Corey Feldman is ready to start naming names. The former child actor says that he is now willing to identify members of a Hollywood pedophilia ring that he claims victimized him more than thirty years ago.
In a recorded statement released on October 25th, Feldman announced plans to divulge specific details—though he wants to do it his way. He intends to make a documentary film about his life. He says he will hold nothing back including the names of men whom he alleges committed heinous sex crimes against children. In order to finance the project he has started a crowdfunding site through which he hopes to raise ten million dollars.
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Some people’s reaction has been skeptical. Is this some kind of ploy to raise ten million bucks? Why can’t he seek out a reporter and tell his story for free? Those are very reasonable questions to which I would add my own—what will happen if he doesn’t get his ten million dollars? Will he allow the bad guys to get away?
I can’t answer any of these but I do believe that Corey Feldman is telling the truth. It’s clear that he has wrestled with internal demons much the same way that his deceased friend and former co-star Corey Haim did. Feldman sketched out his and Haim’s victimization in the pages of his 2013 memoir, Coreyography. In 2008 Feldman and Haim discussed their shared experience with sexual abuse in a very tense scene of their reality show, The Two Coreys. Feldman believes that Haim’s death at age 38 was the result of deep psychic pain stemming from a history of sexual abuse. As he said in a 2011 interview with ABC News, “There’s one person to blame in the death of Corey Haim. And that person happens to be a Hollywood mogul.”
Until recently Corey Feldman had maintained that identifying perpetrators was not possible for legal reasons. If he were to name the kind of wealthy, influential Hollywood people he has hinted at he would likely find himself up against the best lawyers in the business and way over his head. Of course, truth is an absolute defense against slander though proving his accusations would be difficult so many years later.
But something has changed. Corey Feldman now appears to be ready for the kind of courtroom slugfest he had previously avoided. What happened?
Feldman intimates in his video that Harvey Weinstein may have something to do with it. If an industry giant like Weinstein can fall perhaps the Hollywood machine is not invincible. Given the salacious revelations concerning Weinstein and adult women, might people be more willing to believe that similar things go on with child actors? If “everyone knew” about Harvey and his alleged crimes, what other unspeakable skeletons lurk in Hollywood closets? Anecdotal evidence says that there are plenty.
One of Hollywood’s most illustrious youth talent managers, Martin Weiss, pled no contest in 2012 to sexually abusing a child.
Bryan Singer, best known as the director of a slew of X-Men movies, has been followed throughout his career with accusations of child sexual abuse. He has been accused in three separate incidents by three different men of having abused them in their youths. In one instance he was accused of conspiring with three other very high-profile men of engaging in sex parties with boys. One of those men was David Neuman, then-president of Disney television. Singer has always been able to beat the rap, mostly through counteraccusations of “homophobia” and the services of a highly paid legal team.
Brian Peck, an actor who appeared in Singer’s X-Men 2, was found guilty of molesting a boy whom he had mentored as an acting coach. After a short prison sentence he quickly returned to children’s entertainment, working behind the scenes on Disney’s “The Suite Life of Zack and Cody.”
And just this week, actor Anthony Rapp accused Kevin Spacey of having attempted to rape him when he was 14 years old. Spacey’s explanation—that it was a long time ago and he was drunk so he can’t really recall—hasn’t seemed to wash. The Spacey affair appears to be another case of “everybody knew”—much like the Weinstein affair.
To be sure, Feldman is waking a sleeping giant. Hollywood will fight back—through lawsuits, character assassination, and blacklisting. Feldman will learn new meaning to the words “You’ll never work in this town again.” So will anyone who takes his side.
It’s this defensive reaction that convinces me more than anything that Hollywood has a problem and everyone knows it. It’s almost as if Tinseltown’s high society knows how precarious its position really is. Much like the Weinstein affair, one accusation against a powerful filmmaker might induce others who were victimized by the same person to come forward. Then accusations might fly against other filmmakers. Then other people might be accused of facilitating the abusers’ illegal behavior. The whole situation could easily spin out of control. In order to prevent an avalanche every snowflake must be dealt with harshly.
For a glimpse into how this works, recall that brief moment in 2009 when it appeared that director Roman Polanski might be returned to the United States to face punishment. Polanski, who had pled guilty in 1978 to raping a 13-year old girl, had been living outside the reach of American law enforcement in Paris for years. He was arrested in Switzerland when he made the mistake of trying to pick up a lifetime achievement award outside the safe haven he had always enjoyed in France.
Finally, the world’s most famous child rapist was going to face justice. Or would he? Very quickly, the entire transatlantic celebrity community girded for battle. Polanski’s powerful friends threw a fit, made specious legal arguments, and used every trick in the book to make sure that the elderly perv was shielded from justice. Saving Polanski’s hide became an international cause célèbre—and Swiss authorities backed down.
Actress Whoopi Goldberg commented on The View that Polanski’s crime “wasn’t rape rape”—by which she meant that it was only rape by virtue of the girl’s age. This is both irrelevant and false. The victim repeatedly said no which means that it would have constituted rape even if she had been of legal age.
Author Gore Vidal really went off the rails in his defense of his friend Roman Polanski during an interview with Atlantic Magazine. “I really don’t give a f***,” said Vidal. “Look, am I going to sit and weep every time a young hooker feels as though she’s been taken advantage of?” (Polanski’s victim was not a prostitute.)
Vidal painted his friend Polanski as the victim of anti-Semitism and, oddly enough, “homophobia”—even though Polanski is not a homosexual. “[T]here’s usually an anti-Semitic and anti-fag thing going on with the press – lots of crazy things. The idea that this girl was in her communion dress, a little angel all in white, being raped by this awful Jew, Polacko – that’s what people were calling him – well, the story is totally different now from what it was then.”
This may be the most outlandish thing I’ve heard in a while. The press adores homosexuals which might explain their constant advocacy for sexual deviance. And anti-Jew? The press only hates the religious kind. This was clearly an attempt to turn the tables, to make a child rapist into a victim worthy of our sympathy. Poor Roman Polanski. Can’t a guy rape a 13 year-old girl these days without catching a lot of flak?
Even Harvey Weinstein rode to Polanski’s rescue, circulating a petition among Hollywood elite advocating for the admitted child rapist’s release. “Whatever you think about the so-called crime, Polanski has served his time…This is the government of the United States not giving its word and recanting on a deal, and it is the government acting irresponsibly and criminally.”
He “served his time” for the “so-called” crime. Knowing what we know now about Weinstein it seems clear that Roman Polanski’s perilous situation in the fall of 2009 was making him sweat bullets. He wasn’t just protecting Polanski; he was protecting the system that protects the both of them.
This is how Hollywood works. Like a phalanx, it turns its shields outward to form what appears to be an invulnerable barrier. Not everyone in Hollywood is a sex criminal but there are enough of them—and enough others who have turned a blind eye—to make mutual defense necessary. It’s all for one and one for all—a loyalty pledge that might be admirable if it weren’t so sick.