As the fallout from the Harvey Weinstein scandal continues to engulf Hollywood, previously whispered secrets about sexual abuse and harassment within the industry are finally being amplified to the general public. The success of the ongoing #MeToo social media movement further illustrates that people are willing and eager to listen to stories that were previously ignored or pushed to the margins of news reports.
In this new landscape, audiences in and outside L.A. are hopefully ready to hear what the documentary An Open Secret has to say, specifically about the exploitation of adolescent boys hoping to make a break in the entertainment business. Currently unavailable on DVD or VOD, the 2014 film can be viewed in full for free on the streaming platform Vimeo for a limited time. “It’s so funny to keep seeing headlines about how Harvey’s abuse was ‘an open secret’ in Hollywood, and that’s the name of our film,” Gabe Hoffman, the producer of An Open Secret, recently told the Hollywood Reporter, adding that he arranged the Vimeo release “to commemorate serial predator Harvey Weinstein finally being exposed.”
After premiering at the 2014 Doc NYC festival, An Open Secret — directed by Oscar-nominated documentarian Amy Berg — struggled to find theatrical distribution due to its explosive subject matter and naming alleged abusers within Hollywood. The most high-profile industry player mentioned in the film is X-Men director Bryan Singer, who is alleged to have been present at parties where several underage accusers claim to have been drugged and molested. (An earlier version of An Open Secret reportedly featured one of Singer’s accusers, Michael Egan, who was largely edited out of the movie after withdrawing his lawsuit against the filmmaker.) A threatened lawsuit from SAG-AFTRA, as well as a dispute between Hoffman and Berg, further reduced the movie’s release plans, and it eventually played in a handful of theaters in the summer of 2015 before vanishing without a DVD or streaming deal in place.
In his THR interview, Hoffman expresses his hope that An Open Secret‘s Vimeo release — which began Friday and lasts until Oct. 22 — will grab enough eyeballs to lock in a wider digital release. The film is certainly a wrenching watch, giving full voice to the now-grown boys, who bravely sit for Berg’s camera and discuss the ways their lives were forever altered by their experiences in Hollywood. There’s also an on-camera testimonial from the Diff’rent Strokes star Todd Bridges (himself a survivor of sexual abuse) accompanied by cringe-inducing clips from the controversial two-part 1983 episode of that iconic sitcom that directly addressed the subject of childhood molestation. With the help of Vimeo, these stories — and the film itself — no longer remain a secret.
An Open Secret is available to stream for free on Vimeo until Oct. 22.
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