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Hollywood's Other 'Open Secret' Is the Abuse of Child Actors

Ultimately, nobody can take my story away from me. And I’m going to get the truth out.
Image: Corey Feldman
Let’s be clear: I wish I was not here right now. Nathan Congleton / NBC/NBCU Photo Bank

As told to THINK editor Meredith Bennett-Smith; edited for clarity.

This was never what I wanted, to be back in the spotlight, talking about my abuse and being called a liar. But at some point, it felt like I didn’t really have a choice. In the days and weeks after the Harvey Weinstein allegations came out, I felt tremendous pressure to share my story. People knew I had been talking about abuse in Hollywood for years. People were upset. People wanted answers.

I understand that, but I also don’t have the answers. I support the women who have come forward. I'm very proud of them for having the strength to do so. That said, hopefully one day more truth will come out, and everything will be brought into the light. Because Harvey Weinstein did not abuse me or my best friend. This is a problem so much bigger than one man.

Let’s be clear: I wish I was not here right now. This is something that everybody keeps missing. They think I somehow want to be turning my life upside down. I was in the middle of a very successful tour with my band and our new album. My music, my brand — that is my life. I have spent so much time and energy on that project. I can’t emphasize this enough.

Instead, I had to stop everything. But God chooses when these things happen, not me. This was God’s choice, and God gave me a very clear message: I must stand up. I must do something. I must use my voice to call attention to this problem at this time. And when God calls, you cannot ignore that call.

Because this is an open secret, and it’s been one for a long time. The abuse of young up-and-coming actors is not new. And it’s not just boys, of course, although the abuse of boys is a lot less spoken about. People molesting women, the "casting couch" phenomenon as it were — that’s an old story. Everybody knows that exists.

But that phrase in particular is so frustrating to me. I hear it over and over again — everybody knows. People said “everybody” knew about the allegations swirling around Kevin Spacey, that all these people knew he liked young boys. But, if everybody knew about it, then why was nobody talking about it?

Image: Corey Feldman
Corey Feldman at the Young Artist Group circa 1987.Jim Smeal / WireImage

I'm very proud of Anthony Rapp for stepping up and talking about what happened to him. Thank God he did that, because I think it’s another piece of the ice that’s being chiseled away. But it’s not enough.

And so now, somehow, I’ve become the bad guy. Because I am speaking out and pushing the conversation forward. It’s all so predictable in a way. This is what happens, time and time again. The abused gets the shame, not the abuser. Everyone is attacking me when all I am trying to do is get the truth out there.

That’s where my movie comes in. As an artist, making a movie is the best way for me tell my story. If I am going to lead the charge, than I need to do it in the way that makes me most comfortable. If I don’t raise all the money I am asking for, I am still going to make the movie. This isn’t all or nothing, this is about creating the best and most honest product that I can, as seen from my perspective and no one else’s. I can tell one story — and that is my own. I can talk about the people who did this to me, and who they were connected to. I won’t talk about hearsay or anything I did not witness.

This was never about money. I don’t care about money. I’ve never been that kind of guy. And if I go out after all of this is over, and buy a private jet, you will know I am a liar. But that’s not going to happen. I've always been honest, and I've always been truthful. The fact that I am even being put in a position where I have to defend my integrity when my integrity was never questioned before, this is insanity to me.

At the end of the day, I do believe that all it takes is one person to speak out.

What I do know is that at least one of my abusers is still working, still powerful. And there are other people who are not as powerful also still working, including one guy I know of who now works for the Los Angeles Dodgers.

At the end of the day, I do believe that all it takes is one person to speak out. There’s a fear factor there — nobody wants to be the first. And I get that. I get that not everybody is going to feel comfortable putting their career and their life at risk. It’s a big deal. What I’m doing right now is scary. But I have to believe that all of those child actors who I grew up with in Hollywood who have been through the same things, that maybe this will help them.

At the very least, after I started speaking out I’ve had no less than three or four calls from child actors who grew up with me saying, “C’mon man, we all know these names.” To those people, I am calling on you to support me, to stand with me and tell the world that you know these stories are true.

Ultimately, nobody can take my story away from me. I saw what happened. I experienced what happened. I was the one who was abused and victimized.

This is my vision, and I’m going to get the truth out. All I am asking for is that the people in my line of work stand with me. In 2013, Barbara Walters said I was trying to ruin an entire industry with my allegations. Wrong. It's the exact opposite. I'm trying to save an entire industry.

Corey Feldman is an award-wining actor and singer best known for movies like "The Goonies," "The Lost Boys" and "Stand By Me." He is currently working on a new project, called "The Truth Campaign."