The producers of An Open Secret, the controversial Amy Berg-directed documentary about the molestation of child actors in Hollywood, released a trailer today (watch it above). At the same time, they issued a statement standing by Michael Egan, the man who accused numerous male execs and filmmakers of molesting him but later retracted those volatile claims. He remains a key part of the film, even though he recently was convicted of fraud.
The film presents the testimony of former child stars who were the victims of child molestation, including Corey Feldman and Todd Bridges. It’s controversial by its subject matter, made more so because Egan is one of the main accusers. Last year, during tearful press conferences, he made sex abuse charges against several male filmmakers and executives who, in turn, denied the claims and said Egan was trying to shake them down. Egan filed and then voluntarily dismissed his legal claims. His credibility is hampered further by the fact that last month he pleaded guilty to investment fraud in North Carolina and now faces up to five years in prison.
The producers, however, are standing by the allegations Egan levels in the film but point out that they are limited to charges he makes against convicted sex offender Marc Collins-Rector. The founder of the Digital Entertainment Network, Collins-Rector allegedly held wild sex parties with underage boys at DEN’s mansion in Encino. Collins-Rector was convicted in 2004 of luring five minors across state lines for sexual purposes.
In a statement, the producers said: “After the recent announcement of the film’s release, there was talk in some quarters of the media questioning the appearance of Michael Egan in the film in light of his subsequent lawsuit, which was both filed and later withdrawn after he filmed his scenes for An Open Secret. The producers vociferously defend Egan’s participation in the film while clarifying its scope.”
The film’s producer, Gabe Hoffman, said: “Michael Egan’s participation in An Open Secret is limited to descriptions of the sexual abuse he suffered at the DEN mansion at the hands of Marc Collins-Rector and the aftermath wrought upon their lives and their families. In the film, Egan does not discuss any of the allegations made in the lawsuits filed on his behalf in 2014. Those lawsuits, subsequently withdrawn, were filed well after, and completely independently from, his participation in An Open Secret. Clearly, Egan has experienced great difficulties in his life following the sexual abuse he suffered while a teenager at DEN. We applaud Mike’s courage to appear in the film and decry any efforts to use these unrelated difficulties to undermine the film’s credibility and deflect from the issue of child sexual abuse in Hollywood portrayed in the film.” Hoffman also stressed that “Egan is but one of several subjects of abuse interviewed for the film.”
The question remains, however, whether Egan’s other claims — which he withdrew — and fraud conviction undermine what could be a worthy film, the first to tackle child molestation in Hollywood. An Open Secret opens June 15 in the U.S., following an invite-only screening May 19 at the Cannes Film Market.