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Ryan Tubridy, Louis Theroux and countless others will stop playing Michael Jackson's music now, but will you?

Leaving Neverland airs on Channel 4 tonight at 9pm.

ON YESTERDAY’S EPISODE of The Ryan Tubridy Show on RTÉ Radio 1, the presenter discussed the harrowing new Michael Jackson documentary, Leaving Neverland, that is set to air on Channel 4 tonight at 9pm. 

Ryan Tubridy told listeners that he had watched the first part of the documentary (it’s four hours long and divided into two episodes). Tubridy said:

It’s a fascinating, ghoulish, awful story told quite well, but no need for it to be four hours long.
It’s worth watching because of the nature of who he was and what an impact he had on the world and on pop culture and music. I did leave with a very different relationship with the man’s music than I had going into it. 

He then brought up the controversial topic of what we should do once we watch the documentary and absorb the information put forward in it. Should we stop playing Michael Jackson’s music? Is that the right thing to do? Ryan wasn’t entirely sure.

There’s no right or wrong answer, Michael Jackson is dead. 

However, he made it publicly known that he has made the decision to refrain from playing Michael Jackson’s music on The Ryan Tubridy Show from this point onward. The radio host and TV presenter said that “if even a quarter of what” Wade Robson and James Safechuck “say happened to them at the hands of Michael Jackson” was true, we would need to seriously reflect on Michael Jackson’s legacy. 

2015-09-27_iri_13179814_I1 Source: RTÉ

Ryan said that “if you believe the intensity of their description” of the events “which, if it is true, is so gross beyond comprehension and really repulsive, then you couldn’t in your right mind listen to a Michael Jackson song again.” 

The chances are, you won’t hear one again on this programme being played again, because it just leaves one very queasy at the thought. 

Ryan admitted that there was a niggling sense of doubt in his head. He thought, “What if they’re not telling the truth? What if they’re trying to make a buck? [In the documentary] there’s a bit of that to contemplate and think about and reflect on.” 

The footage that they have is pretty extraordinary. The people who are making the accusations against Michael Jackson are very clear and coherent in what they have to say. So what does that leave you with?
Well, all I can say is, what my takeaway from it now is that, if a quarter of what those say happened to them at the hands of Michael Jackson… Then we all have to sit down and reassess our approach to that pop-star and that icon, and probably, I have to say – his back catalogue.
What I’ll say to you is, you watch it when it’s being shown later on in the week, have a think about it and we might talk about it on the show next week and see what your feeling is on it. 

 Louis Theroux had a slightly different response to the documentary. 

National Lottery Awards 2018 - London Source: Ian West

Louis Theroux spent a significant amount of time by Jimmy Savile’s side in 2000 while filming the now even more nauseating, creepy and absolutely chilling documentary When Louis Met Jimmy. Following this, Louis spent years trying to make sense of his relationship with Savile, eventually admitting that he had been ‘gullible‘ after he spent a further fifteen years agonising about letting Savile ‘off the hook’ in that documentary. 

Theroux was invited onto Good Morning Britain this week, where Piers Morgan questioned him on his thoughts about Michael Jackson, now that Leaving Neverland had been widely released in the United States, and was set to be released in the UK and Ireland shortly after.

Louis responded, “Well, was he cleared in a court of law? In the ’93 case, he paid about $25 million with no admission of any criminal liability. But to me, that doesn’t pass the smell test, and if you care to dig into the subject, over the years there has been a pattern of unhealthy interest in children.” Louis added:

Just to speak in a personal way, I believe the two victims, Wade Robson and James Safechuck. I think it’s long overdue. 

Piers Morgan asked Louis, “Should we stop playing his music?” To which Louis, perhaps surprisingly, replied: “No.” 

My honest answer is no. I never really liked the pious Michael Jackson, I was more a fan of earlier Michael Jackson. I might give it a year. But I’m not about to watch that documentary and then put on some Michael Jackson. 

Over on ITV’s This Morning, the debate continued earlier this week. 

PastedImage-96889 Source: ITV

Rather than asking if individuals would make the decision to stop playing the songs (and that’s what it is – an individual choice, even when it’s made by radio presenters), ITV took a harder stance on the question and asked “Should Michael Jackson’s Music Be Banned?” They brought on a lifelong Michael Jackson fan to carry Jackson’s side of the debate and reject the claims, as well as broadcaster Nick Ferrari who says he can no longer listen to Michael Jackson’s music after seeing the documentary. 

The Michael Jackson fan claimed that the documentary was “four hours of emotional manipulation” made in an attempt to burn “graphic, horrifying claims into people’s minds”. Nick Ferrari, on the other hand, noted Michael Jackson’s strange behaviour – particularly in regards to paying out huge settlements to family’s of accusers. 

You then watch the body of work – I hear what you say, never convicted in court, I absolutely understand that – but the two young men, one of whom now feels motivated because he has a child and doesn’t want to see the same thing happen (that comes out in the documentary)… They tell almost the same pattern of how it appeared Jackson grooms the family, and he almost feels like a big brother figure, and then he takes a seven year old boy into his bedroom to read poetry and share stories together. 


Source: This Morning/YouTube

As the debate raged on, Ferrari said, “I can’t listen to it. I can’t listen to it the same way.” This seems to be the common feeling among those who have seen the documentary. The Guardian reported that dozens of radio stations across the world have removed Michael Jackson’s music from their playlists, including New Zealand’s public broadcaster and all of its major commerical rivals. 

Are you going to stop listening to Michael Jackson now?

Poll Results:

I don't know, I'll decide after the documentary. (550)
No, I believe in separating art from the artist. (491)
Yeah, absolutely. (374)
I'm not a fan (for another reason). (249)
No, I'll listen to it more to spite those who are boycotting him. (167)
I didn't listen to him anyway (because of the allegations). (141)
I might stop for a while, but listen once this all dies down. (100)

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Kelly Earley

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