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Diana Ross defends Michael Jackson, wants critics to ‘stop in the name of love’

(L-R): Diana Ross and Michael Jackson. Tony Barson/FilmMagic

Musical icon Diana Ross is attracting attention for remarks about Michael Jackson, weighing in on the sexual abuse allegations made against the singer.

In the HBO documentary Leaving Neverland, Jackson was accused by Wade Robson and James Safechuck of molesting them when they were children.

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Michael Jackson accusers open up about their alleged experiences on CBS

Over the weekend Ross, who had a close relationship with Jackson since he was a child, took to Twitter to write, “This is what’s on my heart this morning. I believe and trust that Michael Jackson was and is A magnificent incredible force to me and to many others.”

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Diana Ross & Michael Jackson at the American Music Awards (Photo by Barry King/WireImage).

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“STOP IN THE NAME OF LOVE,” she wrote, referencing the Supremes’ chart-topping hit.

As Jackson’s close friend and mentor, Ross’ comments have been met with mixed responses on social media. Some say she’s cancelled and some say she knew the late king of pop better than a lot of other people.

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Also attracting attention for remarks about Jackson was Barbra Streisand. She elaborated Saturday on her highly criticized remarks about Jackson, saying that she feels “nothing but sympathy” for the men accusing the late star of sexually molesting them.

Streisand said: “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.”

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Paris Jackson vaguely defends father Michael in reaction to HBO’s ‘Leaving Neverland’

The superstar of music, stage and screen made her statement after coming under withering criticism on social media for telling a British newspaper that two men who say they were abused as children by Jackson were “thrilled to be there” and that the alleged abuse “didn’t kill them.”

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Deep into a wide-ranging interview with the Times of London, Streisand was quoted as saying she “absolutely” believed the accusers, Robson and Safechuck, who make their allegations in the recent HBO documentary Leaving Neverland.

READ MORE: Barbra Streisand apologizes after appearing to defend Michael Jackson’s ‘sexual needs’

But she also raised eyebrows by saying Jackson’s “sexual needs were his sexual needs.”

In an emailed statement Saturday, Streisand said: “The stories these two young men shared were painful to hear, and I feel nothing but sympathy for them.”

She added a note of implicit criticism of the boys’ parents: “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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Jermaine Jackson speaks out against ‘Leaving Neverland’ documentary

Jackson’s estate has condemned the HBO documentary. Jackson, who died in 2009, was found not guilty in 2005 of charges he molested a 13-year-old boy.

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In the Times of London interview, which covered a range of issues, Streisand was asked about the documentary, which she called “too painful.”

She said that Jackson, when she met him, was “very sweet, very childlike.” Asked how she reconciled that man with the one portrayed in the documentary, she replied: “His sexual needs were his sexual needs, coming from whatever childhood he has or whatever DNA he has. 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.”

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Asked by the Times whether she was angry at Jackson, Streisand said: “It’s a combination of feelings. 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.”

The director of Leaving Neverland, Dan Reed, took to Twitter and wrote of Streisand’s last quote: “Did you really say that?!”

— With files from the Associated Press

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