Sheryl Crow believes that Michael Jackson was surrounded by enablers who turned a blind eye toward allegations of sexual abuse.
The "Leaving Las Vegas" singer was a backup singer during Michael's Bad Tour from 1987 to 1989.
MJ had long been the focus of sexual abuse speculation, and allegations were renewed earlier this year when HBO aired its "Leaving Neverland" documentary in which two men, James Safechuck and Wade Robson, claimed to have been sexually molested by Michael while they were children.
"I happened to turn on CNN the morning after the first half [of the documentary] aired, and they showed clips of the young man who was on the Jackson tour with us and it made me … I mean, I still feel really … " she told The Guardian while grasping for words. "It's like a death in the family, you know? It's sad. [James Safechuck] was a great kid and the whole time he was with us – which was the better half of an 18-month tour – I always wondered, 'What in the world are his parents doing?', you know?"
In the documentary, James' mother said she regrets letting her son go on tour with Michael.
Sheryl, still struggling to find the right words, said, "I think that there were a lot of exceptions made because of the damage that [Jackson] … I mean, he didn't intentionally project it, but it was part of his aura – this almost being untouchable and almost alien-like [figure]. And, yeah, I mean, I'm sad, and I'm mad at a lot of people."
"I feel like there was just a huge network of people that allowed all that to go on. It's just tragic," she added.
Although Sheryl was on tour with Michael, she said she never got particularly close with him.
"I think he actually did not know my name for quite a long while," she said.
Asked if she ever had contact with him after she left the tour and became a star in her own right, Sheryl said, "Never. I saw him at the Grammys and I don't think he ever put together [who I was]."