Radio stations are banning Michael Jackson songs after HBO documentary alleges child abuse

Michael Jackson performing in 2002.
Micahel Caulfield | Getty Images

Radio stations in Canada, New Zealand and Australia are removing Michael Jackson songs from their playlists after two men alleged in a new documentary that the late singer abused them.

Several French-language stations owned by the Canadian company Cogeco Media removed Jackson's tracks, the company confirmed to CNBC, while the Australian Nova Entertainment Group also removed his tracks from stations including Smooth fm, according to the Sydney Morning Herald.

New Zealand's major radio stations, owned by NZME and MediaWorks, also took the star's music off its playlists on Wednesday, according to the New Zealand Herald.

In "Leaving Neverland: Michael Jackson and me" a two-part HBO documentary shown in the U.S. and U.K this week, Wade Robson and James Safechuck allege they were abused by the singer when they were age seven and 10, respectively. Jackson's estate called the documentary a "public lynching" and has filed a $100 million lawsuit against HBO. The family has denied the allegations.

Jackson was previously acquitted from child molestation charges in 2005 and he died in 2009.

Christine Dicaire, director of communications and marketing at Cogeco Media said in a statement emailed to CNBC: "We are attentive to the comments of our listeners, and the documentary released on Sunday evening created reactions. We prefer to observe the situation by removing the songs from our stations, for the time being."

A spokesperson for MediaWorks confirmed to CNBC by email that Jackson's songs are not currently on any of its stations' playlists. Its Group Content Director for Radio Leon Wratt said the company had also temporarily dropped Jackson during the trial of 2005.

"For a long time we couldn't play Michael Jackson songs without the audience reacting negatively but, over time and his subsequent death, we learned through music research that the audience were ready to hear his tracks on the radio again — so they went back on the playlist," Wratt said in an opinion piece on the website NewsHub.

Last year, Sony Music Entertainment spent a reported $250 million on the rights to Jackson's back catalogue, an investment that could take a hit after the documentary was aired, according to a report in the Wall Street Journal.

NZME had not responded to CNBC's request for comment at the time of publication.