Barbra Streisand has released a statement apologising after she made controversial comments about Michael Jackson and the contents of the Leaving Neverland documentary.
In an interview published in The Times on Friday (22 March), Streisand said of Jackson’s actions that ‘His sexual needs were his sexual needs’. She went on to say Wade Robson and James Safechuck, who both appeared in Leaving Neverland to accuse Jackson of abuse, ‘were thrilled to be there’, and commented the abuse ‘didn’t kill them’.
The comments received backlash on social media, leading to the 76-year-old to release a statement addressing her comments. She said: “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.
“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.”
— Barbra Streisand (@BarbraStreisand) March 23, 2019
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In the initial interview with The Times, the star said the documentary was ‘too painful’ and that Jackson, who she met on several occasions, was ‘very sweet and childlike.’
When asked if she was angry with Jackson, she 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 the dancing and the hats?”