'I'm gonna make a change' - Why we won't play Michael Jackson anymore
Normally we would write about something that is light hearted, how we hate Vinyl and how awesome our nights are. But in light of the recent Michael Jackson documentary today’s blog is about something more serious, but something extremely important. We have been asked this question a lot this week ‘are you going to continue to play Michael Jackson?’ so here is our answer.
At Big Fish Ents, we always want to create a safe space for our customers. We stand firmly against sexual harassment and violence: we no longer play the music of R Kelly – someone who has been accused of sexual abuse by multiple women, it would not only be disrespectful to his accusers by tacitly lending him our support, but it suggests that we don’t care whether our society’s role models are sexual predators. Given the endemic nature of sexual violence, particularly against women, it would simply be unacceptable to sit back and do nothing in the face of this repugnant behaviour. I’m sure many people reading this agree that it’s the right thing to do.
A similar logic applies to the situation with Michael Jackson. Allegations of historic child abuse are nothing new; they have been made against the Catholic Church, celebrities, and even former MPs. There is a consistent pattern of powerful individuals using their position to groom and abuse minors, who then use their enormous wealth and influence to cover up their crimes and silence their victims.
The case with Michael Jackson is; in our opinion another example of this. Both of Jackson’s accusers, Wade Robson and James Safechuck, allege that they were abused hundreds of times when Jackson invited them to ‘sleepovers’ with them at his Neverland Ranch. They also say they were emotionally manipulated by Jackson and were made to feel as if they were ‘special’ or his ‘best friend’. This form of grooming is often why victims of child abuse do not come forward until years later, not because they’re seeking money or fame, but because they do not realise the severity of what has happened to them at the time. Indeed, Wade Robson perjured himself when the case initially went to trial as he could not bear to see Jackson go to jail which in itself illustrates the complexity of this issue.
This has all come to a head with the new documentary Leaving Neverland, which lays out the case against Jackson again. As Louis Theroux put it in a tweet last week, you are being wilfully blind if you can’t see that Michael Jackson is a paedophile after watching this film. Oprah has said ‘ this transcends Michael Jackson’ we agree that his music is iconic, he is probably the last pop star that has the global icon status and following. But this does not detract from the allegations made against him. He was a role model to many and had a career that spanned decades, which is why it’s even more important that he’s censured for his alleged behaviour. To continue supporting an alleged paedophile who had such a huge cultural legacy diminishes and hurts his victims and victims of abuse everywhere – it says that we don’t care. In trying to create a space where everyone feels welcome, we will not put our customers in the uncomfortable position of having to listen to someone who has allegedly abused children, just as we wont put our customers in the position of listening to someone that has allegedly abused women in the case of R Kelly, just because they had massive hits. We cannot continue to play his music in good conscience as we firmly stand against sexual harassment or violence towards anyone and our message is very clear. This will not be tolerated.
Back to our normal blogs next week!