Right up front, I’m going to cut Corey Feldman a huge amount of slack on the subject of Michael Jackson, because if you’re familiar with Feldman’s child stardom then you know that his parents basically tossed him to the wolves in that classic Hollywood style. (See: Lohan, Lindsay; Culkin, Macaulay; Brown, Millie Bobby; etc.) As a victim of sexual assault, Feldman has been sounding the alarm for years about the industry’s pedophile problem, which is still being swept under the rug. Sh*t, just look at how quickly the Bryan Singer accusations quieted down, and that’s after Esquire tried to kill the story entirely. In short, Hollywood is f*cked.
But when it comes to Jackson, Feldman has been adamant that the pop singer never molested him despite their problematic friendship. And I believe Feldman is telling the truth. I’m not gonna sit here and say, “No, Corey Feldman, Michael Jackson actually did molest you,” because pedophiles don’t assault every child in their path. It doesn’t hurt to have a few kids handy who can honestly say Jackson never did anything to them, and to Feldman’s credit, he’s correctly wondering if that was his role in this sordid sh*tshow. Which is why I’m not going to waste time rehashing Feldman’s raw reactions to Leaving Neverland from earlier in the week. Because, again, he’s obviously done some reflecting on a god-awful topic that can’t be easy to revisit, and in a refreshingly honorable move, he went on CNN Headline News and admitted he was wrong to defend Jackson.
Via Entertainment Weekly:
“I don’t want to be perceived as I’m here to defend Michael because I can no longer do that. I cannot in good consciousness defend anyone who’s being accused of such horrendous crimes, but at the same time, I’m also not here to judge him because he did not do those things to me and that was not my experience. So, therefore, my place is not to be the judge and not to be the accuser and not to be the defender, my job in this is to focus on what’s most important, which is helping to reform the statutes of limitations in every state because if we can reform the statutes of limitations, we can prevent things from ever getting to this point.”
Feldman also revealed that he couldn’t even finish Leaving Neverland because it was “very painful,” but the parts he did watch eventually caused him to reevaluate everything.
“As I’m watching it, I’m going this doesn’t make sense to me, this isn’t the guy that I knew,” he explained. “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. 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 [Michael].”
That is literally the most we can ask of Corey Feldman. He put himself in the shoes of the victims, equated it to his own experience being abused, and came out the other side ready to face the reality that the man he’s defended could very easily be capable of some horrifying sh*t. That is not an easy thing to do, which is why it’s best to let his kneejerk reactions to Leaving Neverland fly by, because it’s wrong to expect Feldman to be a perfect victim.
In the meantime, you can watch Feldman’s interview below, and for some further reading on Jackson, The Cut has a great interview with Margo Jefferson, who’s also grappling with how she handled the abuse allegations in her 2006 book On Michael Jackson.
If anyone needs me, I’ll be boarding up my Twitter mentions because Michael Jackson fans are the original stans. They might even be worse than the hordes of idiots defending Johnny Depp, but don’t quote me on that. It’s a tight race.
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