A top radio station in New Zealand will remove Michael Jackson from its track list as paedophilia allegations continue to be levelled against the pop icon.
Radio stations owned by MediaWorks and New Zealand Media Entertainment (NZME) will no longer play music from the artist in a move that is said to reflect the interest of the listeners.
‘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,’ MediaWorks Group content director Leon Wratt said.
According to Mr Watt, playlists will be adjusted for The Breeze, More FM and the MediaWorks’ wider brands, broadcast across both the north and south islands.
‘You’ve got 500 songs on a playlist and you have to make the decisions which 500 are the ones people will want to listen to,’ he told radio station Magic Talk.
Stations under the NZME branding include ZM, The Hits, Flava, Coast, and Newstalk ZB to name a few.
The move follows a trio of Canadian radio stations – CKOI, Rythme and The Beat – who have turned their backs on Jackson and his music.
It also follows a new documentary hitting TV screens around the world, which makes explosive sexual assault claims against Jackson.
Titled ‘Leaving Neverland’, the documentary tracks Wade Robson and James Safechuck and allegations the pop singer repeatedly molested them as children at Jackson’s Neverland Ranch.
Filmmaker Dan Reed said he hoped the allegations will shift opinions on Jackson and has asked fans to ‘re-evaluate the way we see’ the singer.
Reed has been both praised and criticised for the film, with masses of intrigued fans met by protesters at cinemas across the globe.
Defenders of the singer have also fiercely lashed out at the documentary online, calling it a ‘mockumentary’.
Jackson adamantly maintained he never harmed children.
In a 1998 interview, Jackson insisted he ‘wouldn’t care to live’ if it weren’t for children and blamed the media for being ‘so hard on me’ in the way it covered his relationship with youngsters.
‘Everything I do, every song I write, every song I write, they try to use it against me and it’s so upset, I’m so upset about it,’ he said.