Update: Streisand later issued a more formal apology. “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,” she said in a statement to EW. “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 and Wade know that I truly respect and admire them for speaking their truth.”
Original story: Musician, actress, and filmmaker Barbra Streisand came under fire Friday night after making controversial comments about Wade Robson and James Safechuck, the two men who’ve accused Michael Jackson of sexual misconduct, claiming they were “thrilled to be there” and that the experiences “didn’t kill them.” The backlash was such that, on Saturday, Streisand tried to clarify her statements.
“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 delivered to EW. “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.”
Streisand’s original statements were made to The Times in the U.K. She said she believed the men’s claims, but also defended 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 [Robson and Safechuck], they were thrilled to be there. They both married and they both have children, so it didn’t kill them.”
The claims were made in the new documentary Finding Neverland. Since the film aired, on HBO, sales of Jackson’s music has declined, some radio stations have refused to play his songs, and The Simpsons episode featuring him has been removed from circulation.