Barbra Streisand is backtracking after saying that, while she believes Michael Jackson molested children, he should be excused because “his sexual needs were his sexual needs” and the alleged abuse “didn’t kill them.”
“His sexual needs were his sexual needs, coming from whatever childhood he has or whatever DNA he has,” she told the United Kingdom’s Sunday Times. “You can say ‘molested’, but those children, as you heard say, they were thrilled to be there. They [Jackson’s two male accusers] are both married and they both have children, so it didn’t kill them.”
“It’s a combination of feelings,” Streisand 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?”
After a public backlash to these comments, Streisand began issuing apologies over the weekend, telling several news outlets on Saturday, “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 followed up with a second statement later that day that included an apology.
Chaos at Gay HQ As Barbra Streisand's Status Downgraded from Yas Queen to Bye Felicia
— Eric D. Snider (@EricDSnider) March 23, 2019
Motion to permanently remove Barbra Streisand as queer icon. Do I have a second? https://t.co/K1hiyhDIxj
— email@example.com (@cmclymer) March 23, 2019
Although Jackson died in 2009, his pederasty has been in the news in the wake of the 2019 documentary “Finding Neverland,” featuring two now-adult men who allege Jackson molested them as children. Wade Robeson alleges Jackson abused him for seven years, starting when he was seven years old, and James Safechuck alleges Jackson abused him for four years, beginning when he was ten years old. At least five other men who slept with Jackson as children also allege he homosexually abused them as children.
Just a month ago, The Federalist published an article arguing that pedophilia is one of the next sexual acts to be normalized by sexual revolution proponents. In it, Senior Contributor Stella Morabito cited instances of people, similarly to Streisand, arguing that pedophilia is a sexual orientation and therefore can’t be condemned by society.
“There are two main avenues to legalizing adult sexual relations with pre-pubescent children: 1) to designate it as a sexual orientation; and 2) to lower—or abolish—the age of consent for sexual activity,” Morabito wrote. “Both efforts are on track by pedophilia advocates, especially in academia and in the mass media.”
Note that Streisand’s comments assume Jackson’s pederasty is an inborn orientation that he can’t change: “His sexual needs were his sexual needs, coming from whatever childhood he has or whatever DNA he has.” Morabito noted that Hollywood is more comfortable and rife with pedophilia than society at large. She cited a growing body of academic work explored more in depth here by sociologist Mark Regnerus, arguing, just like Streisand did, that pedophilia doesn’t cause children long-term harm.
Regnerus also notes how sexual abuse often clouds consent, because minors who were sexually abused often then and still report not only accepting but also sometimes enjoying the encounters.
I ran [child molestation] studies past a friend of mine who had experienced it all—childhood molestation by an opposite-sex older relative and then a sustained relationship of same-sex ‘outercourse’ initiated by a counselor who was eighteen years her senior. Like many in Rind’s study, she ‘went along’ due to the counselor’s manipulation. She spoke of willingness, well short of enthusiasm, in order not to threaten the relationship. The sexual activity became mutual. And yet it was all exploitative, and deeply damaging.
At twenty years old, she was legally of age. Yet she sees obvious parallels between minor-adult relationships and therapist-client relationships: there are inherent power imbalances in both that make sexual contact of any kind wrong. Even mutual desire or initiation by the youth or the client cannot erase these power differences, as all professional and legal establishments used to understand.
The power imbalances and the frequent inability of abuse victims to know that they are being abused is another caution against the naivete of relying completely on “consent” to socially approve of and legalize sexual activity. Pedophile advocates can and are arguing that children can consent to sex with adults. So do advocates of “sex work,” who encompass people who openly advocate for and teach children ages 12 and older to be paid for sex (hat tip Rachel Haywire).
People who use people are the f*ckiest people in the world, @BarbraStreisand This is just more proof that elitists live in bubbles, self-segregated from real #People #pedophila apologetics is here https://t.co/WppKQizZLo
— Stella Morabito (@Stella_Morabito) March 23, 2019
If warm and even happy feelings about a sexual encounter are the only justification needed, then pedophilia can be considered a-okay. The Jackson stories reinforce this point. In a recent interview with CBS News, two men alleging abuse explain how Jackson groomed them for molestation, giving them very focused and warm attention and telling them he was their “best friend.” Then he invited them to Neverland. Then he invited them into his bedroom, then to spend the night.
“Then the nights started changing,” Robeson said. Jackson started touching his body and then encouraging the child to touch his. Each time, they did something more. Robeson says that as a child he didn’t think it was creepy or frightening. Safechuck said the process was similar for him, and that he also thought the sex acts meant they loved each other.
“We love each other,” Robeson says Jackson told him, “And this is how we show our love.”