"Welcome to Michael Jackson Monday."

Those words, along with the dead pop star's greatest hits on rotation, are how Kalee Haakma is greeting customers of her Tauranga cafe, Thy Neighbour Coffee Shop, today.

It is her way of making a stand against the Leaving Neverland documentary about two men - James Safechuck, 40, and Wade Robson, 36 - who say Jackson sexually abused them as children.

Kalee Haakma has declared today Michael Jackson Monday at her Tauranga cafe, Thy Neighbour Coffee Shop. Photo / George Novak
Kalee Haakma has declared today Michael Jackson Monday at her Tauranga cafe, Thy Neighbour Coffee Shop. Photo / George Novak

The four-hour film by British director Dan Reed premiered at Sundance in January and has made waves around the world with some radio stations in Canada, Australia and New Zealand boycotting his music.

Advertisement

Jackson's estate and family have denied all the allegations.

Part one of the documentary, which included graphic descriptions of the abuse, screened on TVNZ 1 last night, with part two due to screen tonight.

Like many Jackson fans, Haakma did not watch because she is boycotting the documentary.

"It's a very one-sided story. There is evidence out there that supports his innocence."

She said the "ridiculous" claims in the documentary - and the media hype that followed - amounted to "a form of bullying", which motivated her to take a stand and support Jackson.

Trailer: Leaving Neverland / HBO

"He's dead so he's not able to support himself.

"From what I've seen on social media, a lot of people do support him and support his innocence and there doesn't seem to be very many people who think he is guilty."

Kalee Haakma has declared today Michael Jackson Monday at her Tauranga cafe, Thy Neighbour Coffee Shop. Photo / George Novak
Kalee Haakma has declared today Michael Jackson Monday at her Tauranga cafe, Thy Neighbour Coffee Shop. Photo / George Novak

In Facebook and Instagram posts advertising Michael Jackson Monday, she said it was "too easy for malicious people to make negative claims against brilliant minds, good souls and kind hearts".

Advertisement

The reaction from customers had been mostly positive, she said.

People stopping in for their coffees this morning supported her stand.

"Leave him alone," said one.

"I think they're just in it for the money," said another.

In the Tauranga CBD, people were also cautious about the documentary's claims.

The documentary proved a ratings hit for TVNZ, with part one attracting 716,000 television viewers plus 13,000 livestreams and another 24,000 streams after it aired.

It was a 38 per cent increase on the usual Sunday 8.30pm slot.

Street view

The Bay of Plenty Times asked people in the Tauranga CBD what they thought of the documentary and the allegations about Jackson:

Tom Carroll, 55, Ōmokoroa. Photos / George Novak
Tom Carroll, 55, Ōmokoroa. Photos / George Novak

"Trial by documentary."

- Tom Carroll, 55, Ōmokoroa

Harley Smith, 23, Welcome Bay
Harley Smith, 23, Welcome Bay

"For me it seems one-sided for how much publicity it has had."

- Harley Smith, 23, Welcome Bay

Sunny Kumar, 32, Pāpāmoa
Sunny Kumar, 32, Pāpāmoa

"If it's proven by the police... then if it comes on TV it's fine. But you can't be sure.

- Sunny Kumar, 32, Pāpāmoa

Julie Hammon, 64, Brookfield
Julie Hammon, 64, Brookfield

"It was pretty shocking in its rawness. I didn't want to watch because of the content but I forced myself to watch it. Horrendous."

- Julie Hammon, 64, Brookfield