In the wake of HBO’s explosive documentary “Leaving Neverland,” child star Corey Feldman is defending his friend Michael Jackson, and saying the pop star never sexually abused him. But he adds that those claiming to be victims deserve to be heard — and places blame on the alleged victims’ parents for allowing their kids to be alone with Jackson.
“What happened with me [and Jackson] was strictly above board,” “Stand By Me” and “Goonies” star Feldman has said. “We’d be on the phone for hours. You’re talking about someone who has spent their life in the industry, who grew up in the industry and didn’t have a childhood and have friends and have sleepovers, I could relate. That was my life. We both came from abuse — abusive homes. There is not a lot of kindred minds that can connect on those levels or achieve the success he had. That was the common ground we shared.”
But Feldman — who says he was a victim of sexual abuse and has been advocating for victims — is sympathetic to Jackson accusers Wade Robson and James Safechuck, the subjects of “Leaving Neverland.” “I am not saying they are lying. I wasn’t there,” Feldman told us. “I can only go based on my experiences.” He added, “Every victim’s voice must be taken seriously and must be heard. In no way would I ever intimate that I would want them to be silenced.”
The ’80s star-turned-singer is currently advocating for a lift on statutes of limitations for victims of sex crimes.
The 47-year-old said of the accusations against the late King of Pop: “If god forbid these things were true, then there is a completely different Michael that I knew. I guess anything in the world of pedophilia is possible. All I can say is my heart goes out to both of them — and if for any reason the things are proven true, I would be in full support of them.”
But, “I have to give my personal experiences because it’s someone who was a friend to me and treated me as such,” he said. “I don’t think we can go jumping on a bandwagon without evidence. That’s why there are court cases and cross-examinations… when [Jackson] was on trial [ending in 2005], he was cleared of all the charges … I don’t think anyone can take [the allegations] lightly, but I also don’t think we should go making a judgment on information we have that’s strictly conversation without back-up.”
Feldman recalled he slept in a room with Jackson on a trip to Disneyland, but states that Jackson slept on a cot. “We had many conversations that night and again, there was nothing even remotely sexual that was alluded to,” he said. Feldman also said that Jackson showed him a “book of venereal diseases in [one of his homes] the Hideaway and warning me about being sexually active and how dangerous it is.”
Feldman also blasted the parents of the Jackson accusers, saying, “To me, the most shocking and appalling part of this whole thing are the actions and misdeeds made by the parents of both children, and the decision to allow their kids to be unaccompanied in the presence of an adult they did not know and trust.” Today, “As a father, I could not ever imagine allowing my child to go off with a grown man I did not consider as close as family without any adult supervision. Not even Michael Jackson. It comes down to trading your kids out for an opportunity, and making them the focus of your financial interests, as opposed to the child’s wellbeing.”
In the two-part, four-hour film, Robson and Safechuck detail years of alleged abuse by Jackson as kids during long-running relationships with the singer in the ’80s and ’90s.
But Jackson’s family has called the film a “public lynching,” and the estate of Jackson has filed a lawsuit alleging that HBO breached a pre-existing contract not to disparage the star by airing the film. Jackson’s nephew Taj Jackson has said via Twitter: “I’ve been around my uncle only thousands and thousands of hours. And since my uncle is not here to defend himself, the credibility of the accusers matter. And Wade and James have none.”