We have been covering over the last year the continuation of the biggest open secret in Hollywood that has still failed to be acknowledged by the #MeToo and #TimesUp crowd: the pervasive trend of child predators taking advantage of young stars.
The biggest name who has sought to expose this dirty Hollywood secret is Corey Feldman, who claims his life is in danger because of what he knows and his desire to speak out more on the abuse he was subject to as a child.
While Feldman’s accusations have yet to remain proven, although one’s heart certainly aches for what could only have been a difficult childhood as the primary breadwinner to his parents who took advantage of their son’s wild fame, there have been well-documented cases of previously convicted child predators working in Hollywood for years.
One example is that of Robert Villard, who worked in Hollywood for years under a pseudonym despite prior convictions for child molestation before he was arrested again in 2005.
A shocking Deadline report revealing that other professionals like Villard continue to ignore a law meant to protect children from such predators details several other cases like Villard’s:
- Martin Weiss, a personal manager to many young stars, got out of jail shortly before the law went into effect, having served six months after pleading no contest to two counts of oral copulation with an 11-year-old boy whose career he was managing. Like Villard, he too operated under fake names including Maximilian Weiss, Paul Weiss and Menachem Mendel. But if either of them tries to apply under a fake name for a permit to represent child actors again, their fingerprints will give them away.
- Jason James Murphy, a convicted pedophile who’d already spent five years in prison for kidnapping and molesting an 8-year-old boy, was arrested just a few days after Weiss. After getting out of prison, Murphy came to Hollywood, where he worked as a casting assistant and acting coach for child actors. He was arrested in December 2011 for failing to use the name under which he was a registered sex offender, but the judge dismissed the case, saying that Murphy had not attempted to conceal his identity, even though he was working with children under the professional name of Jason James.
- Brian Peck is another registered sex offender whom the law was designed to keep away from child actors. Peck, now 57, was convicted in 2004 of performing a lewd act on a child and oral copulation of a person under 16. His victim was a young boy to whom Peck had been giving private acting lessons at his home. But after spending 16 months in jail, he returned to Hollywood and resumed his career as a dialogue coach for child actors — which the law now prohibits.
To ensure predators could not continue to work in Hollywood, five years ago the state passed and Gov. Jerry Brown signed into law AB 1660, which would require “publicists, managers, acting coaches and headshot photographers who work with child actors to be fingerprinted and pass an FBI background check to screen out registered sex offenders.” Once a screening is complete, these professionals are supposed to be granted licenses.
Here’s the shocking part though: no one is obtaining these licenses.
Deadline has found more than 20 Los Angeles-based publicists who don’t have permits but represent child stars on numerous hit TV shows including Stranger Things, This Is Us, Modern Family, Black-ish, Lost in Space, Revenge and Code Black. Publicists without permits also represent young stars on Nickelodeon’s School of Rock, Henry Danger and Nicky, Ricky, Dicky & Dawn, and on the Disney Channel’s Stuck in the Middle and Raven’s Home. They also represented child actors on numerous films including Fences and the upcoming Bumblebee, to name but a few.
Is it any wonder that the film industry would symbolically throw their name behind a bill such as this and completely neglect to actually keep anyone in check after it was passed?
They only care about children for the sake of exploiting them for entertainment, they have no more interest in protecting them than they really do in preventing sexual harassment or assault.
It’s time we stop supporting this wicked industry and join millions of Americans who are staying out of movie theatres and canceling their cable subscriptions. Let’s put our money where our mouth is and #BoycottHollywood!