Cotton On says Michael Jackson Smooth Criminal t-shirt a 'coincidence' amid current controversy

Amid the latest Michael Jackson controversy, Smooth Criminal t-shirts sold by Cotton On in New Zealand are flying off the racks.

In recent weeks, allegations of child abuse made against Michael Jackson in the documentary Leaving Neverland have prompted some New Zealand radio stations to stop playing the "King of Pop’s" songs.

The stations include The Breeze, More FM, ZM, The Hits, Flava and Coast.

T-shirts with the slogan Michael Jackson, Smooth Criminal, featuring a picture of Jackson dancing in the iconic video for the song, have been in stock across Cotton On stores in New Zealand since last year, according to a spokesperson from the St. Lukes store in Auckland.

A friend of a customer who bought one of the t-shirts from the store told 1 NEWS she thought it was inappropriate they were being sold amid the controversy surrounding the singer.

A retail assistant from the store said the t-shirts have been on the racks since last year and have been hugely popular.

"Customers across the spectrum have come in asking about them, literally elderly and young people coming in and asking for them,” she said.

When 1 NEWS asked if it was appropriate the t-shirts were being sold at a time when Jackson was back in the spotlight, she replied that is was a "coincidence."

She said all Cotton On stores across the country stocked the t-shirts and they had been most popular in the December period but were still in demand now. 

"We have had a whole nineties theme going on and Michael Jackson did a song called Smooth Criminal so it just relates to that," she said.

The retail assistant said the St. Lukes store only had one t-shirt left and was not aware of any intentions of the company to pull them off the racks. 

"I don't know what the brand is going to do," she said. 

1 NEWS has attempted to speak to Cotton On head office for comment.

A Michael Jackson Smooth Criminal shirt purchased from an Auckland Cotton On store. Source: 1 NEWS