HBO’s Leaving Neverland provided space to two of Michael Jackson’s accusers, Wade Robson and James Safechuck, to fully share their stories documenting the alleged abuse they suffered at the hands of the pop star. And once it was released, many people—fans, friends, and family alike—took their own space to express their emotions surrounding it. Some of it was agreeable, some of it was disagreeable. None of it was pretty.
One person especially close to the late King of Pop, Ms. Diana Ross, decided to share her own thoughts. On Saturday, Ms. Ross took to Twitter to release something that had apparently been weighing on her heart.
“I believe and trust that Michael Jackson was and is a magnificent, incredible force to me and to many others,” she tweeted. No other words on whether or not she believed the victims in the documentary, but how she felt about him as a person and performer. Of course, there can be certain implications involved when you consider the timing of this expressed praise.
As The Guardian noted, the end of her tweet, “Stop in the name of love,” appeared to be a directive to those criticizing Jackson, based on the documentary (as well as a reference to her hit with The Supremes).
As I continue to grapple with my own conflicting feelings about the artist I admired and whose work I loved, I have to note one thing: the positive impact a person has on a community (or to a larger extent, pop culture) is not mutually exclusive to the negative impact they may inflict in their personal lives. I guess that’s what makes it so difficult to reconcile with that. How can someone who creates such beautiful art possibly be a monster to someone? Or how can someone who had the most beautiful relationship with me, have the most disastrous relationship with someone else? You ask yourself, “Did I ever really know them?”
The dichotomy—it’s hard to fathom, yet it happens all the time.
Barbra Streisand recently came under fire for her comments regarding Robson and Safechuck, but has since attempted to clarify and has apologized.
“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,” read Streisand’s statement, via Variety. “The stories these two young men shared were painful to hear, and I feel nothing but sympathy for them. 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.”