A recent interview with Elijah Wood has reignited the conversation on pedophilia in the entertainment business. The Lord of the Rings star later clarified first to The Hollywood Reporterand then on his personal Twitter account that his comments about "something major ... going on in Hollywood" were based not on his own experiences and observations but rather on news reports and the 2015 documentary film An Open Secret.
But another former child actor — Corey Feldman, star of such iconic 1980s movies as The Goonies, Stand By Me and The Lost Boys — was not so lucky. In past interviews, his A&E reality series The Two Coreys and his 2013 memoir, Coreyography, Feldman has detailed how he was preyed upon by men in the industry. His own experiences were not as nightmarish as what befell his Two Coreys costar, the late Canadian actor Corey Haim. Haim was just 11 when, Feldman says, a man raped him on a movie set. (Haim died in 2010 at age 38 after years of drug addiction.)
Speaking now exclusively to The Hollywood Reporter, Feldman opens up about missing Haim, addresses the "dark side" of pal Michael Jackson that led to their estrangement, and warns of the "growing, not shrinking" dangers of internet-era child predators in Hollywood, a place "where adults have more direct and inappropriate connection with children than probably anywhere else in the world."
Corey Feldman through the years:
Your time as a child actor was a very damaging period and those kinds of traumas stick with you for your entire life. What is your state of mind now?
I'm a very balanced, very happy man. I enjoy my life, I'm very grateful for it and I'm grateful for the elements around my life. I have a great child and I have a great girlfriend, a nice house, a nice car and a good career. But I had to go through a lot of therapy and group therapy and rehabilitation and all sorts of things to be put on this ground that I'm on now.
A lot of this played out on your show, The Two Coreys. We know that Corey Haim obviously had a very tragic end and it sounds like he had a lot harder time with child predators as he became a star.
He had more direct abuse than I did. 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. And his also occurred when he was 11. My son is 11 now and I can't even begin to fathom the idea of something like that happening to him. It would destroy his whole being. As I look at my son, a sweet, innocent, 11-year-old boy and then try to put him in Corey Haim's shoes, I go, "Oh my God — well of course he was erratic and not well-behaved on sets and things like that." What more could we expect of him really? Everybody deals with things differently.
You met going up for the same parts and quickly became best friends. So were the same men preying on both of you?
Let's just say it this way: I know every single person that interfered with his life and he knew every person that interfered with mine.
What level were these people? Were they studio heads, were they low-rent producers?
I'm not able to name names. People are frustrated, people are angry, they want to know how is this happening and they want answers and they turn to me and they say, "Why don't you be a man and stand up and name names and stop hiding and being a coward?" I have to deal with that, which is not pleasant, especially given the fact that I would love to name names. I'd love to be the first to do it. But unfortunately California conveniently enough has a statute of limitations that prevents that from happening. Because 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. We should be talking to the district attorneys and the lawmakers in California, especially because this is where the entertainment industry is and this is a place where adults have more direct and inappropriate connection with children than probably anywhere else in the world.
A judge ruled today that Bill Cosby will stand trial for sexual assault charges. Many of these women that have come out against him have been past the statute of limitations.
But they're not all past the statute of limitations, because other states don't have the same statutes. So supposed crimes took place in various states over great lengths of time. Some would still fall within the statute, obviously, that's how they are able to start charges against him.
But there are others that are not; they're just telling their truth.
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. But that hasn't happened.
Are these people still working in Hollywood?
One of them is. He's still prominently in the business today.
And have you ever confronted him yourself or run into him?
We've run into each other many times but no, I've never confronted him.
Do you think this problem — adult males in the entertainment industry preying on young boys behind closed doors — still persists to the same extent in the current age of Instagram and Twitter, with everything being so much more open?
Oh, absolutely. It's more now than ever because nowadays you can use the internet to create fake profiles and fake accounts. They reach out to little kids on Twitter, they reach out to little kids on Facebook, and they say, "I'm a big producer and I can help you." With social media we have more access than ever to everybody. It's a growing problem, not a shrinking problem.
An Open Secret details the men behind Digital Entertainment Network, who threw huge Hollywood parties where boys were being raped at gunpoint and being forced to do cocaine. Was that your experience — that they hunted in packs, so to speak?
Yes. I believe that Haim's rapist was probably connected to something bigger and that is probably how he has remained protected for all these years. This person uses intimidation and threats as a way to keep people quiet. And all these men were all friends. Ask anybody in our group of kids at that time: They were passing us back and forth to each other. [Alison Arngrim] from Little House on the Prairie said [in an interview], "Everybody knew that the two Coreys were just being passed around." Like it was something people joked about on studio lots. We're not talking about huge executives and directors that I am aware of that were involved in this. The people that I knew doing it were publicists, they were photographers for teen magazines, things like that.
What did they do?
They would throw these parties where you'd walk in and it would be mostly kids and there would be a handful of adult men. They would also be at the film awards and children's charity functions.
What were the ages of the kids at these parties?
The range was usually 10 to 16. The lure for kids is that they work in adult world. All of their friends become adults and they very rarely get to interact with other kids, especially because they don't go to school. So unless you happen to be on a movie like Goonies, where there are seven kids, for the most part you find yourself being the only kid on the set. You don't get that interaction, which you crave so badly. So when somebody approaches you and says, "Hey, this is a Hollywood party where you get to hang out with the powerful people in Hollywood," well that sounds like a great opportunity.
Was there alcohol at these parties?
I'm sure there was but I didn't drink alcohol so I don't think I was looking for that.
Boys and girls?
Boys and girls, yes.
And they're being molested or raped at these parties?
I didn't say that but I'm saying that's —
You're saying they're groomed?
Exactly, that's the networking and that's when you become pals with them and you get their phone numbers and you get their mom's phone numbers and the next thing you know they talk to the moms and say, "Hey, I want to take Corey out to an event, this would be great for him, let me pick him up and take him." And they turn that power over right away to the publicist or the photographers.
Elijah Wood said that his mother wouldn't let him go to parties and that's why he avoided these experiences.
But in your case you didn't have that protection.
Part of the time I was living with my mom and she was letting me go to the parties. And then the other part of the time was with my dad and those people were actually coming over to my apartment. There's a picture in my book at my 15th birthday party. My father had the party at his office, which was a management company directly across the street from his apartment. One of the guys, the main guy who molested me, he actually was an employee of my father's. My father hired this man and this man coaxed me into trying every single drug that I ever tried. He says, "Hey I'm going to be your best friend, I'll take you to Disneyland, I'll take you to the Comedy Store." He was my assistant, my driver, my chaperone, and also basically my guardian.
Did you tell your father what was going on?
As a child you don't really do that. My parents were both very abusive and very selfish and were more interested in what was happening with themselves than what was happening with my life. My manager father sued me for $40,000 when I tried to get emancipated, his reasoning being that he was taking time away from his business to be on the set with me.
Let me ask you about Michael Jackson. These kinds of allegations followed him to his death. You guys were very close. Where do you stand on the matter now?
It's in my book. Nothing is going to change on that because there is no new evidence. The man is gone. Let him rest in peace.
For anyone who has not read your book, please restate what you experienced with Michael Jackson?
I would prefer they read my book. But he was a friend and our relationship did not end well. We had a falling out and that was due to the fact that there was definitely a dark side to him. But that dark side in no way connected itself to pedophilia by my estimation.
He was never inappropriate with you and you don't think he was inappropriate with other boys?
Not to my knowledge.
Do you think about Corey Haim often?
Every day. He was my best friend. I miss the chemistry, I miss having my best friend. He was the only person that could make me laugh unstoppably. He had a charisma about him and a charm and a sense of humor that was unparalleled. If I would set up a joke, he would finish it; if he would set up a joke, I would finish it. That's something that you don't find really twice in a lifetime. Then all the sudden that person is just gone. It's just very, a very hard thing to accept, especially when I know he was doing so well. That's the thing that's so troubling — is that he was finally getting it together. Unfortunately his body just couldn't hold up anymore.
You worked with director Joel Schumacher on The Lost Boys. Did you enjoy it?
Joel was great. I mean, he was a high-tempered man so he did tend to raise his voice a lot, which was a bit startling for me because I was around a lot of violence and anger and things like that as a kid. But he was never violent with us or anything like that. He was a funny guy and a good guy and a great, great filmmaker. So I enjoyed the experience very much.
Do you feel he protected his actors?
I think he would have, yes. If he had known there was something going on I'm sure he would have stepped in and done whatever he could.
Was Goonies producer Steven Spielberg a father- or mentor-figure to you when you were young?
We were never that close, so I don't know that I would see him as a father figure but he was certainly a legend and a great man and he was always very kind to me and we always had a great rapport. Even recently when I've seen him, he is still the same guy. He hasn't changed. I love Steven, great guy.
What are you working on now?
My new single just came out. It's called "Go 4 It" and it's with Snoop Dogg and people are saying it's the song of the summer and it's the greatest thing they've ever heard. The fans are super excited. The actual album comes out on June 22. It's called Angelic 2 the Core.
Thank you, Corey. I appreciate you talking with me.
And thank you for taking the time and investigating this very important matter.