Fans are upset with Barbra Streisand for confusing comments she recently made about Michael Jackson and his alleged abuse victims in a new interview.
UPDATE 2: Streisand has now issued a statement apologizing for her remarks on her website: “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 respect and admire them for speaking their truth.”
UPDATE 1: In response to the backlash after her comments made to The Times, Barbra Streisand released the following statement: “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. The single 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.”
ORIGINAL: Barbra Streisand, 76, has come under fire on social media after commenting on HBO’s controversial documentary Leaving Neverland, which featured the accounts of Michael Jackson‘s alleged abuse victims Wade Robson and James Safechuck. Obviously, many people have commented on the two-part special that premiered on the network on March 3 and 4, but Barbra’s reaction has attracted some heat because fans believe she’s defending Michael’s alleged actions and minimizing the affect it had on Wade and James.
“[Michael’s] sexual needs were his sexual needs, coming from whatever childhood he has or whatever DNA he has,” the Oscar-winning actress told The Times in an interview published on March 22. And while Barbra clarified that she “absolutely” believes the pop icon’s accusers and said their stories were “too painful,” she also said, “You can say ‘molested,’ but those children, as you heard say [the grown-up Robson and Safechuck], they were thrilled to be there. They both married and they both have children, so it didn’t kill them.”
Ultimately, Barbra put the blame on Wade and James’ parents. “It’s a combination of feelings. I feel bad for the children. I feel bad for [Michael]. I blame, I guess, the parents, who would allow their children to sleep with him,” she told The Times. And immediately after the interview emerged online, fans shared their outrage on Twitter.
Some Twitter users even accused Barbra of justifying MJ’s alleged actions in her interview. “You can’t simultaneously say you believe accusers *and* say it wasn’t the accused’s fault,” one person wrote (below), while another added, “Barbra Streisand is vile 🤢.. She believes MJ abused Wade and James, but basically says – it is no big deal because they were ‘thrilled to be there’ and ended up getting married and having children, so it ‘didn’t kill them’..WTF???” A third user picked apart one of Barbra’s quotes, tweeting, “She’s said he had his sexual needs… like it’s ok to molest children as long as they are ‘thrilled to be there’ and grow up to have wives and children so it ‘didn’t kill them’….. actually ITS NEVER OK!”
Barbra Streisand's comments on Michael Jackson's accusers are … outrageous and perplexing to say the very least. pic.twitter.com/eFSTZUu4bz
— Alexander W. McCall (@awmccall) March 22, 2019
Shame on you @BarbraStreisand for disrespecting the victims of child rape. Low class, dismissive and a shocking trivialisation. To speak up for a child abuser… I expect it from the deranged MJ fans but not from you, who should know better. #LeavingNeverland #victimshamers https://t.co/e2yns2h77f
— Anthony King (@anthonyking1) March 22, 2019
MJ and Barbra were often photographed together before he died, as they were both giants in the music industry (The “Thriller” singer racked up 13 Grammy wins, while Barbra nabbed eight trophies from the Recording Academy). In addition to the two accusers featured in HBO’s Leaving Neverland documentary, the family of screenwriter Jordy Chandler accused MJ of sexually abusing the then 13-year-old boy in 1993, but the matter was settled outside of court. Then in 2003, Michael was accused of getting a then-15-year-old Gavin Arvizo drunk with wine and molesting him, but the singer pleaded not guilty to all charges of child molestation and was ultimately acquitted in 2005.
HollywoodLife has reached out to Barbra’s rep for comment on the backlash she’s received, but did not receive an immediate response.