UPDATED: Actor Corey Feldman appeared on television Thursday to clarify his previous remarks on Michael Jackson, saying he watched the first half of “Leaving Neverland” and found the documentary “shocking and disturbing.” “I don’t want to be perceived as I’m here to defend Michael Jackson, because I can no longer do that,” he said on Headline News. “I cannot in good consciousness defend anyone who’s being accused of such horrendous crimes.”
Referring to criticism of his earlier social media posts by other victims’ advocates, Feldman said, “I certainly want to apologize if anybody took anything that I said out of context in those tweets, because it certainly wasn’t meant in any way to question the validity of the victims.” He said he found the documentary’s two alleged victims to have “very compelling stories. And both of these guys sound very believable, because they are talking about a cycle that’s called grooming. And the grooming process certainly fits the mold, and that’s why this case must be taken seriously — that’s why all cases must be taken seriously.”
But, added Feldman, who was a frequent companion of Jackson’s in his early teens and says nothing inappropriate happened, “All that said, as I’m watching it I’m thinking this doesn’t make sense to me, that this isn’t the guy that I knew. But look, I’m a guy that at 14 years old was molested, did have a pedophile completely lie to me about who he was; I trusted him, I believed in him as a friend and I thought he was a good person, and then he molested me. So it all proves that I’m not the best judge, and that’s why I shouldn’t be the judge in this situation, especially given the fact that I’m so close to him.”
Feldman, who is making his own documentary about sexual abuse, added, “My issue when I wrote those tweets was with the way that the documentary laid it out. Because as a filmmaker I was making a judgment in the sense that I know that to stay journalistically proper, to stay true to form, we must investigate all sides. So I know certainly, to have credence in my own film, we are going above and beyond to make sure that we reach out to the people that we are accusing, and also to people that knew those people. …. Thank God they’re doing this and getting it out there. All I can say is I wish it had happened while Michael was alive so that he could have been in trial and faced it and defended himself. That can’t happen today, so I don’t know where this leads. But I do know that it’s important that we keep talking and keep hearing the voice of each victim.
PREVIOUSLY: As a storm of controversy swirls around HBO’s documentary “Leaving Neverland” — in which two men, Wade Robson and James Safechuck, allege that Michael Jackson sexually abused them when they were boys — former child actor Corey Feldman posted a series of tweets Monday in which he insists the late singer “never touched me inappropriately” during their friendship.
The two became friendly before Feldman had reached his teens. “All i know is what I experienced, & yes every experience was the same….right up 2 the sex part!,” he writes. “That is where it becomes lala land, instead of neverland 4 me. We never spoke about sex other than a few warnings about how sex was scary, & dangerous… [He] never once swore in my presence, never touched me inappropriately, & never ever suggested we should be lovers in any way! I feel like if ppl could hear our convos they would hear the innocence in them. No hint of perversion. I hav a tape, im thinkin about releasing, which could… giv ppl a real look @ what a 30 yr old man/child & a 13 yr old boy would discuss, so every1 could hear the innocence of r relationship. Again i wasnt there when those boys were. But i was there around the same time as jimmy, & i saw many kids around (girls included) who i am… Still friends with 2 this day, & none of us were ever approached by him in a sexual way at all! So as much as those 2 men deserve 2 hav their voices heard, so do the thousands of kids who hung around him, that dont agree!”
Feldman, who says he was sexually abused as a child and is currently an ambassador for the organization Child USA, does criticize the documentary as being one-sided, as have many viewers: It presents only the perspective of the two men and their families.
“However I do take issue with the fact that 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!” he wrote. “But as we will never really know, I only hav my memories. And thank God 4 me, my memories of MJ were mostly fond, aside from R 1 & only fight because he incorrectly feared I would turn on him, & make up lies. I never did. I never would! I pray those boys can sleep w that same clarity of consciousness! let God b thy judge!”
The Jackson Estate has filed a $100 million lawsuit against HBO over the documentary and issued several aggressively worded statements against it since the film premiered at Sundance in January, as have several Jackson family members. In an attempt to distract fans from the documentuary, the second part of which airs tonight, the estate posted a pair of long-form videos of Jackson concerts on YouTube “for a limited time,” the first of which, “Live in Bucharest (The Dangerous Tour),” was itself a veiled dig at HBO: It originally aired as a concert special on HBO in 1992, and it is at the center of the estate’s lawsuit, which claims “Leaving Neverland” violates a non-disparagement clause in the contract over the broadcast rights to the Bucharest concert.
Read Feldman’s full post below.