Abu Dhabi, UAETuesday 17 September 2019

Drake distances himself from Michael Jackson by dropping track from tour

This rapper has reportedly removed a song containing vocals from the late singer from his set-list in the wake of 'Leaving Neverland'

Drake has removed a track featuring Michael Jackson from his tour set-list, according to reports. AFP
Drake has removed a track featuring Michael Jackson from his tour set-list, according to reports. AFP

Radio stations from Canada to New Zealand have boycotted Michael Jackson's music, and now the controversial singer's vocals look unlikely to appear in an ongoing tour.

American rapper and singer Drake has removed a song posthumously featuring Jackson from his Assassination Vacation tour, which began its European leg this week.

The track Don’t Matter to Me, which sampled an unreleased 1983 song by Jackson, was missing at Drake's performance at Manchester Arena on Sunday, Variety reports. The song, which appears on the Hotline Bling star's Scorpion album, had previously been included in the 32-year-old's tour of the United States last year.

FILE - This Nov. 7, 2001 file photo, Michael Jackson waves to crowds gathered to see him at his first ever in-store appearance in New York. The producers of “The Simpsons” are removing a classic episode that featured the voice of Michael Jackson. Executive producer James L. Brooks told The Wall Street Journal on Thursday, March 7, 2019, “it feels clearly the only choice to make.” He said fellow executive producers Matt Groening and Al Jean are “of one mind on this.” (AP Photo/Suzanne Plunkett)
Michael Jackson, pictured in 2001, is the subject of explosive new documentary 'Leaving Neverland'. AP

Drake, who has not yet responded to reports, is due to continue his tour with a performance in Paris on Wednesday, with dates also scheduled in Antwerp, Amsterdam, Dublin and London.

The move comes following the airing of Finding Neverland, a controversial documentary re-examining allegations of sexual abuse against Jackson.

The four-hour film, which screened in two parts, featured interviews with Wade Robson and James Safechuck, who allege they were sexually abused by the Thriller singer when they were children.

The documentary, which first premiered at the 2019 Sundance Film Festival, also included testimonies from family members, as well as old footage of Jackson.

Canada's Cogeco – which operates 22 radio stations across Quebec and one in Ontario – has stopped playing music from the singer since the film aired, as has New Zealand's MediaWorks. The Los Angeles Lakers have also replaced Jackson’s song Beat It from their entertainment, while producers from The Simpsons have pulled a 1991 episode starring Jackson from circulation.

The artist's estate has made repeated bids to quash and discredit Leaving Neverland, most recently filing a $100 million (Dh367.3m) lawsuit against HBO just two weeks before the film aired.

Jackson, who died on June 25, 2009 after being given an overdose of the anesthetic propofol, faced multiple allegations of child sex abuse during his lifetime.

In addition to his 2005 acquittal the performer paid a $15m court settlement in 1994 over allegations involving another child.

Updated: March 12, 2019 01:16 PM

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