Pulling Michael Jackson from radio playlists 'pre-emptive' - academic

An academic has criticised New Zealand radio stations' move to pull Michael Jackson music from their playlists.

University of Auckland ethnomusicologist Dr Kirsten Zemke told The AM Show the move was a little early considering the documentary had not played in New Zealand yet.

"I think it's a little pre-emptive to just blanket ban it, I would like to see more engagement with why are we banning it, because we're worried about victims being upset."

The pop star's music was pulled from most major radio stations after MediaWorks, the parent company of Newshub, and NZME, both announced his music would no longer feature on their playlists.

It comes as documentary Leaving Neverland levels graphic allegations of child abuse and paedophilia against Jackson, who died in 2009.

MediaWorks radio stations group content director Leon Wratt told Magic Talk's Peter Williams Jackson's music had not been playing on MediaWorks stations for a while.

"While some people still like Michael Jackson, there's a lot of people out there who don't," he said.

"We [MediaWorks] aren't deciding whether Michael Jackson is guilty of paedophilia, we're just making sure our radio stations are going to play the music people want to hear."

Dr Zemke said at this point even if the allegations levelled at Jackson aren't true his name is always associated with paedophilia.

"I personally am not playing his music [in my classes], but I wouldn't make a huge point about it and ban it... I don't want to upset people that this does trigger poor memories for."

She said claims in the Leaving Neverland documentary had been disputed, but she's still not sure about what actually happened.

"I worry that it might be true, but you don't want it to be true and so again just thinking about who might be affected if I play it in class, do I want to hear it or not?

"But I don't know, I don't know whether it's true."