Following the release of the increasingly notorious Leaving Neverland, surrounding shocking sexual abuse accusations made by two alleged victims of Michael Jackson, the iconic pop singer’s music has found its way back into the charts.
The “King of Pop” released an extensive array of songs, and his back catalogue, which is available from all major digital music platforms, has found itself is a steep incline following the two-part Channel 4 documentary.
The film has split the opinion of the population with loyal fans of Jackson vowing to never stop listening to his music in the wake of the controversy the documentary has caused, and others refusing to listen completely.
The BBC have announced they will not be banning the music of Jackson, with a spokesperson stating: “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.”
While the BBC have made their announcement, other stations, including radio’s in Canada, New Zealand and Australia have gone the other way, and banned all Jackson tracks from being played.
Jackson’s Number Ones album is sitting at number 87 on Apple music (at time of writing), and the Evening Standard has reported that the record has climbed 44 places – to number 43.
The Essential Michael Jackson, released in 2005, Bad (1987) and Thriller (1982) have all reportedly re-circled back into the top 200 charts according to the same publication.
Leaving Neverland has received some much-expected debate. Online reactions are split and the rise in those listening to his music suggests the balance is not slanted towards the negative. Loyal fans of the King of Pop have refused to give up on the legacy that Jackson left, and are refusing to believe what the documentary is expressing. Those devoted to the man and his music have declared the documentary a corrupt and one-sided money-making scheme, to shame a man who cannot express defence.
HuffPost reported that a jukebox musical based on the making of Jackson’s 1992 world tour is still set to open on Broadway in 2020 and is currently being developed by his estate. An estate which since his death in 2009 has collected a reported $1.2 billion from his back catalogue and other musical endorsements.
The film, directed by documentary maker Dan Reed (who has been heavily criticised in the wake of its release) follows the allegations of James Safechuck and Wade Robson, who have come forward with claims about the deceased singer surrounding sexual assaults. Following the accusations, The Simpsons have followed suit with a variety of radio stations and have pulled an originally well received and very popular episode starring the voice of the singer from being aired.
James L Brooks, Executive producer told The Wall Street Journal: “It feels clearly the only choice we can make.” In the episode: Stark Raving Dad, which originally aired in 1991, Jackson was the voice of Leon Kompowsky, who comes across Homer in a psychiatric hospital where he claims to be the pop star and moonwalks.
Fellow executive producers, Al Jean and Matt Groening agree with the decision. Brooks adds: “The guys I work with – where we spend our lives arguing over jokes – were of one mind on this.
“This was a treasured episode. There are a lot of great memories we have wrapped up on that one, and this certainly doesn’t allow them to remain. I’m against book burning of any kind. But this is our book, and we’re allowed to take out a chapter.”
Unsurprisingly, and understandably, the Jackson family have denied the allegations against the late singer claiming that the HBO/Channel 4 documentary is “all about the money.”
Leaving Neverland is something that seems to show no sign of subsiding from screens anytime soon, with more people watching the film every day and showcasing their opinion on the matter. While the truth may not ever be really known, it is something that is certain to continue to divide opinion.