Barbra Streisand, once a “Funny Girl” and not so “Funny Lady,” now channeling Che Guevara (see her appearance at the Oscars), does not understand apologies. Her apology regarding her bizarre remarks about Michael Jackson and the documentary, “Leaving Neverland,” were an act of moral disengagement, not remorse, “I am profoundly sorry for any pain or misunderstanding I caused by not choosing my words more carefully about Michael Jackson and his actions.”
Choosing your words carefully? Ms. Streisand said that the boys in the documentary who spoke of their molestation (something a bit more than actions) were at least not killed by what happened. Ah, escaping death is the measure for appropriate conduct. Then there was the passing judgment on the parents — their fault for allowing the kids to stay overnight. And the kids? Well, in Ms. Streisand’s mind and words, they were “thrilled” to be with them.
An apology means that you are sorry for what you said because it was wrong. You are not sorry for misunderstandings that resulted. You say you were wrong in what you said because “deep remorse” is not possible unless and until you acknowledge the errors. Saying you did not choose your words carefully does not address content.
Meanwhile, Diana Ross is tweeting her song titles to end the conversation, “STOP IN THE NAME OF LOVE.” It is not clear that halting discussion of what these men say happened to them as young boys in Mr. Jackson’s home is a resolution. The failure to review whether the criminal justice system and we as a society responded appropriately at the time awards an escape from the uncomfortable introspection we need to do. Ms. Streisand and Ms. Ross surely understand, as women who have portrayed victims of injustice, that films serve as a force of reckoning, review, and change. Denial and plugging our ears while humming tunes from the Supremes do not get at the issue of pedophilia and what we are doing or perhaps not doing to address it.