Barbra Streisand believes Michael Jackson’s accusers but blames their parents for their alleged sexual abuse rather than the star himself.
Barbra, who once turned down the offer to duet with Michael, discussed the sexual abuse claims made by Wade Robson and James Safechuck in Dan Reed’s documentary Leaving Neverland in an interview with British newspaper The Times.
The Yentl star, 76, waded into the controversy around the film by saying she finds their accusations plausible – but doesn’t blame the King of Pop if he developed a sexual attraction to children as it was not something he could help.
“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 say (in the documentary), they were thrilled to be there. They both married and they both have children, so it didn’t kill them.”
Instead, the Second Hand Rose singer blames their parents, who allowed their children to sleep in Michael’s bedroom at his Neverland Ranch and ignored the musician’s eccentric behaviour around children.
“It’s a combination of feelings. I feel bad for the children,” she 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?”
However, she stressed that she “absolutely” believes their allegations about Michael, despite finding him, “very sweet, very childlike”.
Leaving Neverland has sparked debate around the world about the nature of the Billie Jean hitmaker’s intentions towards children, who he placed in many of his music videos, often appeared with on stage and routinely invited to his ranch. In 1994 he settled a lawsuit brought by the parents of 13-year-old Jordy Chandler, a child he befriended, for $22 million (£16.8 million), and in 2005 he was acquitted on charges of molesting another teenager, Gavin Arvizo.
Wade gave evidence in Michael’s defence in both cases, while James supported him during the Jordy Chandler case. Members of the Jackson family have hit back at the two men’s allegations, accusing them of lying due to their past statements denying they were abused.