Barbra Streisand is facing criticism for her comments about two men who have accused Michael Jackson of sexually abusing them when they were children, saying they were "thrilled to be there" by Jackson's side during the years of alleged sexual abuse.
"You can say 'molested,' but those children, as you heard [Wade Robson and James Safechuck] say, they were thrilled to be there," Streisand said in an interview with British paper the Times. "They both married and they both have children, so it didn't kill them."
The legendary singer and actor was referring to Robson and Safechuck, who alleged years of sexual abuse at the hands of Jackson in the documentary Leaving Neverland.
In the film, the two men shared in excruciating detail how they and their families were groomed by the famous pop star, the years of alleged sexual abuse, and the emotional and psychological toil the abuse took on their lives even after they lost contact with Jackson.
In her newspaper interview, Streisand said she definitely believes the two men, saying that their abuse "was too painful."
But Streisand then goes to describe Jackson as "childlike," and refers to his alleged sexual abuse and targeting of children as "his sexual needs."
"His sexual needs were his sexual needs, coming from whatever childhood he has or whatever DNA he has," she said.
Streisand was quickly criticized for her comments and her depiction of alleged sexual abuse by Jackson.
Streisand went on in the interview to say she felt bad not just for the children but Jackson as well. Instead, she said, she laid blame on the children's parents.
"It's a combination of feelings," she said. "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 shoes and the dancing and the hats?"
But on Saturday, Streisand followed up on her comments, seemingly backtracking on her criticism of Robson's and Safechuck's parents, saying they, too, were victims of Jackson's actions.
"The most important role of being a parent is to protect their children," Streisand said in a statement to BuzzFeed News. "It's clear that the parents of the two young men were also victimized and seduced by fame and fantasy."
In her new statement, Streisand stressed that she had "nothing but sympathy" for the two victims in the film.
"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," she said. "The stories these two young men shared were painful to hear, and I feel nothing but sympathy for them."
In a further statement released on Saturday afternoon, Streisand said she was "profoundly sorry" for her words:
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. 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 I hope that James and Wade know that I truly respect and admire them for speaking their truth.
Streisand wasn't the only diva to draw attention for her comments about Jackson on Saturday.
Diana Ross, the Motown icon, tweeted her support for the late singer, drawing both criticism and support.