Director Barry Sonnenfeld is opening up about a tragic event from his childhood.
In his soon to be released memoir, Barry Sonnenfeld, Call Your Mother: Memoirs of a Neurotic Filmmaker, the Men in Black director reveals that he was sexually abused as a child by one of his cousins.
Sonnenfeld, 66, shares in detail that he suffered the abuse from an adult cousin — who he refers to as C.M. the C.M., or Cousin Mike the Child Molester in the memoir — who he states also targeted other young members of their family along with other neighborhood children.
Speaking recently to Page Six, Sonnenfeld shared that he confronted his father Sonny about the abuse in 2014 and was shocked when his father told him he knew something had happened, but didn’t seem concerned about it.
“First of all, Barry, don’t forget child molestation didn’t have the same stigma back then that it has now,” he recalls his father telling him before adding, “I never thought Mike was molesting you. I only thought he was playing with your penis.”
Barry describes being horrified at his father’s response in his memoir, according to Page Six, exclaiming, “What kind of parent allows a man to touch his son’s penis?”
Per the outlet, Sonnenfeld details in the book that he “collapsed in profound sciatic pain,” after hearing his father’s response, “but somehow managed to make his way home and spent the evening huddled in bed sobbing.”
“My entire life I had convinced myself that my parents, flawed as they were, loved me,” he writes, according to Page Six. “Surely they hadn’t understood the full extent of Mike’s torturous abuse. But I was wrong. They knew…My mother, father and C.M. the C.M. should have been jailed.”
Page Six reports that Sonnenfeld also recalls a time when his late mother Kelly invited him, his girlfriend and her two young daughters over for dinner, along with Cousin Mike, who is now deceased.
When the Addams Family director refused to come, he says his mother assured him that she would “police Mike” and then later echoed his father’s sentiments, telling him, “Barry, back then child molesting didn’t have the stigma it has now.”
Barry Sonnenfeld, Call Your Mother: Memoirs of a Neurotic Filmmaker comes out March 10.