Barbra Streisand’s Bizarre Defense of Michael Jackson’s Child Molestation

"His sexual needs were his sexual needs." And, you know, criminal.

NY Daily News (“Barbra Streisand says Michael Jackson’s accusers were ‘thrilled to be there’ and his ‘sexual needs were his sexual needs’“):

Barbra Streisand is under fire for comments she made about two men accusing Michael Jackson of sexually assaulting them as children.

The legendary singer and actress said that Wade Robson and James Safechuck — whose allegations against the late King of Pop resurfaced in the recent documentary “Leaving Neverland” — “were thrilled to be there” and that what allegedly happened to them “didn’t kill them.”

Streisand, 76, made the strange comments to British newspaper The Times in a piece out Friday, in which she also said that Jackson’s “sexual needs were his sexual needs.”

She says she “absolutely” believes the allegations of abuse by Robson and Safechuck, but puts more blame on their parents than The Gloved One.

“His sexual needs were his sexual needs, coming from whatever childhood he has or whatever DNA he has,” Streisand told The Times. “You can say ‘molested,’ but those children, as you heard say [grown-up Robson and Safechuck], they were thrilled to be there. They both married and they both have children, so it didn’t kill them.”

Streisand, who crossed paths with Jackson during their careers, added that she feels sorry for both the alleged victims and Jackson.

The original Times story is paywalled. Neither the headline nor the subhed (“Barbra Streisand at 76: dog cloning, art collecting and being a grandma
As she announces her UK concerts, the star talks from her Malibu boudoir about stage fright and how Brexit has made her poorer“)  refer to her Jackson comments, which seems strange, indeed. But others, including Variety (“Barbra Streisand Believes Michael Jackson Accusers, But Says ‘They Were Thrilled to Be There’“), are re-reporting the story in substantially the same fashion.

Barbra Streisand only met Michael Jackson a few times, but she definitely has some opinions about his alleged molestation of several young boys.

Streisand shared her thoughts with the Times in the U.K. ahead of her July concert at London’s Hyde Park. Given that Streisand is one of the few people alive to have experienced a level of stardom similar to Jackson’s, interviewer Ed Potton asked about her thoughts on “Leaving Neverland.”

The EGOT-winning singer says that she believes Wade Robson and James Safechuck, who allege in the documentary that they were abused by Jackson as children. “Oh absolutely,” she said in the interview. “That was too painful.”

Streisand says that on the occasions she met Jackson, he was “very sweet, very childlike.” But despite the material being painful to watch, she seems to have some sympathy for the late pop star. “His sexual needs were his sexual needs, coming from whatever childhood he has or whatever DNA he has,” she told the Times.

“You can say ‘molested,’ but those children, as you heard them say [the grown-up Robson and Safechuk], they were thrilled to be there. They both married and they both have children, so it didn’t kill them.”

When asked if she’s angry with Jackson, she replies, “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?”

Why, indeed?

SkyNews, People, the Daily Beast, and others have the same quotes. USA Today offers a collection of famous people virtue-signaling their displeasure with Streisand’s comments.

Like virtually everyone else, I find child molestation horrendous and find Jackson’s actions unimaginable. Presumably, the same is true of regular OTB readers. It strikes me as bizarre, indeed, to blame star-struck little boys for what Jackson did to them.

Then again, Streisand has always struck me as rather weird, but that’s often the case with great artists. Still, this is in a different category than, say, cloning your dead dog because you miss him. Presumably, Streisand isn’t pro-child molestation. Is this just an old woman creeping into dementia? A musical superstar defending the legacy of one of her own? I haven’t the foggiest.

FILED UNDER: Crime, Entertainment, Popular Culture, ,
James Joyner
About James Joyner
James Joyner is a Security Studies professor at Marine Corps University's Command and Staff College and a nonresident senior fellow at the Scowcroft Center for Strategy and Security at the Atlantic Council. He's a former Army officer and Desert Storm vet. Views expressed here are his own. Follow James on Twitter @DrJJoyner.

Comments

  1. Michael Reynolds says:

    She doesn’t want to reprogram. She has taken certain opinions about Jackson on-board, now those opinions are shown to be wrong, but rather than just re-program, she goes into denial. This unfortunately mirrors probably 95% of humanity.

    People are very bad at managing their brains. They’re figuratively 80 year-olds just being shown a computer and never getting past the point of learning to play solitaire and send e-mail. They don’t seem to understand that this machine – their brain – is re-programmable. They’re given this wonderful thing, this amazing product of evolution, the highest intelligence we know of at this time, and they never get past playing solitaire.

    The whole value of intelligence from an evolutionary perspective is to allow homo sapiens to absorb and analyze data, respond to same, and pass the results on to subsequent generations. So naturally 95% of homo sapiens never takes their brain out of the packing box it came in.

    5
    2
  2. gVOR08 says:

    IIRC Roman Polanski defended himself for rape of a thirteen year old girl by saying you couldn’t expect him to not be sexually attracted to her. We wouldn’t have passed laws against it if we didn’t expect it.

  3. Kathy says:

    @Michael Reynolds:

    A very apt analogy.

    I think humanity as a whole will never grow so enlightened and empathetic, that incredibly insensitive statements like Streisand’s will be extinct.

  4. wr says:

    One reason I value this site and the people who post here — the comments on a post about one celebrity saying something stupid about another celebrity are a fraction of those on just about any other topic.

  5. Stormy Dragon says:

    It turn out that Diana Ross also has some thoughts on Michael Jackson:

    https://twitter.com/DianaRoss/status/1109492548320415746

    I’m starting to think we need a law banning the interviewing of anyone older then 70.

  6. grumpy realist says:

    @Stormy Dragon: Maybe this rule should be limited to “Hollywood celebrities who are older than 70 and named Barbra Streisand”? She’s always come off as a little kooky.

    Of course, one of the signs of incipient dementia is lack of control of social graces, so there’s that possibility as well.

  7. Gustopher says:

    Well, if Barbara Streisand says the kids were asking for it, I guess it’s all ok then.

    But everything around that one quote is more nuanced…

    But despite the material being painful to watch, she seems to have some sympathy for the late pop star. “His sexual needs were his sexual needs, coming from whatever childhood he has or whatever DNA he has,” she told the Times.

    When asked if she’s angry with Jackson, she replies, “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?”

    You’re attracted to who you are attracted to, and some people need some weird shit to be able to get off. I’m not saying that excuses acting on it, as you have a responsibility to not hurt others.

    I’m just going to assume that Barbara Streisand is a secret furry, and looks at Michael Jackson and quietly says “There but for the grace of god go I”, while putting on her plush fox suit.

  8. Teve says:

    @wr: good point.