I'm a lawyer and mother of two from New Zealand. I have a passion for the written word and am interested in lots of topics (esp. Travel)!
Two years ago Corey Feldman - former '80s child and teen movie star, best known for being part of the 'two Coreys' (Feldman and Haim), published Coreography - a disturbing, tell-all memoir, which lifted the lid on rampant, hidden epidemic of paedophilia and child sexual abuse at all levels of the Hollywood movie industry.
It's not the first time Hollywood's movie moguls have stood accused of such abhorrent behaviour. Before Feldman's revelations, a string of actors and actresses, including John Travolta and Alison Arngrim (of Little House on the Prairie) have revealed abuse suffered at the hands of industry figures (or in Arngrim's case, personal abuse of a family member, but she witnessed abuse of other children in Hollywood).
But few have been as vocal as Corey Feldman in their insistence that paedophilia is Hollywood's "no 1" problem (see below for details of the revelations), and he appeared on talk shows over a period of several months repeating serious allegations of sexual abuse against himself and good friend Corey Haim (also a child actor, now deceased). At the time, many called on Feldman to reveal the names of the alleged perpetrators, but he refused to do so - citing concerns about his own safety, and lawsuits.
What were the allegations?
Many people of my generation (now in their 40s) grew up watching the 'Two Coreys' (Corey Feldman and Corey Haim) starring in blockbuster movies like 'Lucas', 'The Lost Boys', 'the Goonies', 'Dream a little Dream', and 'Licence to Drive'. They represented the fashions, the look and the 'tude of the '80s era, perhaps more than any other Hollywood duo of the times. They were brash, sexy, and unashamedly in your face. We had posters of them on our bedroom walls, and on bubblegum cards.
Little did we realise, till many years later, the private hell these two (and many of their young contemporaries like River Phoenix and McCauley Culkin) were going through at the time for the sake of their craft. It transpired that behind the cocky smiles, the two Coreys were trapped in a private nightmare of hard drugs like Cocaine and speed, and were being passed around as sexual playthings at parties and on set, by much older men in the film industry.
Reading Corey Feldman's revelations two years ago broke my heart and brought tears to my eyes. While their ambitious, starstruck parents looked the other way (or were simply oblivious), the two Coreys endured a horrific five or six years of sexual abuse by a variety of different men who purported to be their friends and protectors, and by the age of 17, both were hooked on hard drugs, and their careers on the Hollywood A-list were all but over.
While Corey Feldman managed to get clean a few years later after a stint in rehab (and has been clean since), sadly, Corey Haim never defeated his teenage demons, and after more than 20 years battling drug addiction, he succumbed to an early death at 38 of natural causes - no doubt assisted by the years of physical abuse from drugs.
The controversial Feldman autobiography reveals the following disturbing allegations:
- On the 1986 set of "Lucas," Haim told Feldman that “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 ... and the 14 year old Haim allowed himself to be sodomized;
- Haim suggested to Feldman that the two of them should 'fool around', because he thought that's what guys did;
- At a party both Coreys were at, Corey Haim was introduced to cocaine by two older men (in Feldman's book referred to as Ron Crimson and Tony Burnham). This was the beginning of Haim's ultimately devastating drug addiction;
- Feldman went on to suffer abuse himself, specifically by a man named "Ron," whom his father hired as his assistant. Ron allegedly took advantage of him after turning him onto drugs;
- The man who abused Haim on the set of “Lucas,” now “walks around, one of the most successful people in the entertainment industry, still making money hand over fist,” Feldman wrote, without naming the mogul.
It should be noted that Corey Haim's family (and his mother in particular) were very upset about what they characterised as Feldman's "betrayal" of Haim's memory in the Feldman memoir, by detailing Haim's alleged sexual abuse, which Haim cannot now verify or refute. Haim's mother stated that Haim had chosen not to speak out about these events in public. Others have applauded Feldman's bravery in shining the light on such a difficult, painful topic, and in doing so, encouraging others to come forward.
“It was the gossip back in the ‘80s. People said, ‘Oh yeah, the Coreys [Feldman, Haim], everyone’s had them.’ People talked about it like it was not a big deal…”
— Alison Arngrim - actress
How prevalent is paedophilia in Hollywood?
Feldman's allegations have raised the disturbing question of just how prevalent paedophilia is in Hollywood. Is it, in fact, Hollywood's 'No 1 problem', as Feldman claims?
One of the things that makes it difficult for people to answer this question, and to verify Feldman's claims, is that for personal reasons, he won't name names. Apparently he had intended to do so, but was then persuaded by his publisher to use pseudonyms in the book. This has led many commentators to speculate about the identity of Feldman and Haim's abusers, and many names have been tossed around on blogs, with no particular evidence in support of any of them (names will not be repeated here).
Support for Feldman's claims has come from a number of different quarters since his book was published.
'Prairie Bitch' - Alison Arngrim
Perhaps the strongest confirmation came from Alison Arngrim (who played Nellie Oleson on Little House on the Prairie in the 70s and 80s), and who published her own memoir in 2010 -'Confessions of a Prairie Bitch', in which she stated that she was sexually abused by a family member between the ages of six and nine. Arngrim is now heavily involved with PROTECT (a national organisation for the protection of children), and frequently speaks out about child abuse in Hollywood. Following publication of Feldman's memoir, Arngrim confirmed publicly that it was common knowledge in Hollywood in the '80s amongst other teen actors that the two Coreys were being passed around for sex by older men at parties (and she stated that a number of different men were involved).
Marty Weiss arrest
Further credence was quickly lent to Feldman's claims following the December 2011 arrest and child sex abuse charges against talent scout and agent, Marty Weiss, who at one point had managed both Feldman and Haim and was a friend of theirs. Weiss was charged with 8 counts of lewd conduct and sodomy against a minor, (now 18), who alleged that he had been abused between 30 and 40 times by Weiss over a three year period while he was a teenage client of the agent.
Jason James Murphy and Fernando Rivas
Although not directly connected with Corey Feldman's allegations, two further high profile Hollywood sex offenders emerged in 2011.
Jason James Murphy, casting agent, was a convicted child sex offender who has used the professional name Jason James, has helped cast numerous films with child actors, such as Cheaper By The Dozen 2 and School of Rock. Murphy was convicted of the kidnap and molestation of an eight-year-old boy in Seattle in 1996, and served five years. He moved to California in 2005, underwent a required evaluation and registered as a sex offender, but has used his shorter alias in the industry (thus being able to fly under the radar until 2011).
Even more disturbing was the case of Fernando Rivas, an award winning composer who composed the score for Sesame Street and Disney movies. He was sentenced in 2011 to 15 years in prison for creating and sharing child pornography on the internet. In one episode he photographed and videotaped a 4-year-old girl, naked and restrained, according to prosecutors.
Is staying silent a missed opportunity?
The real crux of the question is this: if Corey Feldman remains silent on the identity of his own (and Haim's) abusers, isn't he remaining complicit in the abuse in some way, and allowing it to continue unpunished?
In my view his reasons for remaining silent are entirely understandable. He fears for his own personal safety, he worries about being sued for millions in a defamation case, and he knows that his son Jet may suffer public humiliation or threats if he discloses the names of the abusers. All of these are convincing reasons to stay quiet, and yet in doing so, Feldman plays right into the hands of the abusers, who depend absolutely on this veil of silence and secrecy to be able to continue their depraved, evil behaviour with impunity. It's exactly this threat of fear, and repercussions, that keeps the abuse going year after year, decade after decade.
It's the same principle that kept the vile Jimmy Savile abusing children all around the UK for some 40 years, and he went to his grave unpunished for his crimes.
If Feldman won't stand up and be counted on this, then someone must. The memory of the wonderful, talented Corey Haim (and others like River Phoenix who may have suffered similar abuse) deserves nothing less.
John Hansen from Queensland Australia on July 04, 2019:
This was so sad to read. Such talented young actors had their lives cut short or careers and lives devastated by this abuse. I am glad Corey Feldman brought it to the fore at least so that eventually the names will be revealed and these abusers may have to pay for their crimes.
SUNSHYNE from California, US on January 16, 2017:
I loved both of the Corey's and this makes me very saddened to hear what abuse has taken place at the hands of trusted figures in their lives.
Yeah on November 28, 2016:
Look how Hollyweird votes, looney lefties. It's a cesspool of morally bankrupt lost people, they never learn. Money over morals.
Jill Moore on April 23, 2015:
An interesting and saddening hub. I was a big fan of Corey Feldman back in the Eighties (although my biggest crush was always River Phoenix). I can, sadly, well believe it. As you touch on in your Hub, the UK has been rocked by revelations of how prevalent child sexual abuse was for so many years. What is horrifying is that it appears to have been an open secret in the entertainment industry and yet no-one did anything. My own view is that no victim of child abuse should ever be forced or cajole into giving the names of their abusers unless they themselves want to. They have already been exploited and coerced - they have a right to take control over the situation however they choose to manifest that control.