BBC Radio 2 has appeared to have stopped airing Michael Jackson songs in the wake of revived sexual abuse allegations against the late star.
The news comes ahead of Channel 4’s two-part broadcast of the four-hour Leaving Neverland documentary on March 6 and 7. Director Dan Reed’s film focuses on testimony by Wade Robson, 36, and James Safechuck, 41, who both claim that Jackson sexually abused them when they were children.
The Times reports that a decision is said to have been made during the last week, and that the last time a solo Jackson song was aired on the station was last Saturday (February 23). The BBC told NME: “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.”
The alleged victims, Robson and Safechuck, brought civil suits against Jackson’s estate following his death, which were thrown out by a judge in 2017 who ruled the estate could not be held liable for the singer’s behaviour.
Leaving Neverland airs in the US ahead of the UK on HBO this Sunday, March 3 and Monday, March 4. Oprah Winfrey has recorded an interview with Robson, Safechuck, and the documentary’s director Dan Reed, which will be broadcast in the US after the documentary’s conclusion on Monday.
Reed explained to NME earlier this week why he felt that he needed to make the documentary. “We had to establish that this wasn’t close physical contact of an innocent kind. This was full-on sexual activity. And that’s why there are these rather brutally graphic scenes described in the film,” he claimed.
Jackson’s family have denied the allegations in Leaving Neverland.