Actress and singer Barbra Streisand has come under fire after telling a British newspaper that the men who say they were molested as children by late singer Michael Jackson “were thrilled to be there” and the alleged sexual abuse “didn’t kill them.”
Streisand also said Jackson’s “sexual needs were his sexual needs.” Since the original quotes are behind a paywall at The Times, people relied on a headline from the New York Daily News, which read, “Barbra Streisand says Michael Jackson’s accusers were ‘thrilled to be there’ and his ‘sexual needs were his sexual needs.’”
While Streisand said both of these things, she didn’t say them together as the headline suggests. This, however, does not mean that what Streisand said was any less jarring.
She was asked by the Times about the recent documentary “Leaving Neverland,” which detailed the allegations of Wade Robson and James Safechuck who claim Jackson molested them when they were children. Streisand was asked if she believed their allegations, having known Jackson while he was alive.
“Oh, absolutely,” Streisand responded. “That was too painful.”
She described what Jackson was like when she met him: “He was very sweet, very childlike.”
When asked how she “reconciled” that with the way he was depicted in the documentary, Streisand gave an answer that was sympathetic to Jackson.
“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.”
For the record, Robson and Safechuck were thrilled to be friends with an international superstar, not thrilled to be molested.
Streisand was then asked if she was “angry” with Jackson.
“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?”
That was the end of her discussion about Jackson.
Dan Reed, who directed “Leaving Neverland,” reacted to Streisand’s comments on Twitter.
“It didn’t kill them” @BarbraStreisand did you really say that?!#LeavingNerverland,” he tweeted.
Streisand, so far, has not addressed the backlash to her comments. She has not commented to any media outlet and her Twitter feed appears to be dedicated to blasting President Donald Trump and guns at every opportunity. Streisand, however, must know better than to try and get this situation to go away. In 2003, the singer attempted to get photos of her Malibu, California mansion removed from the Internet, which ended up amplifying them further. The phenomenon is now referred to as the Streisand Effect.
The megastar also addressed the MeToo movement in her interview, calling it “very powerful” but suggesting that “unfortunately, it’s going to cause a lot of women not being hired because men are worried that they’ll be attacked,” which the Times interviewer took to mean men would be afraid of false accusations.