Barbra Streisand has come to the defense of Michael Jackson, even while clarifying that she “absolutely” believes the two men who accuse the pop superstar of sexually abusing them in the HBO documentary “Leaving Neverland.” Speaking to the Times, Streisand said Jackson was “very sweet, very childlike” the few times they met one another and that “his 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,” she added.
As for whether she’s angry with the late singer, who died 10 years ago, Streisand described it as “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 the dancing and the hats?”
She also discussed the #MeToo movement, which she described as “very powerful” even as she worried about its long-term effects: “Unfortunately, it’s going to cause a lot of women not being hired because men are worried they’ll be attacked.”
Streisand recently appeared at the Academy Awards, where she introduced Spike Lee’s “BlacKkKlansman” as one of the eight Best Picture nominees. A two-time Oscar winner for her leading role in “Funny Girl” and the song “Evergreen” from the 1976 version of “A Star Is Born,” she most recently appeared in 2012’s “The Guilt Trip.”
Update: Following backlash to her prior remarks, Streisand has released a statement saying she feels “nothing but sympathy” for Jackson’s alleged 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. 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.”