Former teen star Corey Feldman, who caught flack in the wake of “Leaving Neverland” for appearing to defend Michael Jackson on social media, now wonders if the singer was grooming him.
In an interview with Rolling Stone magazine, Feldman talks about watching the HBO documentary through the lens of his long friendship with Jackson. (HBO is owned by CNN’s parent company, WarnerMedia.)
“I watched it with my wife and son,” Feldman said. “It caused me to have concerns.”
Feldman has said he is a survivor of molestation.
The documentary chronicles allegations by James Safechuck and Wade Robson that Jackson sexually abused them over several years when they were children.
Jackson was accused in 1993 of sexually molesting a then 13-year-old boy. He was charged with seven counts of child molestation for allegations related to another boy in 2003.
Jackson settled out of court with the 1993 accuser and was acquitted in the 2003 case.
He maintained his innocence until his 2009 death. His family has continued to do so.
They condemned the documentary, calling it a “public lynching.” Jackson’s accusers are “admitted liars,” the family says, because of sworn statements by Safechuck and Robson while Jackson was alive that he did not molest them.
Feldman, who appeared in “Stand By Me,” “The Goonies” and other films, was a child actor when Jackson befriended him. After “Leaving Neverland” aired, Feldman tweeted about having fond memories of the singer.
“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,” Feldman tweeted. “I never did. I never would! I pray those boys can sleep w that same clarity of consciousness! Let god b thy judge!”
Feldman said he was friends with Jackson around the same time Safechuck alleges he was abused. Feldman said he “took issue” with the documentary given that Jackson is not around to defend himself.
“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?” Feldman tweeted. “It doesnt really fit the profile. But what motive besides $ do they hav? Abandonment is a strong 1!”
Both men filed suits — Robson in 2013 and Safechuck in 2014 — against the singer’s estate. (Jackson’s estate denied the accusations. Their cases were initially dismissed but reportedly remain under appeal.)
During the “After Neverland” special hosted by Oprah Winfrey, “Leaving Neverland” director Dan Reed said the men were not compensated to appear in the documentary.
After being criticized for his tweets, Feldman clarified his statements.
“I want to be very clear. I stand for any and all victims of sexual abuse or assault,” Feldman said in a statement to CNN. “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.”
Feldman told Rolling Stone that his relationship with Jackson was “the standard grooming process that [Robson and Safechuck] describe.”
“Everything was similar [to what happened to me] up until the sexual part,” Feldman said. “Everything. He bought me gifts, a Watchman TV, a gold watch from Disneyland.”
Feldman said it raised questions for him.
“So was he grooming me and I just never ended up being his pick? Or was that just who he was?,” the actor said. “That’s the f***ing thing. We’ll never know. But I would have been exactly his type. I was cute, short and blond. You know?”
CNN has reached out to reps for Feldman for further comment.