"I can not in good consciousness defend anyone who’s being accused of such horrendous things,” Corey Feldman said during a new interview
Although Corey Feldman was friends with Michael Jackson, the former child star says that in wake of the allegations made against the late singer in the new documentary Leaving Neverland, he can no longer defend Jackson.
On Wednesday, Feldman appeared on CNN’s Headline News to further clarify comments he made on Monday afternoon — after HBO had aired the first part of the bombshell documentary, but before airing the second — in which he criticized the film, calling it one-sided.
Sharing that this has been “a very emotional time for me,” Feldman, 47, began explaining his earlier tweets 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 former Lost Boys star claimed in his 2013 memoir, Coreyography, that he and fellow child actor Corey Haim, who died in 2010, had been sexually abused by people in the industry. Although the Los Angeles Police Department looked into the claims after Feldman filed them in 2017, the case was dropped due to the expired statute of limitations.
Feldman, who insisted that “absolutely nothing inappropriate ever happened” between him and Jackson, went on to share that although he can no longer defend the pop star, he doesn’t want to judge him either.
“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.”
Continuing, Feldman apologized to anybody who took his earlier tweets “out of context” and assumed the actor was questioning “the validity of the victims.”
Speaking of Leaving Neverland, Feldman admitted that although he “watched the first part, to be honest with you, it was very emotional, it was very painful, and I couldn’t watch all of it.”
Asked to speak to the allegations made in the film, Feldman said the accusations were “shocking and disturbing, there’s nothing else that can be said of it.”
Speaking about the interview on Twitter, Feldman went on to call it the “HARDEST INTERVIEW I HAVE EVER DONE,” adding that his heart is “WITH ALL VICTIMS, & THE CHILDREN OF MJ WHO ALSO R VICTIMS IN ALL OF THIS.”
The late pop star’s children — Prince Michael, 22, Paris, 20, and 17-year-old “Blanket,” who now goes by Bigi — have yet to directly address the documentary. On Wednesday, a source told PEOPLE that Paris — who has been open about the lasting impact her father made on her life — “hasn’t seen” the explosive documentary.
Feldman first shared his feelings about the documentary in a lengthy series of tweets on Monday afternoon.
“#Neverland OK I WATCHED IT ALL I KNOW IS WHAT I EXPERIENCED, & YES EVERY EXPERIENCE WAS THE SAME….RIGHT UP 2 THE SEX PART! THAT IS WHERE IT BECOMES LALA LAND, INSTEAD OF NEVERLAND 4 ME,” he said. “WE NEVER SPOKE ABOUT SEX OTHER THAN A FEW WARNINGS ABOUT HOW SEX WAS SCARY, & DANGEROUS. MJ NEVER ONCE SWORE IN MY PRESENCE, NEVER TOUCHED ME INAPPROPRIATELY, 7& NEVER EVER SUGGESTED WE SHOULD BE LOVERS IN ANY WAY!”
Adding that he was not present at the same time as Wade Robson and James Safechuck, the two Jackson accusers featured in the doc, Feldman said he is still friends with many children who say Jackson never acted inappropriately with them.
“SO AS MUCH AS THOSE 2 MEN DESERVE 2 HAV THEIR VOICES HEARD, SO DO THE THOUSANDS OF KIDS WHO HUNG AROUND HIM THAT DON’T AGREE!” he continued, adding, “MOST PEDOS R SERIAL OFFENDERS. THEY DON’T HAV SELF CONTROL. SO GIVEN THE OPPORTUNITY WHICH HE CERTAINLY HAD W ME & OTHERS, BEING ALONE, W NO PARENTS AROUND, HOW DID HE CONTROL THOSE URGES SO WELL, WHILE SO BLATANTLY SEXUAL W THOSE 2 BOYS? IT DOESNT REALLY FIT THE PROFILE.”
He went on to share that what he really took issue with is “THE FACT THAT THIS WHOLE THING IS 1 SIDED W NO CHANGE OF A DEFENSE FROM A DEAD MAN, & NO EVIDENCE OTHER THAN THE WORLD OF 2 MEN WHO AS ADULTS DEFENDED HIM IN COURT!”
“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” he added.
Feldman went on to clarify his tweets in a statement provided to CNN on Tuesday.
“I want to be very clear. I stand for any and all victims of sexual abuse or assault,” he said. “As a survivor and someone who has been fighting for this to become a focal topic of our society for decades and is fighting diligently to abolish the statutes of limitations across the country, I applaud all victims for letting their voices be heard and I encourage the public debate to continue.”
He also reiterated that Jackson’s accusers deserve to be heard in an interview with the New York Post‘s Page Six which was also published on Tuesday.
“I am not saying they are lying. I wasn’t there,” Feldman said. “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.”
“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,” he continued, before adding that he was wary of making too quick of a pronouncement. “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 backup.”
RELATED VIDEO: Inside Michael Jackson’s 2005 Molestation Trial — and Why He Was Found Not Guilty
The two-part, four-hour-long documentary was filmed by Dan Reed and premiered at the 2019 Sundance Film Festival last month. It includes intimate interviews with Robson and Safechuck both of their mothers, their wives and Robson’s siblings.
Robson and Safechuck had both denied being molested by Michael in the past. Robson, too, previously appeared as a witness for Michael’s defense during a sexual abuse trial in 2005 in which the pop star was acquitted of child molestation charges.
“This is yet another lurid production in an outrageous and pathetic attempt to exploit and cash in on Michael Jackson,” the Jackson estate said in a statement in January.
In late February, two co-executors of Michael’s estate and Optimum Productions sued HBO and its parent company, Time Warner, for $100 million, claiming that airing the two-part film would violate a non-disparagement clause, according to court documents obtained by PEOPLE. “Michael Jackson is innocent. Period,” the lawsuit says in part.
The lawsuit didn’t stop HBO from going ahead with the project, which the network addressed in a statement: “Despite the desperate lengths taken to undermine the film, our plans remain unchanged. HBO will move forward with the airing of Leaving Neverland, the two-part documentary, on March 3 and 4. This will allow everyone the opportunity to assess the film and the claims in it for themselves.”
Parts one and two of Leaving Neverland are now streaming on HBO.