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News of Zealand

Heaps of NZ Radio Stations Are Boycotting Michael Jackson’s Music

The move follows the release of ‘Leaving Neverland’ which revealed new child abuse allegations.

by Zoe Madden-Smith
06 March 2019, 10:25pm

The King of Pop’s music has been cut from a bunch of New Zealand radio stations after the international release of Leaving Neverland surfaced new child abuse allegations.

MediaWorks, who own The Edge, The Rock, More FM and the Sound, announced yesterday they have dropped Michael Jackson’s songs from their playlists. And another large player NZME, who looks after ZM, the Hits, Hauraki and Coast, have also stopped playing the disgraced singer’s tunes.

The shocking HBO documentary tells the story of two men who allege Jackson molested them as children. It aired on cable-TV in the US on Sunday and Monday.

In a statement, MediaWorks Group content director Leon Wratt said they made the call because they want to give their audience what they want. Wratt said that all of MediaWorks' stations regularly research the reaction to songs they play and use this audience feedback to shape their content.

"While some people still like Michael Jackson, there's a lot of people out there who don't," he said. "We [MediaWorks] 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."

Dean Buchanan, group director of entertainment at NZME said: "NZME station playlists change from week to week and right now Michael Jackson does not feature on them".

Jackson's music has also been pulled from the BBC Radio 2 playlist in the UK, and from Canadian radio stations CKOI, Rythme and The Beatin.

The UK will get to see the documentary today on Channel 4, but New Zealanders will have to wait for it’s TVNZ premiere this weekend. Part 1 of Leaving Neverland screens on TVNZ 1 Sunday, March 10 at 8.30PM, part 2 screens Monday, March 11 at 8.30pm. The estate of Michael Jackson has already sued HBO over the documentary, saying it violates a 1992 contract to air a Jackson concert and not to devalue the singer.