FILE - In this March 2, 2005 file photo, pop icon Michael Jackson waves to his supporters as he arrives for his child molestation trial at the Santa Barbara County Superior Court in Santa Maria, Calif. A new documentary premiering Sunday on HBO, “Leaving Neverland,” is about the abuse allegations of two men, Wade Robson and James Safechuck, who had previously denied Jackson molested them and supported him to authorities and in Robson’s case, very publicly. (AP Photo/Michael A. Mariant, File)

Quebec stations stop playing Michael Jackson, citing abuse allegations

Company operates 23 radio stations that it says reach more than 5 million listeners every week

Three major Montreal radio stations have stopped playing Michael Jackson songs as a result of child-molestation allegations against the late musician aired Sunday in an HBO documentary.

A spokeswoman for the owner of the French-language stations CKOI and Rythme and the English-language The Beat said they pulled Jackson’s music Monday morning.

“We are attentive to listeners’ comments, and last night’s documentary created reactions,” Christine Dicaire, director of marketing and communications for Cogeco, said in a written statement.

She added that the decision will also apply to Cogeco Media stations in smaller markets in the province. The company operates 23 radio stations that it says reach more than 5 million listeners every week.

Dicaire said the company would not comment further.

No other broadcasters contacted said they plan to remove Jackson hits from the airwaves. “We currently have no plans to pull the songs but are monitoring the situation closely,” Chris Sarpong, a spokesman for Corus Radio, said in an email to The Canadian Press on Sunday.

The documentary “Leaving Neverland,” which premiered in January at the Sundance Film Festival to a standing ovation, began airing on HBO Sunday. It details the abuse allegations of two men, Wade Robson and James Safechuck, who had previously denied Jackson molested them and actually supported him to authorities.

READ MORE: Radio station pulls ‘Baby It’s Cold Outside’, citing MeToo movement

Jackson’s family and his estate have denounced the documentary in recent weeks through written statements, a lawsuit and letters to HBO and Britain’s Channel 4, which also plans to air the film. Their central criticism has been the film’s failure to talk to family members or other defenders of Jackson, whom they insist never molested a child.

The documentary’s director Dan Reed has defended his film, which uses only the voices of Robson, Safechuck and their families.

“It’s the story of these two families and not of all the other people who were or weren’t abused by Michael Jackson,” Reed told The Associated Press after the film’s premiere. “People who spent time with him can go, ‘He couldn’t possibly be a pedophile.’ How do they know? It’s absurd.”

Robson, 36, and Safechuck, 40, both came forward as adults, first via 2013 lawsuits and later in the documentary, to talk about the alleged abuse, which Robson says started when he was 7, Safechuck when he was 10.

Both had previously told authorities there had been no abuse, with Robson testifying in Jackson’s defence at the 2005 molestation trial that ended with the superstar’s acquittal. Jackson died in 2009.

— With files from The Associated Press

The Canadian Press

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Happy hour, dance party fundraiser for Central Okanagan Food Bank

Local musicians perform a virtual concert on June 5

New restaurant set to open across Kelowna’s Gyro Beach

Diner Deluxe has had some setbacks, including a pandemic, but they’re ready to welcome guests

Central Okanagan school buses to remain parked through the summer

The board of education made the decision to nix bus services on Wednesday

Booze on Kelowna beaches? Mayor says ‘not at the moment’

Mayor Colin Basran says alcohol in public spaces is not on council’s radar right now — but that could change

Motor trike crashes into hole in Ellison area

A man was taken to hospital after crashing his trike on Anderson Road

Mission prison COVID-19 outbreak ends, 9 new cases in B.C.

New positive test at Port Coquitlam care home

Flood watch for Salmon River upgraded as high temperatures, rain forecast

Shuswap Emergency Program warns residents to prepare now for possible extreme flooding

Man who bound, murdered Vancouver Island teen still a risk to public: parole board

Kimberly Proctor’s killer is still ‘mismanaging emotions,’ has had ‘temper tantrums’

VIDEO: Humpback whales put on quite a show

The ‘playful’ pod lingered by a Campbell River tour operator’s boat for quite some time

RCMP request public’s help in locating missing Salmon Arm man

Ken Derkach is a familiar face to many, one of the city’s residents who is without a home

Getting hitched at historic B.C. gold rush town still on table during COVID-19 pandemic

Micro-weddings, online visits, offered at Barkerville Historic Town and Park

VIDEO: Police look for suspect seen tripping elderly woman in Burnaby

The elderly woman was walking near the SkyTrain station when she was randomly tripped

Drunk man on a dirt bike and prohibited drivers without insurance keep Shuswap RCMP busy

Other calls resulted in excessive speed tickets and the arrests of two prohibited drivers

Summerland amends procedure for virtual council meetings, adding transparency

During COVID-19 pandemic, meetings have been held using online technology

Most Read