Diana Ross Defends Michael Jackson in Wake of ‘Leaving Neverland’

Diana Ross

The legendary singer went to Twitter on Saturday to share a few words about the man she had met in the 1960s. Ross described Jackson as “a magnificent incredible force” to her and others. She concluded the tweet with a reference to the Supremes’ hit record “Stop! In the Name of Love.”

Ross’ message was posted amid reignited backlash against the late King of Pop. This month, HBO aired the two-part documentary Leaving Neverland, which explored the child sexual abuse claims that have plagued Jackson’s legacy.

Since the documentary’s premiere, many people have called for a Jackson boycott. A number of radio stations have pulled the singer’s music from rotation; The Simpsons creator Matt Groening said he will remove an episode featuring Jackson’s voice; and Drake has dropped his MJ-featuring track, “Don’t Matter to Me,” on tour.

But it’s clear not everyone is jumping on the #MuteJackson train. Hours before Ross posted the message, Barbra Streisand received backlash for her comments about Jackson’s scandal. Streisand told The Times she believed the sexual abuse claims made by Wade Robson and James Safechuck, but expressed sympathy toward Jackson.

“[Jackson’s] sexual needs were his sexual needs, coming from whatever childhood he has or whatever DNA he has,” Streisand said. “You can say ‘molested,’ but those children, as you heard say, they were thrilled to be there. They both married and they both have children, so it didn’t kill them.”

She also stated: “I feel bad for [Jackson]. 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?”

Streisand has since clarified her comments in a statement published by the Washington Post. It reads in part: “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 […] The single most important role of being a parent is to protect their children. It’s clear that the parents of the two young men were also victimized and seduced by fame and fantasy.”

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