Michael Jackson album RETURNS to Top 40 after sex abuse documentary Leaving Neverland

The two-part doc, aired on Channel 4 in the UK and HBO in the US, showed two men – Wade Robson and James Safechuck – describing sexual abuse they allegedly suffered at the hands of Jackson when they were children. The production, directed by Dan Reed, has resulted in a huge discussion about Jackson’s legacy, and his songs have been pulled off-air by several radio stations. Still, it seems his sales have not been negatively impacted in the UK, despite reports to the contrary in the US.

In this week’s UK album chart, Jackson’s Number Ones album shoots up 33 places from No61 to No28.

It’s the record’s first time in the Top 40 since last November; and its 386th chart week since its 2003 release.

Further down the listings, his The Essential set is a re-entry at No97; its first appearance in the Top 100 since last September.

Interestingly neither album is in the sales-only version of the chart – indicating that it was streaming that sent them skywards.

Indeed, on the streaming-only version of this week’s rundown, Number Ones is at No20 (up from 37), The Essential is at No82, and Bad is at No91.

Leaving Neverland was reportedly watched by around two million viewers when it aired in the UK.

Reed said ahead of its transmission: “If there’s anything we’ve learned during this time in our history, it’s that sexual abuse is complicated, and survivors’ voices need to be listened to.

“It took great courage for these two men to tell their stories and I have no question about their validity.

“I believe anyone who watches this film will see and feel the emotional toll on the men and their families and will appreciate the strength it takes to confront long-held secrets.”

Tom Porter, Channel 4 Commissioning Editor, added: “Dan Reed has succeeded in making an extraordinarily compelling, yet moving film about two men whose lives were changed forever by one of the most famous men who ever lived.

“Channel 4 is immensely proud to have commissioned this film and created the opportunity for James’ and Wade’s experiences to be so sensitively told.”

TV shows such as Strictly Come Dancing and The X Factor are reported to have vowed not to use Jackson’s songs in any performances going forward.

The Simpsons, meanwhile, has pulled the episode Stark Raving Dad from circulation.

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