Michael Jackson’s legacy has taken a hit since the airing of Leaving Neverland, which has brought renewed scrutiny to the singer’s past relationships with underage boys and allegations of sexual misconduct. Radio stations stopped playing his music, Drake ceased performing their collaboration, and The Simpsons pulled an episode featuring the former King of Pop.
However, Jackson still has a few defenders in his camp, namely: T.I., Jackson’s daughter Paris, and Madame Tussauds. Now, in a controversial new interview with The Evening Standard, Barbra Streisand has seemingly sympathized with Jackson, contending that “his sexual needs were his sexual needs, coming from whatever childhood he has or whatever DNA he has.”
In the interview, Streisand said she “absolutely” believes Wade Robson and James Safechuck, the two alleged victims featured in Leaving Neverland. And yet, Streisand placed the blame squarely on their parents, “I feel bad for the children. I feel bad for [Jackson]. I blame, I guess, the parents, who would allow their children to sleep with him.”
She also questioned the impact Jackson’s actions had on Robson and Safechuck. “You can say ‘molested,’ but those children.. they were thrilled to be there,” Streisand is quoted as saying. They both married and they both have children, so it didn’t kill them.”.”
Leaving Neverland director Dan Reed has since responded to Streisand’s comments, writing on Twitter, “‘It didn’t kill them,’ @BarbraStreisand, did you really say that?!”
— Dan Reed (@danreed1000) March 22, 2019
Update – March 24th: Streisand has sought to clarify her comments, saying in a 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.”
She added, “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.”