Barbra Streisand is facing criticism for her eyebrow-raising take on the Michael Jackson HBO documentary “Leaving Neverland,” saying she has a “combination of feelings.” Nathan Rousseau Smith has the story.
Barbra Streisand has walked back her controversial comments about Michael Jackson’s sexual abuse accusers, saying she feels “deep remorse” for dismissing the trauma they experienced as children.
“I am profoundly sorry for any pain or misunderstanding I caused by not choosing my words more carefully about Michael Jackson and his victims,” the icon wrote Saturday in a statement on Twitter. “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 (Safechuck) and Wade (Robson) know that I truly respect and admire them for speaking their truth.”
Backlash set in after wide-ranging interview published Friday, in which Streisand told The Times of London that she believes the accusations made by Wade Robson, 36, and James Safechuck, 40, in the recent HBO documentary, “Leaving Neverland.”
“Oh, absolutely. That was too painful,” says Streisand, who recalled Jackson as “very sweet, very childlike.”
Asked about the abusive behavior alleged in the documentary, Streisand says: “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.”
She acknowledged having a combination of feelings about the situation. “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.”
Earlier Saturday, the singer tried to explain her remarks to The Associated Press in a sympathetic statement that read: “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.”
Jackson’s close friend and mentor Diana Ross also touched on the controversy over the weekend.
“This is what’s on my heart this morning,” Ross wrote Saturday on Twitter. “I believe and trust that Michael Jackson was and is a magnificent incredible force to me and to many others.”
The Jackson estate has condemned “Leaving Neverland,” noting that Jackson, who died at age 50 in 2009, was acquitted of molestation charges in a trial in 2005.
“The legacy and the fans around the world, this is not going to do anything to them because they know the truth,” the superstar nephew, Taj Jackson, told USA TODAY in February.
Contributing: Bill Keveney, Andrea Mandell and The Associated Press
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