Once a staunch defender of Michael Jackson, Corey Feldman said this week that he can no longer defend the late music icon after the allegations that came out about him in the HBO documentary Leaving Neverland.
The former child star said that although he was friends with Jackson, he doesn't feel comfortable defending him anymore.
Feldman, 47, appeared on CNN's Headline News to clarify comments he made Monday criticizing Leaving Neverland for being one-sided.
Sharing that this has been "a very emotional time for me," Feldman explained his tweets from earlier in the week by asking "people to put themselves in my shoes."
"You're a kid who has endured sexual abuse and during those times, I'm looking to somebody like Michael Jackson as a friend, as a big brother figure. And he was that person to me,” he said. “However, as you’re friends with this guy, all of a sudden you start to hear more and more accusations thrown around by various people.”
“It comes to a point where as an advocate for victims, as an advocate for changing the statutes of limitations to make sure victims’ voices are heard, it becomes impossible for me to remain virtuous and not at least consider what’s being said and not listen to what the victims are saying,” he shared, adding that it’s “very important” to “consider all sides of this, even as uncomfortable as that might be.”
The Lost Boys star claimed in his 2013 memoir, Coreyography, that he and fellow child actor Corey Haim, who died in 2010, were sexually abused by people in the industry when they were underage. The Los Angeles Police Department looked into the claims after Feldman filed a report in 2017, but the case was dropped due to statute of limitations.
“I don’t want to be perceived as I’m here to defend Michael Jackson, because I can no longer do that. I can not in good consciousness defend anyone who’s being accused of such horrendous things,” he said. “But at the same time, I’m also not here to judge him, because again, he did not do those things to me and that was not my experience.”
Feldman apologized to anyone who took his tweets "out of context" and thought the actor was questioning "the validity of the victims."
He added that while he "watched the first part" of Leaving Neverland, "to be honest with you, it was very emotional, it was very painful, and I couldn't watch all of it."
He said that accusations against Jackson were "shocking and disturbing, there's nothing else that can be said of it."
Later, on Twitter, Feldman wrote that the CNN interview was the "HARDEST INTERVIEW I HAVE EVER DONE" and added that this heart is "WITH ALL VICTIMS, & THE CHILDREN OF MJ WHO R ALSO VICTIMS IN ALL OF THIS."
Jackson's children, Prince Michael, 22, Paris, 20, and "Blanket," who now goes by Bigi, 17, have not directly addressed the documentary.
In a tweet that was since deleted, Jackson slammed a tabloid report saying she believes her father is innocent.
"I actually haven't made any statements yet, especially regarding how it affects my work life," she tweeted, according to Entertainment Tonight. "You guys are reaching a bit. At least this wasn't a disgusting and attacking article though."
Later, in a tweet that remains on her account, she wrote, "Y'all take my life more seriously than I do. Calm yo tittaaaaysss."0comments
Leaving Neverland details allegations of sexual abuse leveled against Jackson, featuring interviews with accusers James Safechuk and Wade Robson, both of whom said they were sexually abused by Jackson starting when they were children. They claim they engaged in sexual relationships with Jackson that started when they were 10 and 7 years old, respectively.
The special has been controversial, with Jackson's family repeatedly slamming it since its premiere at Sundance Film Festival in Utah. The Jackson estate also filed a $100 million lawsuit against HBO, calling the film "unvetted propaganda to shamelessly exploit an innocent man no longer here to defend himself."