7 consequences brought on by the explosive Michael Jackson documentary 'Leaving Neverland'

Kevin Mazur/WireImage via Getty ImagesMichael Jackson performs circa 1986.
  • The documentary “Leaving Neverland” has been forcing people all over the world to reckon with Michael Jackson’s legacy.
  • “Neverland” focuses on two men, Wade Robson and James Safechuck, who allege that Jackson sexually abused both of them as children.
  • Since the documentary aired, radio stations have pulled his music, and memorabilia has been removed from museums.

The documentary “Leaving Neverland” aired on HBO on March 3 and 4. In the weeks that have followed, family, fans, and the music industry have all had to respond to the devastating sexual abuse allegations made by Wade Robson and James Safechuck against Michael Jackson, arguably the biggest popstar of all time.

Since then, radio stations from around the globe have removed his music from airwaves, an episode of “The Simpsons” starring the singer was pulled from circulation, and his music sales have started dropping.

Here’s a list of the fallout from “Leaving Neverland.”


A glove and a fedora worn by Jackson on stage have been removed from the Children’s Museum of Indianapolis.

David McGough/DMI/The LIFE Picture Collection/Getty ImagesMichael Jackson in his classic look: a sparkly glove and a fedora.

The Indianapolis Star reported on March 15 that the Indianapolis Children’s Museum had removed three items of Jackson’s from their “American Pop” exhibit, including a fedora and sparkly glove that he wore on stage. The museum also removed a Jackson poster.

“When we put together exhibitions, we look at the objects and their association with high-profile people. Obviously, we want to put stories in front of our visitors [showing] people of high character,” said Chris Carron, the museum’s director of collections.


The Los Angeles Lakers have replaced the Jackson song “Beat It” with the Chuck Berry tune “Johnny B. Goode” and Nirvana.

Los Angeles LakersThe Lakers have moved on.

ESPN journalist Dave McMenamin noted on Twitter that the Lakers had replaced “Beat It” with other music during games.

According to him, traditionally a camera pans out to the crowd encouraging fans to bust out their own air guitar moves, like player Lance Stephenson, while “Beat It” plays. It was changed to Chuck Berry and Nirvana songs.


Louis Vuitton is pulling Jackson-related designs from their 2019 menswear collection.

Edward Berthelot/Getty ImagesA guest wears a black t-shirt with a patch depicting the eyes of Michael Jackson from the album ‘Dangerous’ outside Louis Vuitton, during Paris Fashion Week.

The designer’s fall 2019 line was directly inspired by Jackson, and included sequin-encrusted clothes referencing his famous stage costumes, and a shirt depicting his iconic tip-toe moves in the “Billie Jean” music video.

Vuitton’s men’s artistic director provided a statement to Women’s Wear Daily confirming that Vuitton will not be producing anything “that directly features Michael Jackson elements” and saying that he is “aware that in light of this documentary the show has caused emotional reactions. I strictly condemn any form of child abuse, violence or infringement against any human rights.”

Vuitton’s CEO Michael Burke added that, “We find the allegations in the documentary deeply troubling and disturbing.”


Advertisements proclaiming Jackson’s innocence were removed from London buses.

Phil McCarten/Getty ImagesSupport messages are displayed out front the courthouse as fans wait for a verdict in the Michael Jackson child molestation trial at the Santa Barbara County Courthouse on June 10, 2005.

The ads, which state “Facts don’t lie. People do,” were paid for by fans in a crowdfunding campaign. Jackson fans raised £20,000 (roughly $US26,500), and had the posters plastered all over London buses and bus stops.

The Transport for London, a local government body, announced that the ads are to be taken down and “have been rejected due to the public sensitivity and concern around their content.”


Streams of his music and videos have been declining.

According to The Hollywood Reporter, Jackson’s album sales fell 39% in the immediate aftermath of “Leaving Neverland.” His combined album and song sales, along with his music with the Jackson 5, declined 4%. His streaming numbers also did not fare well, and fell by 5%.

However, his song sales alone rose by 6%.


An episode of “The Simpsons” that Jackson appeared in is being pulled from airwaves and DVDs.

20th TelevisionJackson in ‘Stark Raving Dad.’

Jackson appeared in the season three premiere of “The Simpsons,” entitled “Stark Raving Dad.” He played a patient at a mental institution who believed he was the real Michael Jackson.

After the documentary, the episode was pulled from re-runs. An executive producer for the show, James L. Brooks, confirmed to The Wall Street Journal that, “It feels clearly the only choice to make,” and that steps had been taken to remove the episode from future DVDs, as well.


Radio stations are banning his music from their airwaves.

Dozens of radio stations in Canada and New Zealand have pledged to take Jackson’s music off the air.

New Zealand’s public radio station, RNZ, confirmed that Jackson’s music was not in their rotation, followed by competitor MediaWorks, whicht owns nine different commercial stations.

Three major Montreal stations belonging to Cogeco, which owns multiple stations, have also pulled his songs from airplay.

“We are attentive to listeners’ comments, and last night’s documentary created reactions,” the director of marketing and communications for Cogeco said in a written statement.

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