Barbra Streisand issued a clarifying statement Saturday amid intense fallout over controversial remarks she’d made on a particularly thorny topic these days: Michael Jackson.
Controversy has lately been swirling around Jackson, following a recent HBO documentary in which two men allege the late singer sexually abused them as children. Radio stations have pulled the King of Pop’s songs from the airwaves. Fans have clashed on social media as they have wrestled with the complications to Jackson’s legacy.
On Saturday, Streisand, 76, suddenly caught up in the controversy, told Variety in a statement that she does not believe there’s ever a “situation” in which children should be taken advantage of. The comments came a day after The Times of London quoted her as saying that Jackson’s “sexual needs were his sexual needs.”
“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,” her new statement said. “The stories these two young men shared were painful to hear, and I feel nothing but sympathy for them.”
She was addressing the molestation claims made by Wade Robson and James Safechuck, detailed in a two-part documentary that HBO followed with an Oprah Winfrey-led forum.
Streisand’s statement seemed to be a walk-back of remarks she’d made that seemed to be more sympathetic to the accused.
“His sexual needs were his sexual needs, coming from whatever childhood he has or whatever DNA he has,” the celebrated singer-actress had been quoted as saying.
She continued: “You can say ‘molested,’ but those children, as you heard [the grown-up Robson and Safechuck] say, they were thrilled to be there. They both married and they both have children, so it didn’t kill them.”
Streisand’s fresh statement on Saturday also offered an apology for remarks seen as blaming the boys’ parents.
Streisand’s initial comments stirred a big social media backlash, including from the documentary’s director, Dan Reed.
Fox News’ Madeline Farber contributed to this report.