Last week, 1980s child star Corey Feldman announced he would start naming names — revealing the men who he alleges molested him and other young Hollywood actors — but only once he raises $10 million to create a feature film that will be the “most honest and true depiction of child abuse ever portrayed.”
Blowback followed, especially because he said that at least one of the men is still powerful in Hollywood. While Feldman spends time raising money and making a movie, could this person still be abusing children? That’s a concern for, among others, the mother of the late Corey Haim, who Feldman claims was raped at 11.
On Monday morning, before Feldman appeared on “Today,” Matt Lauer read a statement from Judy Haim, who told NBC News that if Feldman decides to expose abusers now “for the sake of more victims, I’ll be 100 percent behind that. But if he’s waiting to release the names in the movie, I don’t support that. He doesn’t need $10 million to do it.”
Both Lauer and Megyn Kelly talked to Feldman during interviews that got heated at times. During the Kelly interview, Feldman revealed one name — talent manager Marty Weiss — although he said he had already revealed Weiss’s identity in his 2013 memoir, “Coreyography.” He hinted at another person, as well, saying it was a man who ran “a child’s club in Hollywood” and now works for the Los Angeles Dodgers.
Lauer began the interview asking Feldman how prevalent this kind of abuse is in the movie industry. Feldman responded that the Harvey Weinstein scandal is just the tip of the iceberg.
“It’s going to continue unraveling,” he said. “Everything you’re seeing is building up to what I believe is a dam breaking open.”
The interview then got contentious, especially when Lauer said, “In all fairness, though, we’ve been down this road before with you, and you have promised in the past to name names.”
“Never,” Feldman replied.
“When you were talking about your book, you said you were going to blow the lid off this,” Lauer countered.
Feldman claimed that his publisher forced him to leave out allegations against specific people, “which is why I’m taking the matter into my own hands,” he said. “And this is why I need America’s support. I need the world’s support.”
“Why do you need $10 million?” Lauer interrupted. “Film students make movies for fractions…”
“That’s a film student,” Feldman cut in. “We’re talking about a theatrical release.”
Lauer then brought up the point that Feldman’s Indiegogo campaign has brought in less than $200,000 of its $10 million goal.
“You just told me that this is still prevalent in Hollywood, so every day you wait, every day you try to raise money, I would imagine, you believe children are still being abused by pedophiles in Hollywood,” Lauer said. “So why are you sitting down talking to me? Why aren’t you sitting down talking to the police right now?”
According to Feldman, he gave all the names to Santa Barbara police in 1993 when they questioned him about Michael Jackson, who, Feldman maintains, never abused him. (Kelly said later in the program that NBC reached out to the police department but hadn’t heard back.) The reason Feldman won’t go to the police now, he said, is because the statute of limitations has expired.
“And let me push this forward,” Feldman said. “There are thousands of people in Hollywood who 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’s been abused. I’m the one who’s trying to come forward and do something about it.”
Feldman then reminded Lauer that the only way he can get his message across safely is to hire a team of lawyers and security, which is ostensibly what part of the $10 million would pay for.
Once that happens, he promises, “I vow I will release every single name that I have knowledge of.”
Feldman then sat down with Kelly for an interview that was slightly less combative, although she did raise some additional questions about Feldman’s strategy. For example, why not just say the names right there on air? When Feldman explained that he was afraid of getting sued or having his life threatened, Kelly poked holes in his arguments.
First of all, pro bono lawyers would no doubt help him, she said. Plus, he would be safer if he revealed the perpetrators and immobilized them.
In one line of questions that took a strange turn, Feldman claimed that some of the women who accused Weinstein of abuse “got some kind of upside” — the ones who received settlements to stay silent about the sexual abuse. Feldman said these women took money to help their careers, but Kelly disagreed.
“I think they took a deal because they felt helpless. They didn’t know what to do, and this was the only measure of justice they felt they could get,” she said.
“I understand, but I wasn’t awarded that opportunity, and neither was my partner,” Feldman said, referring to Haim, with whom he co-starred in numerous films. “We never were given an opportunity to possibly get an upside for our victimization.”
If Feldman wanted to silence the critics who claim he’s just looking for money, he didn’t do himself any favors.
“Right now the upside is protecting other little boys,” Kelly corrected.
“Absolutely,” Feldman agreed. “Nobody says that I have to wait until the film is done. The most important thing is that I have security.”
At least when it comes to legal security, Kelly had a response for that, too.
“Truth is an absolute defense to any defamation case,” she said, “which means, if you are telling the truth, you have nothing to worry about.”