“Weird Al” Yankovic gained fame in the 1980s for his song parodies that included a number of Michael Jackson hits, but those songs have been dropped from the singer’s set list after he viewed a documentary chronicling child abuse allegations against Jackson.
Yankovic opened up about his decision to retire two Michael Jackson parody songs, “Eat It” and “Fat,” in an interview with Billboard. He said that the allegations detailed in the HBO documentary Leaving Neverland led him to shelve the songs. Yankovic himself did not appear to make a judgment on the allegations or on Jackson himself, but said he did not feel it was appropriate to have the songs in his shows given the strong feelings toward Jackson.
“I don’t know if that’s going to be permanent or not, but we just felt that with what’s happened recently with the HBO documentaries, we didn’t want anybody to feel uncomfortable,” Yankovic said, via Pitchfork. “I felt I had enough fan favorites in the show that I could get away with it. I haven’t gotten a lot of pushback. There have been some people who have expressed disappointment, but we decided to err on the side of not offending people.”
In Leaving Neverland, two men detailed allegations that Jackson sexually abused them as children and left them mentally scarred. The documentary included some graphic allegations of rape against Jackson, which prompted a visceral reaction from viewers and critics when it debuted earlier this year. Jackson had been accused of sexual abuse before, but was acquitted in a highly-publicized trial.
The recent HBO documentary has led to a renewed backlash against the late singer, with many taking his songs out of rotation. But it has also rallied Jackson’s supporters and led to a boost in his music in other areas. As Stuff.co.nz reported, Jackson’s smash hit album Thriller and its music video are still in the Library of Congress’ National Recording Registry.
Darren Julien, president and CEO of Julien’s Auctions, told the news outlet that Jackson’s memorabilia remains just as popular as ever.
“He’s the only celebrity where we would have lines of people to get in whenever we had stuff of his to auction,” he said. “There’s only one person that compares to Marilyn Monroe in collectability – and that is Michael Jackson.”
— Hollywood Reporter (@THR) June 27, 2019
“Weird Al” Yankovic has not yet said how long he might keep the Michael Jackson parodies out of his live shows.