Radio stations across the world have banned the music of Michael Jackson following the release of Channel 4 documentary Leaving Neverland. The film brings back to light old allegations of child abuse against the music icon, but is such censorship justified when he was never convicted and is no longer here to defend himself?
In Lincoln, Siren Radio hasn’t outright banned Jackson’s songs, but they have been taken out of auto-rotation.
Managing editor Andrew David said: “What would the feeling be if we were playing lots of Jackson tracks?
“For a month we’ve decided to take the songs out of rotation. This doesn’t stop presenters choosing them but they would all understand they need to refer it to myself or one of the senior team.”
Mr David pointed to the station’s responsibility to under 18 listeners as a factor in the decision:
“It has to be age appropriate and our age on the license is 9 to 24, therefore we have a responsibility to our under 18 listeners. If you ask me how I judge it – imagine your younger sister is in the back of the car and a song comes on and they say, ‘oh that’s Michael Jackson, isn’t he a nasty person who has done something bad with people?’ How does mum explain that?”
Alex Brown who works as a radio presenter at another station said: “At the moment I would still play Michael Jackson because even though I now believe the allegations nothing has happened through a court of law.”
You can listen to more of what Andrew David had to say on today’s LSJ News podcast. LSJ’s Oliver Pridmore and Sam Steers also joined me in studio to discuss the issue:
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MJ Innocent Campaign
It seems that for every person who believes the allegations there’s a fan who thinks the evidence is lacking.
Seány O’Kane, founder of the MJ Innocent campaign said: “This conversation topic isn’t new. The same question was asked in 1993 and 2003 and now in 2019 his albums are continuing to soar in the charts.”
The group organised a crowd-funding campaign after the documentary aired last week and has purchased adverts on London buses proclaiming Jackson innocent and listing counter arguments to the film.
Mr O’Kane added: “If anyone is considering banning or temporarily silencing Michael Jackson’s music amidst these allegations, then we would be interested to know whether they have banned the music of other artists with allegations or those who have committed actual crimes, such as The Who’s Pete Townshend.”
Townshend was placed on the sex offenders register for five years in 2003 after admitting to using a credit card to access a child pornography, which he claims was for research purposes.
Should Michael Jackson or other artists like Townshend be censored for their crimes or alleged crimes? Let us know in today’s poll:
— LSJ News (@LSJTweets) March 12, 2019