Whitney Houston’s mother, Cissy Houston, responded to allegations made in the new documentary Whitney that Whitney’s cousin molested the late singer and her brother Gary.
In a statement provided to People, Cissy wrote: “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 (Dionne Warwick’s sister) molested two of my three children.”
In the documentary, Whitney’s longtime assistant Mary Jones reveals that Whitney told her she had been molested as a child by her cousin Dee Dee Warwick. Whitney’s brother Gary also shares in the film that a female family member molested him from the ages of 7 to 9 when Cissy would leave him and his siblings with relatives while she toured.
In the statement, Cissy also criticizes the filmmakers behind the estate-approved documentary for hiding the molestation claims, saying she didn’t learn about the allegations until two days before Whitney premiered at Cannes.
“How I wish I could ask Dee Dee and [Whitney] what happened, but this film distinguishes itself from the other films about her by spreading rumor, innuendo, and hearsay; leaving questions to which I’ll never have the answers.”
Even if the allegations are true, Cissy believes Whitney would not have wanted them broadcasted for millions of people.
“I’ve been told—as justification for the invasive theme of this film—that Whitney was a public person and therefore the public has a right to know any and everything about her,” Cissy wrote. “I say, no, 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.”
Dee Dee Warwick, who was 18 years older than Houston, died in 2008.
Whitney is in theaters now.