Barbra Streisand Apologizes for Controversial Comments Made About Michael Jackson Accusers
"I am profoundly sorry for any pain or misunderstanding I caused by not choosing my words more carefully," the singer and actress said after stirring backlash after commenting on the subjects of 'Leaving Neverland' in an interview with The Times of London.
Asked whether she believes Wade Robson and James Safechuck, who accused Jackson of sexually abusing them for a number of years when they were children, Streisand replied, "Oh, absolutely. That was too painful." The singer and actress went on to describe Jackson as "very sweet, very childlike" when she met him a couple of times in person.
Considering the documentary's depiction of Jackson, she said, “His sexual needs were his sexual needs, coming from whatever childhood he has or whatever DNA he has. You can say ‘molested,’ but those children, as you heard say, they were thrilled to be there. They both married and they both have children, so it didn’t kill them.”
When asked whether she feels anger toward Jackson, Streisand emphasized a "combination of feelings" about the accusations, noting that she feels bad for the children as well as Jackson. "I blame, I guess, the parents, who would allow their children to sleep with him. Why would Michael need these little children dressed like him and in the shows and the dancing and the hats?”
Streisand went on to talk briefly about the #MeToo movement, which she considers to be "very powerful," [but] unfortunately, it’s going to cause a lot of women not being hired because men are worried that they’ll be attacked."
After stirring backlash, Streisand released statements Saturday to express how "profoundly sorry" she feels for causing any "pain or misunderstanding" with her words.
"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," Streisand said in a statement sent to The Hollywood Reporter by a representative. "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."
In her first statement, Streisand attempted to add clarification to her words, explaining that she feels "nothing but sympathy" for Robson and Safechuck.
"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," Streisand said. "The stories these two young men shared were painful to hear, and I feel nothing but sympathy for them."
She then addressed the children's parents, saying they were also "victimized" in the situation: "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."
March 23, 12:21 p.m. Updated with Streisand's statement.
March 23, 2:09 p.m. Updated with second Streisand statement.