This one hurts, because it was just so unnecessary.
Barbra Streisand, in the twilight of her career, decided to make a statement so callously evil, so horrendously tone-deaf that it takes one's breath away.
Asked about her impressions of the "Leaving Neverland" documentary that premiered last month on HBO which detailed sexual abuse by Michael Jackson of two boys. Streisand expressed some sympathy for the alleged victims, Wade Robson and James Safechuck. But then she went and decided to excuse away Michael Jackson's predations on not only the victims, but of their families as well.
“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.”
So in this scenario, unless Robson and Safechuck had committed suicide as a result of the trauma of being repeated sexually abused as young children, it's okay? What in the ever-loving hell?
From the American Counseling Association on Childhood Sexual Abuse:
Survivors often experience guilt, shame, and self-blame. It has been shown that survivors frequently take personal responsibility for the abuse. When the sexual abuse is done by an esteemed trusted adult it may be hard for the children to view the perpetrator in a negative light, thus leaving them incapable of seeing what happened as not their fault. Survivors often blame themselves and internalize negative messages about themselves. Survivors tend to display more self-destructive behaviors and experiencemore suicidal ideation than those who have not been abused (Browne & Finkelhor,1986).
Think that sounds "okay" to Barbra?
Streisand later tried to clarify her statements to something less molester-friendly after the backlash began.
But beyond her quick retraction, it's her rationalization of Michael Jackson's preying on little boys that really is dangerous and emblematic of so many in the entertainment industry and of her socio-economic level. It was an open secret in Hollywood that Harvey Weinstein preyed on actresses and would destroy the careers of those unwilling to go along with him. So was Bill Cosby's predilection for bringing actresses to his dressing room for a drug-laden drink. Hell, I have never been in the entertainment industry, but lived in Los Angeles for the first half of my life and I heard those rumors. Corey Haim, before his premature death, spoke openly about producers who would trade around child actors as sex toys, without anyone else blinking. Likewise, Jeffrey Epstein was well known, as was Donald Trump. but their predations were protected by others, blinded by their wealth and perceived status.
Michael Jackson was traveling around with pre-pubescent boys all the time. That's not normal behavior for a grown man. Letting them sleep in his bed with him is not normal behavior. Where were any adults (and yes, these boys' parents were as seduced as these boys were--Jackson knew how to play them too) to question why that was happening and step in? Even now, years after Jackson's death, Streisand (and many others) are making excuses for him.
That is exactly why victims fear coming forward. That's exactly why they internalize the blame for what happened to them.
And that is why it's time to cancel anyone making excuses for molesting and exploitation of children.