Actor Corey Feldman has again weighed in on the allegations levied against late pop icon Michael Jackson in the “Leaving Neverland” documentary.
The HBO film details the claims of two men, James Safechuck and Wade Robson, who allege that Jackson repeatedly molested them as children. The film has drawn both support and criticism from those in the entertainment industry, and now Feldman, who was friends with Jackson as a child and who has previously made statements in support of both sides of the arguments, has said in a recent interview that he found the claims concerning.
The 47-year-old former child star said in an interview with Rolling Stone published Thursday that he recognized the alleged grooming the men claim Jackson submitted them to as being similar to the way Jackson treated him during the course of their friendship.
“I watched it with my wife and son. It caused me to have concerns,” he said. “It’s the standard grooming process that they describe. Everything was similar [to what happened to me] up until the sexual part. Everything. He bought me gifts, a Watchman TV, a gold watch from Disneyland. So was he grooming me and I just never ended up being his pick? Or was that just who he was?”
“That’s the f--king thing,” he continued. “We’ll never know. But I would have been exactly his type. I was cute, short, and blond. You know?”
Jackson, who was acquitted of child molestation charges in 2005, claimed to be innocent up until his death in 2009. His family continues to defend him, and have routinely blasted the HBO film, doing so most recently in a 30-minute “mini-documentary” that responds directly to the claims made in the film.
Feldman, who has been open about his own experiences with abuse in the entertainment industry and is an advocate for survivors, previously spoke out in defense of Jackson as well, after watching the film, before backtracking on his early statements. He initially said in a series of tweets last month that the film was “1 sided w/ no chance of a defense from a dead man, & no evidence other than the word of 2 men who as adults defended him in court.”
Feldman also said in those tweets that his experiences with Jackson were similar to what Safechuck and Robson described, aside from the sexual aspect, writing, “That is where it becomes lala land, instead of neverland 4 me. We never spoke about sex other than a few warnings about how sex was scary, & dangerous.”
However, he walked back those statements the following day, clarifying in a statement obtained by CNN that he was not defending Jackson.
"Michael was my friend, but that does not mean I condone any harmful behavior, physical or mental," his statement read, in part. "This is new information to me too. It takes time to absorb and process. I myself as a survivor, wouldn't be in this position if I had not been deceived myself by several abusive men."
Feldman further clarified his statements during an appearance on CNN’s "Headline News" last month, stating that he could “no longer defend” Jackson.
“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, again, he didn’t do those things to me and that was not my experience,” he said. “So, therefore, my place is not to be the judge and is 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 statute of limitations in every state, because if we can reform the statute of limitations in every state, we can prevent these things from ever getting to this point.”
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