When Corey Feldman was 15 years old, he dreamed of creating a safe space for kids who had suffered sexual abuse.
The actor, now 48, was just a kid himself when he entered the entertainment industry. He earned his earliest TV credit in 1978, at age 7, appearing in a one-off episode of Eight Is Enough. Over the course of his career, the California native would go on to star in some of the most beloved films of the 1980s, including Gremlins, The Goonies, Stand By Me, and The Lost Boys.
In 2013, he published Coreyography: A Memoir, in which he let the world in on a painful secret: He had been sexually abused when he was a child star, and said his abusers were powerful men in Hollywood. He said his longtime friend and frequent costar Corey Haim, who died from pneumonia in 2010, had also been abused.
Feldman didn’t use the real names of the alleged abusers in his memoir — something he says he feels guilty about — but now he says he’s ready to expose them in his new documentary (My) Truth: The Rape of 2 Coreys.
“It’s been a tumultuous and very risky and very scary time period,” Feldman tells EW of working on the documentary, which will air as a pay-per-view title March 9 and 10 only, via the film’s website. “The last two years have been insurmountable, but I believe that with great risk comes great reward. And I believe the reward in all of this, if nothing else, will be that these guys are finally exposed. I’m hoping that what happened to [Harvey] Weinstein [will happen], that multiple victims will come forward. And as a result, these guys will finally get indictments and we can put them out of business.”
While promoting the documentary on The Dr. Oz Show in February, Feldman said in it he would name multiple people who abused him, as well as a powerful person in Hollywood who he believes raped Haim. Feldman says that by speaking out now, he hopes to help bring justice to past victims and prevent others from being preyed upon.
He refers to the downfall of Weinstein — the disgraced movie mogul who was recently convicted of rape and criminal sexual act against two women in a watershed #MeToo case — as “the first real shoe to drop” in terms of sexual abuse in Hollywood. “And we’re hoping it kind of clears the pathway for more justice and for more voices to be heard, because this is really about enabling the voice of the survivor and empowering the survivor and turning the tables. All of these years, it’s been about protecting the bad guys, and that’s the way the laws were written, unfortunately.”
Feldman has also been working as an ambassador for the nonprofit group Child USA to advocate for victim’s rights and change laws governing statutes of limitations. In October, the group scored a victory when California Governor Gavin Newsom signed Assembly Bill 218, which grants victims of childhood sexual abuse more time to report allegations and file a lawsuit. In cases where abuse was covered up, victims could also be entitled to triple the damages.
“This law sets me up for the opportunity to go after these guys, but it also sets up anybody else who has been a victim of sexual assault from any abuser in the state of California in the last 50 years,” Feldman says. “I watched what happened with the other cases, obviously I’ve been following everything very closely.”
For (My) Truth, Feldman isn’t facing the cameras alone: He’ll have the support of Haim confidantes whom the late actor is said to have entrusted with his secret. Feldman and director Brian Herzlinger decided early on that their participation would lend credibility to the allegations.
“What we did is line up several witnesses who had all heard firsthand from the victim himself,” Feldman says. “These are firsthand witnesses who got the story directly from the victim before he died. When you look at Leaving Neverland [the 2019 documentary about child sexual abuse against Michael Jackson] as an example, you’ve got the two victims but then you don’t really have anyone else corroborating their story. It was all kind of one-sided. We think we’ve done a really good job of being even-handed in showing what the argument is and what both sides have to say, but also showing the weaknesses in their argument. I think we’ve done a good job of covering the scope, and I think in doing so it’s really going to draw people to the conclusion that what we’re saying is true.”
Feldman says he’s optimistic about what his future will hold after all is said and done. He’d like to return to acting, something he says he’s not been able to do for years.
“I hope that people can finally go back and appreciate my work as an actor,” Feldman says. “That would be nice if people would start recognizing me as a real actor as opposed to this kind of joke that people have made my name into for the last few decades. That would be the respectful thing, I guess.”
Whatever happens with his acting career, he says he won’t give up his work advocating for survivors of childhood sexual abuse.
“What I really care about the most is having #KidsToo becomes a movement as well known and as utilized as #MeToo, so we can help give more victims the courage to let their voices be heard and bring their stories forward,” Feldman says. “What I would like to see happen is law reforms to continue across the country, state by state, until we abolish the statute of limitations. With the help of Child USA, I believe we can get that done.”
Feldman still dreams of building halfway houses where young survivors of abuse can find support, something he didn’t have as a kid. And even with all the challenges he’s faced, he looks back at his teenage years and thinks 15-year-old Corey Feldman would be proud of what he has accomplished.
“I’ve certainly taken my disadvantages and hopefully used them to my best assets, but we’ll find out,” he says nervously while contemplating the impending debut of his documentary. “We’ll see if any of this works. Look, there’s a distinct possibility that none of this works and that people can continue just trashing my name and abusing me and saying I’m just a terrible guy.”
Sounding more confident, he adds, “But I don’t think so, because I think we’ve really started a movement here. That’s what makes me proud. That’s what makes me feel like I’ve actually accomplished something in my life.”