Barbra Streisand responds to backlash over comments on Michael Jackson abuse allegations

"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"

Barbra Streisand has responded to the backlash caused by her controversial comments on the recent abuse allegations made against Michael Jackson in Leaving Neverland. 

In a new interview with The Times, Streisand began by saying she believed the accusers in the documentary – Wade Robson and James Safechuck – before adding that she thought they were “thrilled” to be there and that Jackson’s “sexual needs were his sexual needs.”

The documentary, which aired in the UK earlier this month, focussed on allegations from Robson and Safechuck who claimed that Jackson abused them over a number of years. The Jackson estate have denied any wrongdoing.

When asked about the allegations, Streisand said she “absolutely” believed Robson and Safechuck adding, “that was too painful.”

She continued: “[Jackson’s] sexual needs were his sexual needs, coming from whatever childhood he has or whatever DNA he has…You can say ‘molested’, but those children, as you heard them say, they were thrilled to be there. They both married and they both have children, so it didn’t kill them.”

Michael Jackson and Wade Robson.

Asked if she was angry by Jackson’s alleged actions, Streisand said: “It’s a combination of feelings. I feel bad for the children. I feel bad for him. 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 shows and dancing and the hats?”

The comments received a backlash on social media from many, including the director of the documentary, Dan Reed. On Twitter, Reed wrote: “‘It didn’t kill them’ @BarbaraStreisand did you really say that?!”

Now, Streisand has released a statement to add clarity to the views she shared – saying she has “nothing but sympathy” for Robson and Safechuck.

“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 statement begins. “The stories these two young men shared were painful to hear, and I feel nothing but sympathy for them.”

After previously placing the blame on the alleged victims’ mothers, the singer went on to suggest that they too were manipulated by Jackson.

“The single most important role of being a parent is to protect their children,” she said. “It’s clear that the parents of the two young men were also victimized and seduced by fame and fantasy.”

You can see some of the reaction to Streisand’s initial comments below:

Speaking about the documentary in a recent interview with NME, the director of Leaving Neverland alleged the musician may have “sexually exploited a good many more” victims, saying that he thought Jackson used fame and “garish tabloid myths” to his advantage in order to conceal the truth.

Reed said: “Michael Jackson had unlimited power and unlimited wealth. Children looked up to him. And he exploited that to the hilt. In James’ and Wade’s cases, that sexual abuse lasted several years. I believe he sexually exploited a good many more little boys in his paedophile career.

“I think [more] will [come out], eventually, yeah. As the Michael Jackson fans say: ‘lies run sprints, but the truth runs marathons’. And that’s exactly what’s happening here. Sooner or later, it will come out.” 

Meanwhile, Streisand was announced as the latest headliner for the British Summer Time series in Hyde Park earlier this month.

Streisand will headline on Sunday July 7, alongside a supporting bill of special guests that will be announced in the coming months.