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

Bail denied for alleged Chilliwack firearm thief convicted of similar crime in Alberta

Andrew Scott Charpentier charged with numerous offences after guns seized from Reece Avenue address

Figures reveal spike in highway traffic jams between Abbotsford and Langley

Nearly one in 20 westbound vehicles between Abbotsford and Langley clocked at under 60 km/h

Taser takedown in Chilliwack complex after incident gets violent

Male suspect became agitated under questioning and repeatedly punched an officer

Agassiz man pleads guilty in snake venom death of toddler

Plea comes more than five years after the incident in North Vancouver

Young Chilliwack singer launches career with French classic

Deanne Ratzlaff performs as featured vocalist in La Vie en Rose in Chilliwack, London and Paris

VIDEO: Find Me My Furever Home – Moni at the Chilliwack SPCA

This week’s animal is Moni, an obedient 10-year-old Australian shepherd cross at the Chilliwack SPCA

Canadian high school science courses behind on climate change, says UBC study

Researchers found performance on key areas varies by province and territory

UPDATE: One dead after house fire in rural Maple Ridge

Dewdney Trunk Road closed, traffic being re-routed

Six inducted into BC Hockey Hall of Fame

The 26th ceremony in Penticton welcomed powerful figures both from on and off the ice

Highway 1 closed near Revelstoke

No estimated time for opening

CRA program to help poor file taxes yields noticeable bump in people helped

Extra money allows volunteer-driven clinics to operate year-round

RCMP investigate two shootings in the Lower Mainland

Incidents happened in Surrey, with a victim being treated at Langley Memorial Hospital

Recall: Certain Pacific oysters may pose threat of paralytic shellfish poisoning

Consumers urged to either return affected packages or throw them out

Most Read