Barbra Streisand apologized on Saturday for saying that two men who accused Michael Jackson of sexually abusing them — as detailed in the documentary Leaving Neverland — were thrilled to be with him.
In an interview with The Times of London published on Friday, Ms. Streisand also showed sympathy for Mr. Jackson, saying, His sexual needs were his sexual needs, coming from whatever childhood he has or whatever DNA he has.
Barbra Streisand says Michael Jacksons accusers were thrilled to be there and his sexual needs were his se
You can say molested, but those children, as you heard say, they were thrilled to be there, she continued. They both married and they both have children, so it didnt kill them.
She added that she believed the accounts of Wade Robson and James Safechuck, the men who claimed in the documentary that Mr. Jackson had abused them when they were children.
She said she felt sympathy for Mr. Jackson, and that he was very sweet, very childlike when she met him. She added that while she felt bad for the children, she also felt bad for Mr. Jackson and blamed the childrens parents.
I blame, I guess, the parents, who would allow their children to sleep with him, she said. Why would Michael need these little children dressed like him and in the shoes and the dancing and the hats?
Her comments drew widespread criticism on social media. Shortly after the interview was published, the hashtag #CancelBarbraStreisand began trending on Twitter. Social media users criticized Ms. Streisands comments as tone-deaf and said they were tantamount to telling sexual assault survivors to just get over it.
Dan Reed, who directed Leaving Neverland, asked on Twitter whether pedophilia was tolerated in parts of the entertainment industry.
You can say molested, Streisand started, ominously, but those children, as you heard them say [the grown-up Robson and Safechuk], they were thrilled to be there. They both married and they both have children, so it didnt kill them.
In a statement to The New York Times on Saturday, Ms. Streisand said she wanted to make it clear she did not side with Mr. Jackson but she reiterated her feelings about the childrens parents.
Barbra Streisand apologizes for remarks on Michael Jackson accusers after outcry
The single most important role of being a parent is to protect their children, she said. Its clear that the parents of the two young men were also victimized and seduced by fame and fantasy.
“I didnt mean to dismiss the trauma these boys experienced in any way,” she wrote. “Like all survivors of sexual assault, they will have to carry this for the rest of their lives. I feel deep remorse and I hope that James and Wade know that I truly respect and admire them for speaking their truth.”
Ms. Streisand issued another statement about three hours later in which she apologized. Referring to the Times of London interview, she said her words as printed do not reflect my true feelings.
I am profoundly sorry for any pain or misunderstanding I caused by not choosing my words more carefully about Michael Jackson and his victims, she said in the second statement.
The remarks in question came deep into a wide-ranging interview with The Times. Asked about Jackson, Streisand was quoted as saying she “absolutely” believed Robson and Safechuck, who make their allegations in the recent HBO documentary “Leaving Neverland.”
I didnt mean to dismiss the trauma these boys experienced in any way, it continued. Like all survivors of sexual assault, they will have to carry this for the rest of their lives. I feel deep remorse and I hope that James and Wade know that I truly respect and admire them for speaking their truth.
Barbra Streisand Blames Parents While Discussing Leaving Neverland Documentary
Mr. Reed, Mr. Robson and Mr. Safechuck did not immediately respond to messages and emails sent to their publicists.
Asked by The Times whether she was angry at Jackson, Streisand said: “Its a combination of feelings. I feel bad for the children. I feel bad for him. I blame, I guess, the parents, who would allow their children to sleep with him.”
Barbra Streisand backtracks on Michael Jackson remarks: I am profoundly sorry
In August 1993, Mr. Jackson was investigated by the Los Angeles Police Department over claims that he had molested a 13-year-old boy. In 1994, Mr. Jackson settled a lawsuit brought by the boys parents for $23 million.
In a 2003 documentary, Mr. Jackson discussed sharing his bed with a young cancer survivor. The film sparked a criminal investigation, and Mr. Jackson was charged with child molesting, serving alcohol to a minor, conspiracy and kidnapping. He was found not guilty of all charges in 2005.
Leaving Neverland, which HBO began showing in two parts this month, features Mr. Robson and Mr. Safechuck detailing how they met Mr. Jackson, how thrilled they were to work with him and how he ingratiated himself with their families to have access to them.
Ohashi: Honestly, in the back of my mind it did, because of the platform that I have. The goal of my routine is pure joy, and after the documentary, not everyone was feeling that way, and you can never discredit someones feelings. So yes, it was in the back of my mind because my main goal is to find as much joy as possible in this routine.
In the documentary, Mr. Safechuck, who was about 9 or 10 when he met Mr. Jackson, and Mr. Robson, who was 7, described how Mr. Jackson appeared larger than life and how they felt special because he had chosen them as buddies.
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The relationships soon turned sour, they explained in the documentary, after they felt that Mr. Jackson replaced them with other children.
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Mr. Jackson died in 2009 at age 50. Several years after his death, Mr. Robson and Mr. Safechuck separately sued the pop stars estate. Both cases were dismissed, and both are under appeal.
At 5, he was the lead singer of the Jackson 5, a music group his father, Joe Jackson, started with Michael and his four brothers. Michael Jackson later became a solo act and sold 750 million records. He became popular for groundbreaking music videos in the 1980s.
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On Saturday, Diana Ross, who knew Mr. Jackson since he was a child and when they were both on the Motown record label, tweeted her support of Mr. Jackson.
This is whats on my heart this morning, Ms. Ross tweeted. I believe and trust that Michael Jackson was and is A magnificent incredible force to me and to many others. STOP IN THE NAME OF LOVE.
While Ms. Ross did sing with Mr. Jackson onstage many times, Ms. Streisand chose not to collaborate with him. In the interview with The Times of London, Ms. Streisand said she turned down an opportunity to sing a duet with Mr. Jackson for his 1987 album Bad.
Barbra Streisand believes Michael Jacksons accusers
An earlier version of this article misstated the year Michael Jackson died. He died in 2009, not in 2005.
The backlash over Barbra Streisands Michael Jackson sexual abuse comments deepen with back lash on social media.
The backlash against singer and songwriter Barbra Streisand has deepened after she shared her thoughts on HBO’s recent documentary, “Leaving Neverland,” which follows the story of two men who allege Michael Jackson sexually abused them as children.
Though Streisand said she “absolutely” believes Wade Robson and James Safechuck's molestation accusations against the King of Pop, which were detailed in the two-part documentary, the “It Had To Be You” singer also made controversial remarks regarding the allegations in an interview published by The Times of London on Friday.
Jacksons estate has condemned the documentary. The pop star, who died in 2009, was found not guilty in 2005 of charges he molested a 13-year-old boy.
Barbra Streisand faces backlash over Michael Jackson comments | TheHill
OPRAH WINFREY ON EXPLOSIVE DOCUMENTARY ‘LEAVING NEVERLAND’: ‘THIS MOMENT TRANSCENDS MICHAEL JACKSON’
"His sexual needs were his sexual needs, coming from whatever childhood he has or whatever DNA he has," she said of Jackson.
But the legendary singer also raised eyebrows by saying Jacksons “sexual needs were his sexual needs.”
Oh god no. This is horrible. I feel sick. @BarbraStreisand is my idol and I look up to her so much. This breaks my heart that she would say this. Because this is such a wrong and hurtful thing to say. Ugh.
"You can say 'molested', but those children, as you heard [the grown-up Robson and Safechuck] say, they were thrilled to be there. They both married and they both have children, so it didn’t kill them," Streisand continued.
Streisand, 76, then said she feels “bad” for both the children Jackson allegedly abused and the late singer himself.
“It’s a combination of feelings. I feel bad for the children. I feel bad for him,” she said, also noting she blames the children's parents because “who would allow their children to sleep with him?”
Streisand’s comments immediately drew criticism from the documentary’s director, Dan Reed.
“'It didn’t kill them' @BarbraStreisand did you really say that?!” he wrote on Twitter.
Diana Ross Defends Michael Jackson, Says to “Stop in the Name of Love”
Many other users quickly followed suit, one person even writing that Streisand’s comments made her feel ill.
“Oh god no. This is horrible. I feel sick. @BarbraStreisand is my idol and I look up to her so much. This breaks my heart that she would say this. Because this is such a wrong and hurtful thing to say. Ugh.”
Barbra Streisand Believes The Sexual Assault Allegations Against Michael Jackson, But Says It Didnt Kill Them
“These comments by Barbara [sic] Streisand on Michael Jackson’s sexual abuse accusers are sick and says volumes about Hollywood’s demented and perverted thinking,” a second commented.
Barbra Streisand says Michael Jacksons accusers parents were seduced by fame
“Who knew in 2019 I would throw my love for Barbara [sic] Streisand into a dumpster but here I am,” another wrote.
“It’s with great honor that I can happily report that Barbara [sic] Streisand is officially canceled,” one man wrote.
Diana Ross sparks fury by defending Michael Jackson urging child sex accusers to stop in the name of l
"Barbara [sic] Streisand's take on survivors of child sexual abuse: ‘It didn't kill them.’ Survivors of sexual abuse have higher rates of suicide, eating disorders, drug addiction, repeat victimization later in life, etc. Child sexual abuse literally does kill people,” one person argued.
The film was also met with intense criticism from the Jackson family estate, which denied any and all wrongdoings. They called the documentary "an outrageous and pathetic attempt to exploit and cash in” on the music legend.
Barbara Streisand: Boys molested by Michael Jackson thrilled to be there
MICHAEL JACKSON PIECES REPORTEDLY PULLED FROM CHILDREN’S MUSEUM OF INDIANAPOLIS FOLLOWING ‘LEAVING NEVERLAND’
“HBO and the director were well aware of their financial motives and that ample opposing facts are available from numerous sources, but made the unconscionable decision to bury any evidence casting doubt on their chosen narrative. Had they made an objective film it would have allowed viewers to make up their own minds about these allegations, instead of having a television network dictate to them that they must accept these false claims about Michael Jackson,” said Howard Weitzman, the estate's attorney.