‘AN OPEN SECRET’
Why Didn’t Anyone Listen to Corey Feldman’s Warnings About Pedophilia in Hollywood?
For years, the former child actor’s allegations have fallen on deaf ears.
Former child star Corey Feldman is crowdsourcing $10 million for a film that promises to out a network of Hollywood pedophiles, a sick ring that the 46-year-old insists “thousands” of industry insiders are well aware of. In the wake of the Harvey Weinstein revelations, there’s been a push to bring what The Daily Beast’s Ira Madison called “Hollywood’s other ‘open secret’” to light, and Feldman is leading the charge.
Earlier this week, The Goonies and Stand by Me star published a series of tweets alluding to pedophilia allegations he has made in the past, writing:
“4 THE RECORD: I WILL NOT B GOING ON A TALK SHOW 2 DISCLOSE NAMES OF MY ABUSER OR ANY1 ELSES ABUSERS. SO PLEASE STOP ASKING ME 2 DO SO. THE PRACTICE OF SENSATIONALIZING THIS TOPIC WITH NO PLAN OF ACTION OR PROTECTION 4 MY FAMILY, WOULD PROVE FRUITLESS! I HAV BEEN THRU ENOUGH ALREADY OVER THIS! MY CAREER WAS SHUT DOWN, I HAVE BEEN MOCKED & SHAMED 4 DOING WHAT I HAVE DONE 2 THIS POINT! I WOULD LOVE 2 C OTHERS COME FORWARD AS THERE R MANY OTHER WITNESSES 2 THE CRIMES I HAVE ADDRESSED. STILL NOT 1 OF MY PEERS HAS OFFERED UP ANYTHING IN A DECADE! THAT SAID I AM WORKING ON A PLAN THAT MAY B A WAY FORWARD 2 SHED SOME LITE ON THIS SITUATION! IF I CAN FIGURE OUT A WAY 2 GET ACTUAL JUSTICE.”
Feldman detailed this plan in a Wednesday YouTube video.
In the seven-minute plea to potential donors, the actor frames his project as “a plan that I believe can literally change the entertainment system as we know it. I believe that I can also bring down potentially a pedophile ring that I’ve been aware of since I was a child… Right off the bat I can name six names—one of them who is still very powerful today, and a story that links all the way up to a studio. It connects pedophilia to one of the major studios.”
“I propose to do this by making a film that will be the most honest and true depiction of child abuse ever portrayed by telling you my own story in a very real way,” Feldman explained. “I will make the film, direct it, produce it and I will self-distribute it to guarantee that it gets a theatrical release with your donations. Additionally it will help me buy the security and the legal team that I need to help my family until the project is released. Once it’s done, I believe we can revolutionize the film industry in such a way that we can root out the evil and make it safe for our kids again.”
Throughout the video, Feldman references the backlash that he’s experienced from speaking out—the fear, the shame, and the silence. For years, Feldman, without the cachet of a major star, has made futile attempts to expose Hollywood abusers from the fringes. These damning allegations have been in turns ignored and actively silenced.
On a 2011 episode of Nightline, Feldman insisted that, “the No. 1 problem in Hollywood was and is and always will be pedophilia,” concluding, “That’s the biggest problem for children in this industry... It’s the big secret.”
That shocking interview came a year after Feldman’s close friend and fellow child actor Corey Haim died of pneumonia at 38. In his 2013 memoir Coreyography, Feldman divulged that an 11-year-old Haim was sexually assaulted on a movie set. Feldman wrote, “Haim started to confide in me, about some intensely personal stuff, very quickly... Within hours of our first meeting, we found ourselves talking about Lucas, the film he made in the summer of 1985, the role I had wanted for myself. At some point during the filming, he explained, an adult male convinced him that it was perfectly normal for older men and younger boys in the business to have sexual relations, that it was what all the ‘guys do.’ So, they walked off to a secluded area between two trailers, during a lunch break for the cast and crew, and Haim, innocent and ambitious as he was, allowed himself to be sodomized.”
During his Nightline interview, Feldman said that, “There’s one person to blame in the death of Corey Haim. And that person happens to be a Hollywood mogul. And that person needs to be exposed, but, unfortunately, I can’t be the one to do it,” explaining that he believed Haim’s subsequent struggle with addiction could be traced back to his childhood abuse. Feldman elaborated on his reticence to name Haim’s abuser in his memoir, disclosing, “You can’t go around publicly accusing industry titans without expecting to find yourself in the middle of a nasty lawsuit… to say nothing of the potential threat to my career, as well as to the personal safety of myself and my son.”
In a Hollywood Reporter interview last year, Feldman noted, “With me, there were some molestations, and it did come from several hands, so to speak, but with Corey, his was direct rape, whereas mine was not actual rape.”
Feldman hasn’t just been vocal with the media about the sexual abuse he suffered as a child. According to a 1993 clip that was obtained by RadarOnline, a 22-year-old Feldman told Santa Barbara sheriffs that he was molested and even named his abusers. The recording occurred when Feldman was questioned by police about his close relationship with Michael Jackson. In the interview, the actor insists that Jackson did not act inappropriately toward him, offering that “I myself was molested” and naming names. When a Twitter user asked him in 2013 why he didn’t report his abusers, Feldman responded, “All names were given to police before statute had run out but they did zero.”
Feldman also seems to have been dismissed during a disturbing appearance on The View in 2013 that’s recently been making the internet rounds. In the clip, Feldman is discussing his influential abusers, claiming, “There are people that did this to both me and Corey that are still working, they’re still out there and they’re some of the richest most powerful people in this business… They do not want me saying what I’m saying right now.” Host Barbara Walters appears to admonish Feldman over his impassioned statement, angrily remarking, “You’re damaging an entire industry.”
In 2016, Feldman’s story briefly captured the public’s attention when Elijah Wood gave an interview to The Sunday Times, revealing that many of his young peers had been “preyed upon” by child molesters. Feldman corroborated Wood’s accusation, saying, “Ask anybody in our group of kids at that time: They were passing us back and forth to each other.” Feldman also insisted that, “If somebody came forward with a suit against one of these people [who molested me], I would certainly be more than happy to back them up,” explaining, “If I were to go and mention anybody’s name, I would be the one that would be in legal problems and I’m the one that would be sued.”
Wood later claimed that his comments were inspired by the documentary An Open Secret. In the 2015 film, director Amy Berg used the testimonies of several ex-child actors to paint a damning picture of an industry in which abusers appear to regularly get away with it. Feldman appears in the film in archival footage, detailing the systemic problem that he’s spent much of his life attempting to shed light on. “This film could be the start to show people there’s a problem in Hollywood,” said one former child actor who was interviewed in the film, alleging that he was abused by his ex-manager Marty Weiss for six years. Producer Gabe Hoffman recently put the documentary on Vimeo for free viewing “to commemorate serial predator Harvey Weinstein finally being exposed.”
Despite its buzzy subject matter and solid reviews, An Open Secret is still seeking digital distribution. “We haven’t got any offers from major distributors yet because Hollywood doesn’t want to expose its dirty laundry, so we’ve been sitting on this for a while. Now, we want to celebrate the brave women who have exposed Harvey,” said Hoffman, adding, “Harvey Weinstein, by the way, is not the only one who has used confidentiality settlements. That’s why more of Hollywood’s behavior hasn’t been exposed. This is the tip of the iceberg.”