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.

Just Posted

Leeroy Stagger to bring edgier new sound to the Capital Ballroom

Award-winning folk artist will highlight new album, Strange Path, at Oct. 20 show

Ginormous 10-foot dragon towers over Saanich yard

Artist Dan Iochelli spent seven years crafting the metal beast

Popular corn maze at North Saanich’s Pendray Farms out of operation

No Halloween-themed activities taking place this year at local farm

Return of the undead: Victoria Zombie Walk hits the streets

Hundreds of zombies expected for annual event Oct. 26 in Centennial Square

Investigation into cause of Saanich structure fire underway

The Friday morning fire left contents of the home ‘beyond repair,’ says a Saanich firefighter

VIDEO: Explosion, fire sends woman running from Saanich home

Heavy smoke in the area, crews on scene

Jack’s Devils beat Quinn’s Canucks 1-0 in NHL brother battle

New Jersey youngster scores first career goal against Vancouver

Two charged after owner’s wild ride through Kamloops in his stolen truck

Crystal Rae Dorrington, 37, and Derrick Ronald Pearson, 32, facing multiple charges

Judge orders credit union’s bank records for Kelowna social worker facing theft allegations

The man is accused of negligence, breach of contract, fraud and a conspiracy with Interior Savings

Leaders pour it on with rallies, boosts for candidates as campaign reaches peak

The federal election campaign has reached a crescendo

Allegations of racism lead to ministry investigation at Vancouver private school

St. George’s School was contacted over what the school describes as ‘deeply offensive behaviour online’

Not a political question: Thunberg calls for climate action in Alberta

Edmonton police estimated the size of the crowd at about 4,000

Zantac, the over-the-counter heartburn drug, pulled in Canada, U.S.

Health Canada also investigates possible carcinogen in some ranitidine drugs

B.C. public safety minister says cannabis edibles not in stores til January

Mike Farnworth says he wants regional issues considered when it comes to licensing

Most Read