Corey Feldman Wants to Expose Hollywood’s Darkest Secrets. Why Isn’t Anybody Listening?
O ut in the leafy suburbs of Woodland Hills, California, in an OK house in an OK neighborhood, the actor Corey Feldman is wandering around, saying he soon might name the name of the man he says raped his like-a-brother best friend and frequent co-star, the late Corey Haim, back in 1985. He’s been talking about naming this name for more than seven years now. But each time, Feldman has shied away at the last minute, citing lawsuit fears, further ostracism and derailment of a career already off the tracks, and possible physical harm to him and his family.
He sucks on a nicotine-filled vape, exhales a plume, drops his head a little and says, “I mean, I’ve had my life threatened twice in the last six months.”
His wife of two years, a tall blonde named Courtney, nods. “People want to kill him. They don’t want what he has to say to come out.”
“I can tell you that the number-one problem in Hollywood was and is . . . pedophilia,” Feldman says, as he often has. “That’s the biggest problem for children in this industry. It’s the big secret.”
One possible, obvious reason for the keeping and hiding of this big secret: No one really wants to hear about children and rape if it involves the nation’s number-one source of escapist entertainment. In 2013, Feldman went on The View to talk about how the pedophile numbers are larger than anybody knows and include a ring reaching up into the Hollywood elite that’s been shielded for years by the establishment. Barbara Walters looked at him with disbelief, hands clasped across her belly, and snarled, “You’re damaging an entire industry,” as if to say that Hollywood itself was more valuable than the wrecked lives of a few youngsters.
And then there’s HBO’s Leaving Neverland, in which two men allege that Michael Jackson, who was one of Feldman’s closest friends growing up, abused them when they were kids. Feldman has always said Jackson never touched him inappropriately, and at times he seemed to be defending Jackson against accusers. After watching the first half of the documentary, he tweeted, “This whole thing is 1 sided w no chance of a defense from a dead man, & no evidence other than the word of 2 men who as adults defended him in court.” This led to a barrage of criticism on social media, however, and, a few days later, a clarification from Feldman, who went on CNN to say, “I cannot in good conscience defend anyone who’s being accused of such horrendous crimes. But at the same time, I’m also not here to judge him, because, again, he didn’t do those things to me and that was not my experience.”
“I watched it with my wife and son,” he says now. “It caused me to have concerns. It’s the standard grooming process that they describe. Everything was similar [to what happened to me] up until the sexual part. Everything. He bought me gifts, a Watchman TV, a gold watch from Disneyland. So was he grooming me and I just never ended up being his pick? Or was that just who he was? That’s the fucking thing. We’ll never know. But I would have been exactly his type. I was cute, short and blond. You know?”
About what allegedly happened to Corey Haim, though, Feldman has no doubts. “Not one,” he says — much to the unending dismay of Haim’s mother, Judy, who says her son was never raped by anyone and that Feldman is saying it happened only be cause he’s still jealous of her boy’s success, and that he’s using Haim’s name to scam the public out of crowd-funded money for a movie about industry pedophiles that’ll never get made.
“He’s desperately trying to destroy my son’s history, his image, his memory,” says Haim. “It’s a very deep jealousy thing, that my son always got first billing. I’m sick of him, dragging my son’s name through the mud for nine years. I mean, how shameful. The guy’s a liar. The guy’s sick. OK?”
To combat Feldman, she and her supporters, and there are quite a few of them, have formed an online gang that’s come to be known as the Wolfpack. They produce YouTube videos with titles like “You Lowlife Feldman You Have Gone Too Far This Time” and send out tweets saying, “If longing to see @Corey_Feldman get gang raped in prison is wrong, I don’t want to be right,” and “I personally will never stop until CF is in prison or mental institution at best.”
Right now, Feldman is standing in his living room, while a bunch of recent arrivals busy themselves unpacking cameras, monitors and light-reflecting umbrellas. He’s 47 but doesn’t look much different than the impish, thin-lipped, wisecracking kid who became one of the mid-1980s’ most bankable teen faces, in still-beloved movies like The Goonies, Stand by Me and The Lost Boys. And when he smiles, you can still see that kid in there, somewhere, but you also see a poster boy for the age-old perils of teen stardom, and a story that turned tragic for his pal Haim, who died in 2010, at the age of 38, from complications arising from pneumonia after a lifetime spent struggling against the various addictions that Feldman says he himself managed to kick for good in 1995.
Walking through the foyer into a back room (video-game machine, jukebox, dartboard, vibrating easy chair), he’s still thinking about the Wolfpack.
“They’re plotting against me,” he says. “There’s been an assault charge pending against me, a labor-board charge, things that are ruining my life. They’re trying to get my kid taken away. All this is what I’m up against. These are the stakes. I am fighting for my life. But I’m tired of being victimized and blackmailed. That’s why I’m fighting back.”
Which is what the film crew is about. He’s producing a documentary titled Truth: The Rape of Two Coreys, about the two industry men who allegedly molested him at the age of 14 and about the A-lister and others who allegedly raped or molested his best friend. “We’ve got about seven [people] who were told firsthand that this person raped Corey,” Feldman says, “and they’re all being interviewed.”
Feldman’s going to sit before the cameras, too, to talk about what he claims Haim told him on the day they first met, when both were 14, and Haim was trying to convince Feldman, a virgin at the time, that they should mess around, that “this is what all boys do. It’s called the boys’ club, and this is totally normal” — all words that Haim said he’d once been told. Feldman asked by whom. Haim told him, and, according to Feldman, went on to describe his alleged rape in ugly, explicit detail. Says Feldman, “When a kid tells you something as a way to arouse you — when he’s sitting there with a hard-on, trying to hook up with a guy — you don’t immediately go, ‘Where’d this come from?’ It wasn’t like he just was, ‘Hey, man, you know what happened to me?’ But the line he used, ‘I’m not gay, but I was taught this by other guys in the business’ — how do you question that?”
According to Feldman, Haim swore him to secrecy, only to reconsider 23 years later and beg Feldman to tell his story should he die first. “Nobody knows what it feels like to constantly console somebody whose life has been ruined by rape.” Feldman says today, “unless you’ve been there, holding them when they cry, bringing them back to life over and over, stopping them from walking around with a knife.”
He pauses, then continues, “I didn’t ask for this. I didn’t ask to tell his story. I didn’t ask for any of it.”
If ever there was an imperfect messenger for attempting to take down pedophiles in Hollywood, Feldman might be it. He has an untidy past that can’t help but follow him everywhere and a present that seems to do him no favors either. By the time he was 19, he’d been arrested three times for heroin. He liked coke, too, along with weed, mushrooms, alcohol, crack, Quaaludes and acid. Then, during his post-youth-star decline, he started settling for insta-flop movies like Meatballs 4 (1992), Lipstick Camera (1994) and Citizen Toxie: The Toxic Avenger IV (2000). By that time, he’d been clean for five years, but Hollywood had already written him off, except when it wanted to make him look like an idiot, as it did on the WB reality series The Surreal Life, in 2003, and Celebrity Wife Swap, in 2015.
“I’m never going to escape it,” he once said, morosely.
Left to his own devices, however, Feldman does stuff that is ill-considered at best and often just plain weird. Earlier this decade, he used to throw parties at his house (“the Feldmansion”) featuring a gaggle of girls called Corey’s Angels, which regular Joes could attend for $250, with the hot-tub experience going for $500 and the cabana for $2,500. Vice reported on two of them and made them look like thoroughly unappealing, sparsely attended, grisly affairs. Then there’s his lunatic 2016 performance of a song called “Go 4 It” on the Today show. As usual, his all-girl backup band, the self-same Corey’s Angels, sported wings and halos. Feldman himself wore some kind of bizarre pitch-black monk’s hood and danced this fitfully spasmodic, histrionic thingamajiggy, complete with twerking. It went viral, with an explosion of Twitter-led ridicule that was so brutal Feldman felt called upon to post a video response.
“We did the best that we could,” he said. “And, like, I’ve never had such mean things said about me…. Public shaming should not be accepted, no matter who you are.” And then he wept.
So, clearly he may never be able to display the gravitas of, say, Ashley Judd, who helped kickstart the MeToo movement. Nor does he have much in the way of industry clout. But he’s nothing if not dogged in his pursuit of ways to get his message out, even though, so far, it’s been one disappointment after another. He wanted to name names in his 2013 memoir, Coreyography, but the publisher, St. Martin’s Press, nixed the idea, for obvious legal reasons. He hoped for better with Lifetime’s 2018 biopic, A Tale of Two Coreys, but again events were sanitized. Looking for independence, he decided to crowd-fund his own feature film, $10 million being his goal, saying it would “literally change the entertainment system as we know it,” but it was branded a scam and fell apart at the $273,000 mark. The main complaint: that it looked like he wanted the $10 million as a reward for naming names. His response: To name names when the statute of limitations is long gone is to invite lawsuits stretching to the horizon.
For all that, he’s looking pretty good these days. He usually presents himself noon-ish — since bedtime is usually three-ish — clean-shaven and spruce, favoring pegged jodhpurs, clunky tennis shoes and a baseball cap worn backward — and, if he’s going out, in one of his pants pockets, a Taser, “one of the hardcore ones,” he says, meaningfully. Seems you can never be too careful. Last year, despite the presence of a mammoth security guard named Jeff, Feldman was allegedly attacked in his car by a hoodlum who ripped open the door and, he says, plunged something like a needle into his abdomen, injecting Lord knows what, which led to an emergency-room visit, lots of snickering from social media doubting Thomases who thought he’d pulled a hoax, and the addition of bentonite clay to some of his health shakes, to hopefully siphon off any new toxins in his system. The police seemed to have viewed whatever happened as a random road-rage incident, while Feldman continues to maintain it was a directed attack, though even he acknowledged that, at worst, he ended up with “the world’s smallest knife wound.”
Also, sometimes he’ll hide a tiny video camera somewhere on his body and record conversations with those he’s unsure of. He’s a little paranoid like that, perhaps not unreasonably so. As he says, “People constantly break your trust and use it against you. It’s very emotionally battering. I’m an intelligent person, but there’s something about me that’s very naive. I don’t understand a lot of the world still. But I am trying to get better at protecting myself.”
His cellphone beeps. He reads a text, groans, shakes his head and says, “What the fuck. Shit. Goddamn it.”
As of a few days ago, he had about 10 people willing to go before the cameras and tell what Haim had told them about his alleged rape. Feldman was psyched. Finally, it wouldn’t just be him speaking out. “Holy jackpot,” he said. “We’re fucking gold!”
But one by one they’ve been thinking twice. This latest backpedaler gave as a reason receiving a death threat on Twitter. “Corey, I feel terrible that I’m disappointing you,” she texted him. “I’m not being a flake, I’m just simply very frightened.”
Feldman rolls his eyes and snorts. “Oh, well, then, yeah, I totally understand backing out of your obligations. Like, what am I doing this all for if nobody is going to stand with me? That’s what made the Weinstein situation work. Everybody stood together!”
At the moment, lots of things do seem to be going sour. The Wolfpack, in particular, seems to have gotten under his skin. They call him “numb nuts” and predict he will soon die “from suicide or drug overdose.” They talk of blitzed-out sex orgies at the Feldmansion. They are constantly churning out YouTube videos and podcasts — mostly made by a self-proclaimed activist named Bobby Wolfe, hence the Wolfpack name — that make him look like a sicko at best. They come up with unsubstantiated allegations that almost instantly get trumpeted around the internet as fact and use them to try to, for instance, get Child USA to drop Feldman as one of its ambassadors or else they’ll call for a boycott on donations. It goes on and on, and Feldman sees the hand of Judy Haim guiding it all.
One day last summer, he dropped by the office of one of his lawyers, Perry Wander, who’s also represented Lindsay Lohan and Warren Beatty, and started talking about the Wolfpack.
“There’s an entire conspiracy that’s been formed of at least 30 people who are working under the guidance of her,” Feldman said. “Look, it’s a group of people put together by one person.”
That’s his latest theory: Judy Haim was paid to put together an anti-Feldman cabal and ruin him. (“This is the most ludicrous thing I’ve ever heard,” says Judy Haim.)
Wander sighed and said, “No. They’re put together by a woman who is protecting her son’s memory.”
“By saying he was never raped, which is a lie,” Feldman said. “How does that protect his legacy, anyhow? The legacy is the kid shows up on drugs all the time. The kid got fired all the time. The kid was seen as the train wreck of Hollywood. How does explaining to people why he was that way ruin his legacy? It’s the exact opposite. It shows people it wasn’t his fault. He was a victim and screwed up in the head because of what happened to him. And that’s why he would wake up in the ICU.”
Wander leaned forward. “I don’t think there’s a deeper grief than a parent losing a child, and I can see how a woman grieving over that loss could go overboard. Personally, I think you ought to take the high road and say, ‘This is a mother grieving.’ ”
Feldman’s eyes widened. “She’s trying to have my kid taken away! They’re making false assault charges against me. They’re trying to say I drugged girls and molested them. [Judy Haim denies it all.] Trying to ruin my marriage. She’s trying to make Corey Feldman look like a liar! Like a bad guy! When actually I’m a morally upstanding citizen who has never done anything to anyone.”
Later, on the street, Feldman shook his head and said, “I don’t think Perry understands the scope of what I’m dealing with.”
And sometimes it seems like Feldman doesn’t really understand the scope of what he’s dealing with either. Or the degree to which he seems obsessed. Or how odd it sounds when he talks about himself in the third person. But onward he plows.
In their prime, after The Lost Boys partnered them up, in 1987, he and Haim became known nationwide as the Two Coreys. They cruised in black limos together, hung out together at Alphy’s Soda Pop Club (for underage industry kids), snorted coke together, appeared in each other’s movies, had sex with each other’s girlfriends (or at least Haim did), saw their movie paydays plummet out of the stratosphere, sold CD collections on street corners for drugs (or at least Feldman did), and started a hotline for kids, with Haim sometimes giving advice about drugs while bombed. A young Claire Danes once dialed in.
Even so, they got into spats, most often over Haim’s continued drug use once Feldman cleaned himself up in 1995, and they didn’t see each other for months at a time. They reunited for a final time in 2008, for the Two Coreys reality show on Lifetime. Anything went except for one thing: the abuse they suffered as kids. But on the first episode of the second season, Haim let it rip about a hanger-on named Dominick Brascia. “You let me get fucked around in my life, man,” he hissed at Feldman. “Raped, so to speak, when I was about 14 and a half, and I’m saying this right now, by the guy you still hang out with, and [you] tell me, I’m 14 and a half, to take responsibility. You know exactly what I’m talking about. What’d you do, man, when you saw that going down when I was 14? You knew about it. Besides being his best friend. What’d you do? Fuck-all is what you did, man. Lines of cocaine with me. God bless you.”
Feldman looked blindsided and didn’t even try to rebut Haim’s accusations. How could he? He did introduce Haim to Brascia. (Brascia denied the allegation and died in 2018.) And he didn’t do anything once he knew what happened. And he did bring coke into Haim’s life, along with acid and heroin. But he was 14 too — a peer, not a parent.
“At the end of the day, how are these things another kid’s fault?” Feldman says now. “How is it a 14-year-old’s job to raise another 14-year-old? I was growing up myself. He was left unsupervised in a world of sleazeballs. He was an innocent child, I was an innocent child, and it was our parents’ job to protect us from the adult world.” And they didn’t, quite obviously.
Feldman grew up in Woodland Hills, a neighborhood in the San Fernando Valley. His father was a half-baked musician and mostly absent. According to Coreyography, his former-Playboy-Club-Bunny mother, Sheila, on the other hand, viewed her son as her own personal meal ticket after he was cast in a McDonald’s ad at age three. Soon enough, according to his memoir, he’d appeared in more than 100 commercials and 50 TV shows, with his mother force-feeding him diet pills to keep his weight down and beating him with a fist if he messed up on set. (His mother has denied it all.)
Then, starting when he was 14, came the alleged sexual abuse. First guy was an assistant, a small-time actor named Jon Grissom, who was hired by his father and who did prison time for child molestation in 2003. Feldman says the abuse went on for more than a year. He also claims, as he confirmed on The Dr. Oz Show, that the guy who ran the Soda Pop Club, Alphy Hoffman, molested him. (Grissom and Hoffman could not be reached for comment.)
“These men were circling around me,” Feldman says. “Me and my best friend were surrounded, being tossed back and forth between them without our knowledge, and it was just horrendous. . . . [Abuse] involves conditioning a child and grooming them and getting them ready for the days that they’re going to be molested. It involves putting people in place to make sure a kid is surrounded by only pedophiles.”
“It was the gossip back in the Eighties,” former Little House on the Prairie star Alison Arngrim once remembered. “People said, ‘Oh, yeah, the Coreys, everyone’s had them.’ People talked about it like it was not a big deal. . . . I literally heard that they were ‘passed around.’ The word was that they were given drugs and being used for sex. It was awful — these were kids. . . . There were all sorts of stories about everyone . . . that these two had been sexually abused.”
Some three decades later, however, Feldman’s claiming that the names he will soon reveal are or have been of Hollywood movers and shakers, A-listers and influencers, studio heads and the like, and that his revelations “can literally change the entertainment system as we know it, and I believe that I can also bring down potentially a pedophile ring that I’ve been aware of since I was a child. Right off the bat, I can name six names, one of them who is still very powerful today. [It’s] a story that links all the way up to a studio [and] connects pedophilia to one of the major studios.” The abusers on his list, however, are small-potato has-beens and hanger-ons, and the one big guy isn’t that big anymore.
This doesn’t mean that studio heavies couldn’t be involved in one way or another. According to Matthew Valentinas, an entertainment lawyer who co-produced the astounding and oddly ignored 2015 documentary about Hollywood pedophiles, An Open Secret, “They exist. They are there. There is no doubt about it.”
The idea of protecting child actors does get a lot of lip service in Hollywood these days. Take the 2012 California state law called the Child Performer Protection Act. It requires publicists, managers, acting coaches and head-shot photographers who work with child actors to be fingerprinted and have their names entered into a searchable database, but it’s not really enforced and never has been.
As a result, more kids are being put at risk than otherwise might be, with more victims being left to deal with the repercussions. The average age of coming to grips with childhood molestation and being ready to talk about it? According to Child USA, it’s 52.
At home, his wife, Courtney, is in the kitchen, juicing blood oranges and preparing lunch for the crew and her husband, who is falling deep into a moment of despair. He knows how Hollywood works, especially when it comes to anything that might disrupt business.
“What am I doing this for? So that everybody can ignore me, so that everybody in Hollywood can once again turn their backs on me and laugh at me and go ha-ha-ha? We need to prove that there is an orchestrated movement to silence me.”
Courtney starts up a blender.
“Maybe Hollywood realizes that they kicked me to the curb for nothing,” Feldman says. “And hopefully they embrace what I’m doing and say about that other guy, ‘You know what? This is a big sore at the bottom of our leg and we need to just amputate.’ Or they could go, ‘Well, we see all of the evidence, and, you know, screw you.’ Once this is out, I’m assuming millions of people are gonna see it. It’s gonna be everywhere, you know, no matter what happens.”
He looks around, like he’s waiting for someone to agree with him about this rosy scenario in which ultimately, probably, at least in his mind, he is restored to some semblance of his former teen-movie-star glory.
About six months later, Truth: The Rape of Two Coreys is almost done, with Feldman still making the rounds looking for a distribution deal and an infusion of cash so he and his cameras can afford to go confront Judy Haim in Canada and take on Corey Haim’s alleged rapist in Los Angeles, to give them a chance to respond to the movie’s charges.
His initial big hope had been Netflix; he talked to people there in early December. Pass. In mid-January, he went to Sundance and talked up Truth. Again, nothing. Later that month, he spoke with Lifetime, which did the 2018 Two Coreys movie, as well as the recent documentary Surviving R. Kelly. But no deal. “The fact that they passed was shocking,” Feldman says.
Meanwhile, he also says he’s getting poorer by the minute. “It’s fucking scary,” he says. “But at the same time, I have faith. I have faith that I’m supposed to complete my mission.” And what about the Wolfpack? “All they’re really doing is protecting a pedophile, and once the film comes out, they’re going to look just as foolish as all those rabid Michael Jackson fans who sit there and, you know, yell and scream and curse at people that say he might be guilty.”
He insists it’s only a matter of days until a deal gets made. He’s been saying that for months now, however. It could happen, of course. Feldman’s a persistent guy. He’s not going to give up. But no matter his intentions or his words, or if, in fact, the public ever has a chance to see his movie, it does seem like a fight that, for him, may never and will never actually come to an end.
Editor’s note: After this story was published, a Feldman representative told Rolling Stone: “Corey just signed a deal with a company who is financing finishing touches of production and will be handling worldwide distribution. It is projected that the release of the film will take place in the fourth quarter of this year.”