in an official statement. "This is a reflection of our audiences and their preferences — it is our job to ensure our radio stations are playing the music people want to hear."
MediaWorks rival NZME will also no longer play Michael Jackson records. "NZME station playlists change from week to week and right now Michael Jackson does not feature on them," NZME entertainment director Dean Buchanan explained to the New Zealand Herald.
A publicly-funded New Zealand station, Radio NZ, added that it will only play Jackson’s songs if they contribute to a particular story or "provide color around a commentary piece."
Over in Canada, three significant Montreal stations have removed Michael Jackson’s music from their rotations as well, while many other Canadian companies are currently keeping a tap on the situation to see how it develops.
For their response, the Jackson Estate has moved forward with a lawsuit against HBO, labeling the film as a "public lynching" and a "tabloid character assassination."
"The film takes uncorroborated allegations that supposedly happened 20 years ago and treats them as fact," reads a previously-released statement from the Jackson Estate. "These claims were the basis of lawsuits filed by these two admitted liars which were ultimately dismissed by a judge. The two accusers testified under oath that these events never occurred. They have provided no independent evidence and absolutely no proof in support of their accusations, which means the entire film hinges solely on the word of two perjurers."
We’ll keep you updated as this story continues.
Earlier this month, the Jackson Estate revealed plans to release new concert films involving Michael Jackson.