US music icon Barbra Streisand has been at the centre of controversy in recent days, as reports of her making homophobic comments about scenes in HBO’s upcoming movie The Normal Heart have arisen in American media.

The film, which was funded and directed by Glee’s Ryan Murphy as well as produced by Hollywood superstar Brad Pitt, focuses on the AIDS epidemic that swept through the US gay community throughout the 1980s and the influence that has had on the fight against HIV and AIDS today.

During a recent interview with The New York Times, Larry Kramer, who is the author of The Normal Heart and a long time campaigner against AIDS, stated that Streisand appeared to be repulsed by the film’s focus on gay sex after purchasing the production rights in the mid 1980s.

“I said, ‘I really think it’s important that after eons of watching men and women make love in the movies, it’s time to see two men do so’,” said Mr Kramer.

“I bought her a book of very beautiful art pictures of two men making love, and she found it very distasteful.”

However, in a media release soon afterwards, Streisand stated that Mr Kramer’s comments didn’t represent her feelings about the LGBTI community and the fight against AIDS since the 1980s at all.

“Larry was at the forefront of this battle and, God love him, he’s still fighting,” she said.

“But there’s no need to fight me by misrepresenting my feelings. As a filmmaker, I have always looked for new and exciting ways to do love scenes, whether they’re about heterosexuals or homosexuals. It’s a matter of taste, not gender.”

Streisand also stated that it had always been her intention for the film to promote the idea of everyone’s right to love, regardless of their sexuality.

“I was trying to reach a large audience, and I wanted them to root for these two men to get married.”

Highlighting the feud between herself and Kramer, Streisand stated in an opinion piece for The Hollywood Reporter last month that she had worked excessively towards getting The Normal Heart produced throughout her involvement with the project in the past 28 years.

“I tried very hard to get it made, but when it became clear that we couldn’t raise the money to do it as a film due to the controversial nature of the material, I thought, ‘All right, we’ll do it on TV’,” she wrote.

“At least it would reach a wide audience. But HBO would only pay Larry $250,000 for the rights, and he would not let it go forward for anything less than $1,000,000, and no company was willing to move on it.”

The Normal Heart will be premiere this week on HBO in the US. A broadcast date for Australia is yet to be confirmed.

Watch the trailer:

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