Barbra Streisand is facing backlash for comments she made about two men who accused Michael Jackson of sexually abusing them as children in the documentary Leaving Neverland, saying they were “thrilled to be there.”
James Safechuck and Wade Robson revealed in the four-hour movie that they and their families were chosen and groomed by Jackson and shared how the abuse affected them psychologically well into adulthood.
In an interview with British paper The Times, Streisand said, “You can say ‘molested,’ but those children, as you heard say [Robson and Safechuck as adults], they were thrilled to be there. They both married and they both have children, so it didn’t kill them.”
Streisand clarified during the interview that she believed the men, but at the same time, she referred to Jackson as “childlike” and said the alleged abuse of the two men simply was a way for Jackson to fulfill “his sexual needs.” She said, “His sexual needs were his sexual needs, coming from whatever childhood he has or whatever DNA he has.”
Streisand said that she felt bad for Jackson as well as for the children. Instead of blaming Jackson, she blamed Robson and Safechuck’s parents.
She explained, “It’s 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.”
The criticism from people on social media was quick.
Barbara Streisand believes that Michael Jackson was a pedophile & said “his sexual needs were his sexual needs.”
Pedophelia a “need?” How disgusting.
The Hollywood mentality on full display. A swamp that needs to be drained ASAP!!!
— Tyler Zed (@realTylerZed) March 23, 2019
Barbra Streisand on Michael Jackson… pic.twitter.com/eK2cNHEid4
— Rebecca Theodore-Vachon (@FilmFatale_NYC) March 23, 2019
Barbra Streisand had such a long running program before getting cancelled. pic.twitter.com/CXUHPqoDDT
— Sean Holihan (@SeanHolihan) March 23, 2019
Barbara Streisand just “hold my beer’d” the whole Mueller Report.
— Zach Braff (@zachbraff) March 23, 2019
You can't simultaneously say you believe accusers *and* say it wasn't the accused's fault.
— Alexander W. McCall (@awmccall) March 22, 2019
By Saturday, Streisand’s blame of the parents seemed to shift, as she said that they were also victims of Jackson’s.
In a statement to BuzzFeed News, Streisand said, “The most important role of being a parent is to protect their children. It’s clear that the parents of the two young men were also victimized and seduced by fame and fantasy.”
She continued, “To be crystal clear, there is no situation or circumstance where it is OK for the innocence of children to be taken advantage of by anyone. The stories these two young men shared were painful to hear, and I feel nothing but sympathy for them.”
Streisand also released a statement on Saturday afternoon, apologizing for her initial statements:
I am profoundly sorry for any pain or misunderstanding I caused by not choosing my words more carefully about Michael Jackson and his victims, because the words as printed do not reflect my true feelings. I didn’t mean to dismiss the trauma these boys experienced in any way. 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 respectand admire them for speaking their truth.
h/t: BuzzFeed News