Radio 2 responds to Michael Jackson 'ban' reports

Radio 2 responds to Michael Jackson 'ban' reports

BBC Radio 2 has responded to reports of a ban on Michael Jackson’s music ahead of an explosive documentary airing in the UK.

Leaving Neverland is set to air on Channel 4 on March 6 and 7, following the US screening on HBO at the weekend. The four-hour film features extensive interviews detailing accusations of sexual abuse by Jackson.

The Jackson estate has filed a lawsuit against HBO. It has also scheduled Jackson concert films on YouTube for a limited time that coincides with the US documentary screening, including a Wembley performance.

Following media reports that Radio 2 had decided against playing Jackson’s music amid the latest controversy, the network has issued a formal response. 

“We consider each piece of music on its merits and decisions on what we play on different networks are always made with relevant audiences and context in mind,” said a Radio 2 spokesperson.

Officially, the BBC does not “ban” artists - and Jackson clearly has no new releases eligible for the playlist. But the singer’s catalogue is likely to come under increasing scrutiny from BBC networks, other broadcasters and DSPs, as well as audiences and fellow artists.

Updated: According to CNN, multiple major radio station groups in New Zealand - including MediaWorks and NZME - have pulled Jackson's music. In Canada, at least three major Montreal-based radio stations have stopped playing Jackson's music.

Héloïse Letissier, of Christine And The Queens, recently addressed the fact that she has to consider whether to contintue peforming snippets of Jackson’s Man In The Mirror.

“I can’t deny the influence,” she told the Evening Standard. “It’s a question now more than ever: can we enjoy the artist knowing what we know about them? It’s conflicting for me, but I prefer to watch it and not know what to do than push it away.”

Last year Spotify had to reverse a policy relating to ‘hateful conduct’, after complaints over which artists were and were not included.

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