It’s Not Hard to Connect the Dots in Hollywood’s Culture of Abuse

Director Bryan Singer and actor Kevin Spacey in 2006. (Photo by Kevin Winter/ Getty Images.)

Over the weekend, Harry Dreyfuss, son of Richard Dreyfuss, went public with a story that involved him having his groin groped by Kevin Spacey when he was 18. The younger Dreyfuss says Spacey was so entitled when this incident occurred, he even assaulted the teen while his father, Spacey’s co-star in a play at the time, was in the room. In the years that followed, Harry Dreyfuss attempted to find some semblance of control by relaying this story with a comedic twist.

“If I could laugh at it, then surely I was not a victim,” he wrote for Buzzfeed. “That technique fell apart once I got to college and started telling the story to people in the theater world in New York. Often, they would respond by saying, ‘I know a guy that that happened to as well.’ The victims in many of these stories were often young men… As I write this, ten people, including actor Anthony Rapp, have come forward with their own allegations, which points to a pattern — Kevin Spacey is a sexual predator.”

It wasn’t just New York’s theater world that knew about Spacey’s behavior. All the way back in 2005, Family Guy — somewhat astoundingly featured a scene in which baby Stewie runs through a mall naked, shouting “Help! I’ve escaped from Kevin Spacey’s basement!” More recently, Hulu comedy Difficult People has been relentless with the Spacey references. Here’s a montage for those who haven’t been watching:

In March 2015, Gawker wrote a story, in which it stated unequivocally: “To the young men he encounters… Spacey may be one of the most aggressive and boundary-challenged players in Hollywood.”

After Anthony Rapp’s story about Spacey first emerged, Rosie O’Donnell tweeted at the actor that: “like Harvey we all knew about u” — a jaw-dropping admission that reflects a culture of silence so all-encompassing, even Rosie “regularly fights with the President” O’Donnell didn’t speak up sooner. It begs the question, if Spacey has been getting away with barely concealed predatory behavior for this long, what’s happening in the rest of Hollywood?

Corey Feldman has been trying to tell the world for an extraordinarily long time. In 2011, he told ABC News: “I can tell you that the No. 1 problem in Hollywood was and is and always will be pedophilia… I was surrounded by [pedophiles] when I was 14 years old… They were everywhere… There was a circle of older men… around this group of kids. And they all had either their own power or connections to great power in the entertainment industry… There are people… who have gotten away with it for so long that they feel they’re above the law.”

Feldman went on to state: “There’s one person to blame in the death of Corey Haim. And that person happens to be a Hollywood mogul.” Feldman went on to talk about his and Haim’s experience with movie industry pedophiles in his 2013 book, Coreyography: A Memoir. The details were stark and horrifying:

“Haim started to confide in me, about some intensely personal stuff, very quickly … Within hours of our first meeting, we found ourselves talking about Lucas, the film he made in the summer of 1985, the role I had wanted for myself. At some point during the filming, he explained, an adult male convinced him that it was perfectly normal for older men and younger boys in the business to have sexual relations, that it was what all the ‘guys do.’ So, they walked off to a secluded area between two trailers, during a lunch break for the cast and crew, and Haim, innocent and ambitious as he was, allowed himself to be sodomized.”

Feldman, emboldened by the post-Weinstein floodgates, is currently raising funds, via Indiegogo, as part of his mission to expose the men that abused both himself and his now-deceased friend. The mission statement on that page speaks to how terrified Feldman remains: “As a security measure,” the TRUTH campaign states, “Corey has already written down the names and details of the events and given them to a trusted person of power.”

Despite concerns for his safety, Feldman has already started to name names. The first is Jon Grissom, a man who, according to the UK’s Sun newspaper, is “a convicted pedophile who is wanted by the California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation for skipping an offenders program.”

The second man named by Feldman is Marty Weiss, a child talent agent and registered sex offender, who has done time for child molestation. Weiss featured heavily in a 2014 documentary, in which Feldman also appears, titled An Open Secret. The film by Amy Berg, shines a light on the grooming and abuse of nine young actors. While still in his teens, one of the boys, Evan H., secretly recorded a conversation in which Weiss tried to justify his abusive behavior, telling Evan that he forced oral sex on him at the age 12 because he “wanted it.”

Berg has made other documentaries exposing child abuse, including the Oscar-nominated Deliver Us From Evil and 2015’s Prophet’s Prey. Both these movies did well despite their dark subject matter, and yet, when it came to An Open Secret, Berg had an extraordinarily hard time finding a distributor, and has also failed to get a TV deal — which looks suspiciously like the entertainment industry trying to protect its own.

In addition to Weiss, six other prominent men are featured in the film: Marc Collins-Rector, Chad Shackley, Brock Pierce, former Disney executive David Neuman, and Michael Harrah. Then there’s Bob Villard, a convicted sex offender, and one-time manager and publicist, who used to work with the likes of Tobey McGuire and Leonardo DiCaprio. Finally, there’s Brian Peck, who once plead guilty to abusing a young Nickelodeon actor. At the time An Open Secret was made, Peck was still working with children despite his conviction.

Peck also appeared in X-Men 2 and, despite only having a minor role, featured in the subsequent DVD commentary alongside his friend, Bryan Singer, who directed the movie. Singer — who has been accused of sexual abuse and harassment on a number of occasions — is accused in An Open Secret of attending exploitative parties thrown by a now-defunct internet company he had invested in, where, according to the film, underage boys were plied with alcohol and drugs,  required to be naked at least some of the time, and sometimes assaulted.

Guess who’s good friends with Bryan Singer? You’ve got it — Kevin Spacey.

If you spend even a small amount of time researching the rumors about and charges against Hollywood’s pedophiles (both convicted and alleged), it doesn’t take long to see the dots connecting and one large circle forming. As fresh tales of abuse continue to emerge over the next few weeks and months, that circle is bound to get larger. One can only guess at its final enormity.

It’s Not Hard to Connect the Dots in Hollywood’s Culture of Abuse 7 November,2017Rae Alexandra

Author

Rae Alexandra

Rae Alexandra is On Call Producer for KQED Pop. Born and raised in Wales, she started her career writing for Britain’s biggest music magazines. After moving to California, she became a regular contributor to both SF Weekly and New York’s Village Voice. She regularly ruins your favorite ‘80s movies at MovieRuiner.com, and can be found on Twitter @raemondjjjj.

Sponsored by

Become a KQED sponsor