Barbra Streisand issued a statement Saturday clarifying her controversial comments regarding the two men who accused Michael Jackson of sexual abuse in the documentary Leaving Neverland.
In comments made to the Times UK that were immediately met with condemnation on social media, Streisand seemed to downplay the molestation accusations and their impact on Wade Robson and James Safechuck – “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” – and excused Jackson’s alleged abuse as “his sexual needs were his sexual needs.”
“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 Saturday in a statement (via Variety). “The stories these two young men shared were painful to hear, and I feel nothing but sympathy for them.”
In her Times UK interview, Streisand, like many others, also blamed Robson and Safechuck’s parents for the alleged sexual abuse their sons’ endured while with Jackson.
“The single most important role of being a parent is to protect their children,” Streisand added Saturday. “It’s clear that the parents of the two young men were also victimized and seduced by fame and fantasy.”
Streisand’s remarks were swiftly met with criticism on social media, with even Leaving Neverland director Dan Reed perplexed by the singer’s comments. “‘It didn’t kill them’ @barbrastreisand did you really say that?!,” Reed tweeted. “‘His sexual needs were his sexual needs’ – is pedophilia tolerated in parts of the entertainment industry?”
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