An explosive documentary alleging that Michael Jackson sexually abused young boys has forced bosses at Cork Opera House to consider cancelling a major tribute gig to the King of Pop.
Opera House management has confirmed that talks are to take place with the promoters of the Michael Jackson tribute concert following global outrage this week.
The Michael Jackson History Show was booked for May 14 at the Opera House before new sexual abuse allegations against the deceased singer — who played two concerts at Páirc Uí Chaoimh in the summer of 1988 — emerged in the documentary Leaving Neverland which was aired on Irish TV screens this week.
Theatre management confirmed to The Echo that they have contacted the promoter for discussions on the proposed production.
“Cork Opera House are currently in talks with the promoter of the show,” said the Opera House statement.
A decision on the tribute gig is expected early next week.
It is believed in the region of 260 tickets have already been sold for the event at the 1,000-capacity venue. Tickets prices range from €23.50 to €32.50. The concert is presented by Showtime Australia.
The show has been billed as a “spectacular” music tribute and full-scale stage production “honouring the one and only King of Pop”.
It promises the “full Michael Jackson concert experience” with impersonator Dantanio Goodman in the role of Jackson — plus a live band, choreographed dancers, authentic costumes, state-of-the-art sound and theatrical lighting, vision, and effects.
Cork Opera House receives arts grants from Cork city and county councils and programme funding from the Arts Council for certain cultural events.
Cork Opera House board member and city councillor Des Cahill (FG) said he has yet to be contacted by management of the theatre in regard to the event.
Councillor Seán Martin (FF), also a member of the theatre’s board, said there is a choice to be made on whether the public should be allowed to decide if the concert should go ahead or whether management should make a decision in the public interest.
In the Channel 4 documentary, two men, James Safechuck and Wade Robson, alleged that they were sexually abused by Jackson as children.
It once again shone a spotlight on the life and legacy of Jackson, widely considered one of the greatest entertainers of all time but who was dogged by allegations of abusing young boys for decades.
Jackson died from an overdose in 2009.
The documentary has led to some radio stations pulling all Michael Jackson songs.
An episode of The Simpsons featuring the voice of Michael Jackson is also being pulled.
Producers of The Simpsons have decided to remove the episode, Stark Raving Dad, from streaming services and TV channels which air the show.
Jackson voiced a character in the episode, which aired in 1991, but his involvement was only confirmed years later.
The Jackson family have denied the allegations against the late singer, saying the HBO and Channel 4 documentary is “all about the money”.