At Sundance, Leaving Neverland, a much-buzzed-about documentary into the allegations of sexual abuse by Michael Jackson, premiered. Since airing on HBO earlier this month, the two-part doc kicked off a wave of criticism against the internationally renowned pop star. Just for one example, a handful of Louis Vuitton pieces directly referencing the star were pulled from its upcoming collection. So one would think this would be a sort of no-brainer topic to avoid. Not for our iconic divas!
First up was Barbra Streisand. In an interview with The Times of London, that while she believed that Wade Robson and James Safechuck, whose stories were featured in the film, were both assaulted, she was unsure about the long term effects. According to her, it also just came down to Jackson's own needs. "His sexual needs were his sexual needs, coming from whatever childhood he has or whatever DNA he has," she said. "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." Whew. A statement. The only people who suffer trauma from abuse are dead? Ok. She would go on to call Jackson child-like and place the blame on the children's parents. My god.
Then, over the weekend, it was Diana Ross's chance up at bat. While Streisand was teed up in an interview, we aren't exactly sure what led Ross to the plate. But here she is, all the same: "This is what's on my heart this morning," the icon started the tweet. "I believe and trust that Michael Jackson was and is A magnificent incredible force to me and to many others. STOP IN THE NAME OF LOVE." What that means exactly, we aren't sure but it seems to infer that the good that Jackson did should outweigh allegations of child sexual abuse? We all know that's ... not right. Right?
After a bit of backlash, Streisand apologized and clarified her statements. "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 wrote in a statement posted to her official site. "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 hope that James and Wade know that I truly respect and admire them for speaking their truth." Ok. Now, what say you, Ms. Ross?
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