Following the premiere of the documentary Leaving Neverland on HBO, in which two men told their stories about the alleged sexual abuse they received as kids from legendary entertainer Michael Jackson, there has been a call to stop playing the singer’s music publicly.
The Inquisitr previously reported on three Canadian radio stations — Cogeco Media’s CKOI, Rhythme, and The Beat — that have announced that they have stopped playing the King of Pop’s songs “for the time being.” The company made the decision based on feedback from listeners.
Now, a Hollywood-based deejay, Michelle Pesce, has revealed that she will no longer spin MJ’s tunes, and she detailed the reasons why in a lengthy article that she penned for Variety.
Pesce said that, as a DJ, her motto used to be “if all else fails,” play a Jackson song. “Whether you’re a guest who’s 13 or 70, you know Michael Jackson and you dance to Michael Jackson,” she wrote.
While she had been aware of the multiple sexual abuse accusations against him over the years, like everyone else, she explained that she “loved his messages, the music, and the feeling that it created on the dance floor.”
However, last October, after hearing an interview with journalist Maureen Orth about the extensive research she had done over the years on Jackson’s alleged abuse, Pesce began feeling differently about the singer.
“Reality smacked me in the face. Had my own love for — and even need to play — this artist outweighed what countless victims have endured?”
She made the decision to stop playing Jackson’s super popular hits a few months later.
According to Pesce, there is currently a mixed reaction in the DJ community over whether to continue playing Jackson’s catalog of well-known music or not. She said that some of her colleagues have skirted around the issue choosing to only play the music MJ created as a child with his brothers in the Jackson Five.
“We need to try to understand what causes this behavior and go at that with a more evolved approach, rather than just a big middle finger to Michael Jackson,” she said, adding that she hopes someone from the Jackson family will start a “real conversation” about why Michael allegedly behaved inappropriately, discussing whether he was mentally unstable or had untreated trauma.
“But this is bigger than any one person and it is a divisive topic: can you separate the artists from their amazing art? I can’t, and I’d encourage my fellow DJs to follow.”
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Music fans will find out in the upcoming weeks whether Leaving Neverland has encouraged DJs to stop playing Jackson’s music or whether it has had no effect.
As of Tuesday, March 5, the second-largest radio network in the U.S., Cumulus, had not banned Jackson’s music from its stations, noted Variety. However, a rep for the company said that it is up to the individual station’s program directors to make the ultimate decision.
The publication also reached out to iHeartRadio, Spotify, and Apple Music, but all three declined Variety’s request for a comment.