Whitney draws flak as Whitney Houston’s mother, Cissy Houston, slammed the makers of the new documentary over claims that the late singer was molested as a child by her cousin, Dee Dee Warwick.
The film Whitney that debuted at Cannes two months ago featured sexual abuse claims made by Whitney’s long-time assistant Mary Jones.
Mary says in the film that Whitney confided in her that as a child she was sexually abused by Dee Dee. Whitney’s brother Gary also alleges in the film that he was molested by Dee Dee between the ages of seven and nine.
Cissy, in a leading entertainment magazine, slammed the filmmakers for spreading rumours, innuendo and hearsay.
Cissy told People magazine although the film is marketed as a Houston Family approved/endorsed project, neither her son, Michael, Dionne (Dee Dee’s sister) nor she knew of the allegations of abuse, a direction the film would take, until two days before the screening at Cannes on May 16.
“To begin we want to state clearly that the horror of what victims of sexual abuse experience is unimaginable. We make no attempt to minimize the pain, the trauma and perhaps lifelong damage to the psyche of abuse victims. By this statement we do not intend to defend, condone or excuse the crime of molestation.
“We cannot, however, overstate the shock and horror we feel and the difficulty we have believing that my niece Dee Dee Warwick molested two of my three children,” she said in a statement to the publication.
She said she does not agree with the “invasive” theme of the documentary that because Whitney was a “public person”, people have the right to know anything and everything about her.
“She was a famous person, a singer, an actress, a quiet but generous philanthropist. She wasn’t running for office, asking for money or trying to win the right to run anyone’s life. Her job does not entitle the ‘public’ to know every intimate detail of her life beyond what she herself revealed during her lifetime,” Cissy said.
Cissy said, Whitney was open about her struggle with drugs, the interventions, her daughter Krissi and issues in her marriage, but “she never PUBLICLY spoke about her father’s stealing from her or revealed any claim that she had been molested”.
“IF she was molested I do not believe she would have wanted it to be revealed for the first time to thousands, maybe millions of people in a film,” she added.
She shot down Mary’s claims, saying if she was Whitney’s “close confidante”, it would seem she chose to betray her daughter’s “confidence by publicizing rumors and hearsay”.
Talking about Dee Dee, she said, “Dee Dee may have had her personal challenges but the idea that she would have molested my children is overwhelming and for us unfathomable... When I was away... In all the years I traveled Dee Dee, who was 21 years older than Whitney, NEVER BABYSAT for them.”
Cissy added it was disheartening to see how her daughter was unfairly being painted “a victim”.
“She made mistakes and in the last few years... She faced challenges in her life, exacerbated by fame, divorce and family issues but she was not a victim,” she said.
(With PTI inputs)