For years, actor and former child star Corey Feldman has been warning anybody who would listen that Hollywood is a place where adults have more inappropriate contact with children than probably anywhere else in the world.
So it’s unsurprising given the renewed focus on sexual assault and harassment brought about by the Harvey Weinstein scandal that Feldman’s accusations would receive renewed attention, considering he made the media rounds as recently as 2016 to talk about how a pedophile ring in Hollywood abused him and his friend, fellow actor Corey Haim – actions Feldman blames for Haim’s eventual death from a drug overdose.
And yesterday, he returned to the “Today” show and, during an interview with Matt Lauer vowed to release the names of six men who he alleges participated in the abuse of himself, Haim and other young stars. The interview followed Feldman’s announcement in a YouTube video last week that he was launching an Indiegogo page to try and raise money for a feature film about pedophilia in Hollywood that he hopes to direct. However, as Lauer pointed out, Feldman’s target budget – $10 million – appears lofty. But the former child star appears determined to tell his story the way he wants it to be told.
Here’s an excerpt from his interview:
LAUER: “Why are you talking to me? Why aren’t you talking to the police right now?”
FELDMAN: “I told the police. In fact if anyone wants to go back to 1993, when I was interviewed by the Santa Barbara Police Department. I sat there and gave them the names. They are on record. They have all of this information, but they were scanning Michael Jackson. All they cared about was trying about to find something on Michael Jackson.”
LAUER: “Who you said, by the way, did not abuse you.”
FELDMAN: “Who Michael was innocent. And that was what the interview was about with the pollice in 1993. I told them, he is not that guy. And they said, maybe you don’t understand your friend. And I said, no, I know the difference between pedophiles and somebody that is not a pedophile because I have been molested. Here’s the names, go investigate. And let me push this forward, there are thousands of people in Hollywood that have the same information. Why is it all on me? Why is it, if I don’t release the names in the next two months, six months or a year, I’m the bad guy. I’m the victim here. I’m the one who has been abused. I’m the one who is trying to come forward and do something about it.”
LAUER: “But —“ [crosstalk]
FELDMAN: “Please, I’m sorry. There are thousands of people out there, Matt, who have this information. Any one of those child actors that went to the teenage soda pop clubs with me when I was a kid, know who those people are and the people who ran it. Anybody can go back through history and look at the Teen magazines and say what was the name of that venue they were promoting and who ran that venue own who endorsed it.”
LAUER: “You said you have death threats because you have this information.”
LAUER: “And have threatened to expose it. Another reason I think to go to police. That’s a crime to threaten someone’s life.”
FELDMAN: “I’ve gone to the police with that, as well.”
LAUER: “And what would be wrong about going to the police now again? Didn’t work out in Santa Barbara.”
FELDMAN: “There’s a statute of limitations, Matt, in the state of Claifornia which protects people. It’s not that way in New York. It’s that way only where the movie industry is, conveniently enough in California. That’s the seriousness of this. You cannot. Because if I were to go to the police, I would be he one who’s getting sued. Henceforth, I need a team of lawyers and I need a team of security to be around me at all times, to keep me safe so I can get this message done.”
LAUER: “Really, really quickly.”
FELDMAN: “I’m not playing around. It’s serious stuff. I vow I will release every name that I have any knowledge of, period. And nobody’s going to stop me this time, as long as people support this.”
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Of course, legal problems stemming from sexual-harassment or -assault allegations are a major problem for Hollywood’s victims, as the Weinstein scandal helped to expose. Yet Feldman, who starred in 1980s classics like “Stand By Me” and “The Goonies”, is wrong about the California statute of limitations on sexual abuse cases – it was thrown out late last year by Gov. Jerry Brown. Still, it’s not altogether unreasonable – particularly for somebody who is not accustomed to having his allegations taken seriously – for Feldman to be afraid of legal repercussions of outing powerful pedophiles.
But after simmering on the backburner for years, the levee of public outrage over pedophilia in Hollywood could very well be about to break. Case in point: Over the weekend, actor Anthony Rapp – famous for his roles in “Rent” and “Dazed and Confused” – accused actor Kevin Spacey of molesting him when he was 14. In an unprecedented development, Netflix cancelled Spacey’s show House of Cards, and the actor has suffered tremendous reputational damage that could threaten his ability to find work.
In the shuffle of the Weinstein allegations, some have pointed out that Bryan Singer, who directed the X-Men movies and other mega-budget blockbusters, has been repeatedly accused of pedophilia, has been able to easily find work despite the stigma. Two lawsuits alleging abuse by Singer were eventually dismissed, but actors have continued to single him out.
Regardless of whether Feldman ever comes forward, it appears Hollywood is finally being forced to acknowledge that both men and women are subjected to sexual abuse and coercion, though perhaps not in the same numbers.