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

Harrison Festival fundraiser dance to have ’70s theme and features Chilliwack band

Chilliwack band The Vacationers to perform at May 31 Harrison Festival Society’s fundraising concert

Seven Days in Chilliwack

A list of community events happening in Chilliwack from May 26 to June 2

Seabird Island opens 50th annual festival

The weekend festival will see First Nations teams compete in soccer, three-pitch and canoe races

Chilliwack school district estimates costs of tampons, pads at $22,500 annually

Free menstrual products to be provided in washrooms and medical rooms by end of 2019

Police find loaded rifle in car of ‘prolific offender’ prohibited from driving

Tyler Houle of Abbotsford arrested Wednesday in Chilliwack

REPLAY: The best videos from across B.C. this week

In case you missed it, here’s a look at the replay-worth highlights from this week in the province

Wildfire crews watching for dangerous wind shift in High Level, Alta.

The Chuckegg Creek fire is raging out of control about three kilometres southwest of the town

UN urges Canada to take more vulnerable Mexican migrants from Central America

The request comes as the United States takes a harder line on its Mexican border

Mistrial declared in Jamie Bacon murder plot trial

Bacon was on trial for counselling to commit the murder of Person X

B.C. VIEWS: Money-laundering melodrama made for TV

Public inquiry staged to point fingers before 2021 election

Canadian homebuyers escaping high housing costs by moving to secondary cities

In British Columbia, exurbs have grown in the Hope Valley and Kamloops

Feds lay out proposed new rules for voice, video recorders in locomotives

Transport Canada wants to limit use of recorders to if a crew’s actions led to a crash

Raptors beat Bucks 100-94 to advance to franchise’s first-ever NBA Finals

Leonard has 27 points, 17 boards to lead Toronto past Milwaukee

Most Read