Barbra Streisand has apologized after facing intense criticism for comments she made about the two men who accused Michael Jackson of child molestation in the HBO documentary, Leaving Neverland.
While the award-winning singer and actress said she “absolutely” believes Wade Robson and James Safechuck, she downplayed the men’s allegations saying they wanted to be in Jackson’s world when the alleged abuse occurred.
“You can say ‘molested’, but those children, as you heard say, they were thrilled to be there,” the music legend told the Times UK, ahead of a series of concerts in London.
Streisand added that Robson and Safechuck — who said they were seven and 10 years old when the alleged abuse started — didn’t appear to suffer long-term damage.
“They both married and they both have children, so it didn’t kill them,” she stated in the article published Friday.
Robson, 36, and Safechuck, 40, claimed in the four-hour doc that Jackson was a sexual predator who groomed young boys, and repeatedly molested them as their parents turned a blind eye.
Streisand dismissed allegations that Jackson was a pedophile, and said she blamed the accusers’ parents more than the King of Pop.
“His sexual needs were his sexual needs, coming from whatever childhood he has or whatever DNA he has,” she stated.
“I feel bad for the children,” Streisand added. “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 shoes and the dancing and the hats?”
Streisand’s comments about Jackson and his accusers sparked anger on social media, making her a top trending topic on Twitter Friday evening.
Leaving Neverland director, Dan Reed, was among the critics.
“‘It didn’t kill them’ @BarbraStreisand did you really say that?!’” he tweeted Friday.
— Dan Reed (@danreed1000) March 22, 2019
After coming under heavy fire, Streisand walked back her comments and posted an apology on Instagram.
“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 Saturday post.
“I didn’t mean to dismiss the trauma these boys experienced in any way,” she continued. “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.”
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Jackson’s estate has repeatedly criticized Leaving Neverland, describing the film as “tabloid character assassination.”
The estate also filed a $100 million dollar lawsuit against HBO, saying the documentary breached a previous agreement with the cable channel not to disparage the Thriller singer.