Oscar-nominated documentarian Amy Berg is releasing a new film which aims to expose the rampant sexual abuse of minors among powerful Hollywood players. It is sure to be a bombshell film, with prominent new figures being named in the allegations. ‘An Open Secret’ will debut at the DOC NYC film festival on Friday, November 14.
The documentary was inspired by allegations made earlier this year by Michael Egan III, who filed a lawsuit against X-Men director Bryan Singer, veteran TV executive Garth Ancier, former Disney exec David Neuman and producer Gary Goddard. After all parties denied the abuse allegations, a judge threw them out of court. ‘An Open Secret’ takes aim at the late 1990s Internet company Digital Entertainment Network headed by Marc Collins-Rector and Chad Shackley.
Rector and Shackley apparently held wild parties for teen boys. “They would pull away the better-looking younger kids and keep them for their own after party,” Egan alleges. These drug-fueled parties included mandatory skinny-dipping and alcohol. Singer was reportedly in attendance when the abuse took place. “When you meet the victims and see how prevalent this problem is, it’s difficult to ignore,” says Berg.
The filmmaker believed Egan’s account of what happened to him and others at these staged abuse parties. “He’s a straight man in his 30s,” she says. “For him to say he was sexually abused by men as a young teen all the way up to his late teens, that’s kind of an unlikely thing to lie about. He was at those parties. His story was not unique. So many other kids had the exact same stories with the same details.”
The individuals against whom the allegations are launched have spoken out in denial of their involvement, questioning the credibility of Berg’s sources. “It’s disappointing and pathetic that Amy Berg would rely on the word of Michael Egan, a proven liar, who recently was admonished by a federal judge for lying in court,” Singer’s attorney told The Hollywood Reporter. “Egan has no credibility at all and can hardly be considered a reliable source for her so-called documentary.”
‘An Open Secret’ also exposes talent manager Marty Weiss, who admits on tape to molesting at least one of the young boys he represented. Bob Villard, a talent manager who at one time represented Leonardo DiCaprio, faced similar felony charges for selling photos of shirtless young boys in subservient positions. The film also points fingers at another talent manager, Michael Harrah, who allegedly had young boys spend the night in his home and attempted to lure at least one of them into his bed. Harrah fired back at those claims, saying, “[Berg] quoted someone she had apparently talked to, and that information didn’t seem to be correct. It’s hard to respond to anything that is so nebulous.”
It’s not all that surprising that these sickos have unanimously denied the allegations against them, nor is it at all unbelievable that they used their positions in order to take advantage of youngsters looking to make it in the entertainment business. Berg says that what ultimately persuaded her to make the documentary was the “number of convicted pedophiles who are still being hired on set, on kids’ shows.” She explained, “These are people who technically should be nowhere near children. That was really upsetting.”
The filmmaker was surprised by how many victims, now adults, were willing to speak on camera regarding the abuse. They candidly described the “grooming” process the predators put them through, and the repercussions they dealt with years later. Many were joined by their family as they recounted struggling with drug and alcohol addictions after being abused for years. “They were all struggling with the same thing: trying to move on 10 years after the fact. I think this was healing for many of them,” Berg says. “They also felt that there was a threat to other children, and that was another reason they wanted to speak.”
“The narrative really comes from the voices of the victims,” said Matthew Valentinas, a Boston entertainment attorney who helped fund the documentary on sexual exploitation. “The film relies on the courage of the victims coming forward. And for every person who did talk in the film, we talked to two or three who wanted to but couldn’t make that jump yet,” he continued.
Thom Powers, artistic director of DOC NYC, thinks Berg has made a bold move to shed light on a sensitive topic. He commented, “I think it’s an important film about an important topic, a topic that has, of course, been in the news this past year. But as many news reports as I’ve read about this story, the film gave me something that I hadn’t had before, which is a depth of emotional understanding of what people involved in this have gone through.”
In conjunction with the film, which cost about $1 million to make, Valentinas is in the process of setting up a foundation. “The profits from the film are going to the foundation,” he says. “We are really hoping that more victims will feel they will have a place where they can come out and share their experience. It will also be a way for people to be more educated about how these pedophiles operate in Hollywood, because it’s very specific. The people who are going to Hollywood every year to get into films might be a little more susceptible, and the people who are preying on them have more influence and more power to dangle over them. I hope this film will help the industry to police itself better.”
“The goal is having public exposure that helps clean up the industry,” said Berg, echoing Valentinas’ sentiment. It looks as though they are on the right track, as Valentinas revealed “Hollywood is obviously nervous about the film.” Are you surprised to hear that sexual abuse of minors is so commonplace among leftist Hollywood elite? Tell us what you think in the comments section.