Unsettling Documentary Takes On Child Sexual Abuse In Hollywood
An unsettling documentary about the sexual abuse of child actors in Hollywood recently had its Cannes debut. An Open Secret, directed by Amy Berg, is a disturbing investigation into the sexual abuse of children in the entertainment industry, and bills itself as "the movie Hollywood doesn't want you to see." It comes out in select theaters on June 5, but also had a screening at Cannes, the Associated Press reports. The documentary had some trouble securing distributors and underwent numerous cut to avoid potential lawsuits, according to The Guardian. The film previously screened in New York City late last year.
The film consists largely of men talking about how they were allegedly abused as children or teens by men in the entertainment industry while pursing careers in acting or modeling. The men use their real names and frankly discuss what happened to them and how they later struggled to overcome the devastating effects of the abuse. The film is careful not to hurl any allegations at men who have not been convicted of abuse.
Some of the victims interviewed talk about parties they attended where they were given access to drugs and booze, then abused by the men who attended. One of the men interviewed was Michael Egan, who accused X-Men director Bryan Singer of abuse in 2014. Those allegations have since been dropped, and the film does not accuse Singer of any misconduct. It does, however, mention him as an acquaintance of convicted sex offender Marc Collins-Rector.
Marc Collins-Rector, the founder of Digital Entertainment Network, was accused of throwing parties at his Encino home that were attended by teenage Hollywood hopefuls and men who showed up to molest them. The boys were allegedly given alcohol, and one boy even said Collins-Rector threatened him with a gun when he rejected Collins-Rector's advances. Collins-Rector was eventually convicted of transporting minors across state lines for sex. The film also mentions another acquaintance of Singer's: Brian Peck. Peck, a Hollywood acting coach who can be heard in the X-Men commentary was arrested in 2003 after a family accused Peck of molesting their son over the course of six months while Peck was coaching the chid. Peck returned to Hollywood once he was out of jail, Deadline reports.
Former child actor Evan Henzi, who said his manager abused him from age 11 until he was 18, hopes that the film inspires others to come forward.
Former Olympian Greg Louganis, who is supporting the film at Cannes, said that this same disturbing trend also extends to sports as well. "There is so much money involved that silence can be bought. This is about intimidation and having power and control," he said.
Director Amy Berg has previously handled similar subject matter. Her 2006 documentary Deliver Us From Evil talked about child sexual abuse within the Roman Catholic Church.