After facing an onslaught of intense backlash and severe scrutiny, singer Barbra Streisand is "profoundly sorry" for saying that pop icon Michael Jackson's alleged serial molestation of children was simply the satisfaction of "sexual needs" that ultimately brought little to no harm to his victims.
"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 in a statement, according to Vanity Fair. "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."
The famed singer simultaneously posted a heartfelt apology on her Instagram account, saying the words "as printed" do not reflect her true feelings.
"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," the post read. "I didn’t mean to dismiss the trauma these boys experienced in any way. I feel deep remorse and hope James and Wade know that I truly respect and admire them for speaking their truth."
Last Friday, the Times of London released an interview with Streisand in which she made some wildly off-color statements about the allegations brought forth against Michael Jackson by Wade Robson and James Safechuck in the horrifying documentary "Leaving Neverland," suggesting that the boys perhaps wanted to be sexually molested and that Jackson may have just been acting on his own DNA.
"His sexual needs were his sexual needs, coming from whatever childhood he has or whatever DNA he has," Streisand 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."
Streisand later admitted to feeling "bad" for Michael Jackson every bit as much as his victims.
"It’s a combination of feelings. I feel bad for the children. I feel bad for him," she told the Times. "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 shoes and the dancing and the hats?"
People on social media piled on Streisand, with many expressing shock that she would be so casual about the sexual abuse of children in the #MeToo era. While her comments were indeed shocking, she is unfortunately not the only prominent celebrity to downplay Jackson's alleged sins. Several weeks ago, world-famous rapper T.I. suggested that Jackson fell victim to a racist conspiracy against him:
Let this man speak for himself to defend his legacy. Don’t just listen to one side and expect to find truth. Oh that’s right...Dead men can’t speak. So what was the point again? Destroy another strong black historical LEGEND?!?! It’s several examples of pedophilia in American History... if y’all pulling up all our old shit... we gotta examine ELVIS PRESLEY, HUGH HEPHNER,and a whole slew of others guilty of the same if not more!!! BUT WHY US all the time? There’s an agenda to destroy OUR CULTURE.