Whitney Houston's mother has officially responded to the claims that the singer was molested by her cousin as a child.
The claims surfaced in the documentary Whitney, which debuted at the Cannes Film Festival in May, and has gone on to wide release in theaters in recent weeks.
In the film, Mary Jones — the late singer's longtime assistant alleges that she Whitney was molested by her cousin Dee Dee Warwick — the sister of singer Dionne Warwick. Notably, Whitney's brother Gary Houston also alleged that Dee Dee molested him as well.
Whitney's mother, Cissy Houston, has now released a statement about the accusations, speaking on behalf of herself and Dionne.
"My niece Dionne Warwick and I make this statement to raise our voices above the din surrounding the release of the film, Whitney," the statement begins. "Although the film is marketed as a Houston Family approved/endorsed project, neither my son, Michael, Dionne nor I knew of the allegations of abuse, the direction the film would take, until two days before the screening at Cannes."
"We cannot...overstate the shock and horror we feel and the difficulty we have believing that my niece Dee Dee Warwick (Dionne’s sister) molested two of my three children," Cissy adds.
The statement goes on to chide the filmmakers for allowing the "public" to "know every intimate detail of her life beyond what she herself revealed during her lifetime."
"Although she spoke about her struggle with drugs, the interventions, her daughter Krissi and issues in her marriage, she never PUBLICLY spoke about her father’s stealing from her or revealed any claim that she had been molested," the statement continues. "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."
The statement also attempts to discredit Jones, saying that "it would seem she chose to betray Whitney’s confidence by publicizing rumors and hearsay."
"In any case Dionne, Michael and I do not know her the way we knew and loved Dee Dee Warwick. Dee Dee may have had her personal challenges but the idea that she would have molested my children is overwhelming and for us unfathomable," Cissy says. "We cannot reconcile the Public’s need to know about Whitney’s life as justification for invasion of her privacy or the charge against Dee Dee, a charge which neither Whitney nor Dee Dee is here to deny, refute or affirm."
"Neither I, Dionne, nor my son Michael who was very close to his sister, and in the film is VERY candid about their drug use, has ever heard these allegations; we have never heard anything remotely connected to the crimes charged against Dee Dee in the film," the statement asserts.0comments
In closing, Cissy says that she is "heartbroken that despite all she accomplished fans and haters alike are left with the notion that she lived her life as a victim," adding, "While the filmmakers certainly had the legal right to make this film, I wonder at the moral right."