Corey Feldman has a knack at making headlines these days. The 1980s child star, who once spoke to The Hollywood Reporter about a pedophilia ring in Hollywood, went viral last month with an out-there and mercilessly mocked performance of his single "Go 4 It" on Today, backed by an all-female band wearing furry halos and angel wings.
"I like helping them," he said of Corey's Angels, a show-business venture he created "to help girls who were kind of lost and needed help to find their way." Feldman returned to Today this week on a one-stop redemption tour. (Missing, however, was Billy Bush, currently on his way out from the morning show in the wake of the Access Hollywood video-leak scandal that has thrown Donald Trump's presidential campaign into a tailspin.)
This time around, Feldman finds himself catching flack for having dropped an American flag on the ground while singing his follow-up single, "Take a Stand." The Hollywood Reporter caught up with Feldman ahead of his encore performance to learn a little bit more about Corey's Angels.
Read more: Billy Bush Nearing Settlement of NBC Fight
Hi Corey. How are you doing?
I'm hanging in there. A lot of stress right now in my life, but, you know, trying to do right, keep myself composed and figure my navigation through it all.
What's the source of your stress?
Oh my Lord, have you not heard everything going on? Being the No. 1 trending topic on Facebook, Yahoo, Twitter, all over the world for the last week? It's pretty intense when things like that happen. And, you know, it's been not all bad, not all good, just a lot of ups and downs. Kind of a roller coaster, really. It's just a stressful time.
But ultimately, the goal of your appearance on the Today show was to get attention for the record, which you've done. So it has to be a good thing.
Absolutely. I think it's a beautiful thing. I mean, you know, I was told last night 13.5 million people have watched the video after the [initial] appearance, so that's pretty astronomical. I don't think I could have ever dreamt in my wildest dreams that we would have that kind of a reception. At the end of the day, that's what we're trying to push, is the message.
I saw Miley Cyrus gave you a supportive shout-out.
Yes, that was beautiful. I tweeted her back right after I saw it, and said, "Hey, thank you so much." And, you know, the thing that I notice is the common thread among those who have been supporting us - Kesha, Pink - is that these are all people who have gone through the same adversity at the beginning of their careers, and, you know, somehow managed to survive and come out the other side and keep control of it all. So, it's very inspiring, for sure.
Tell me more about the Angels. Who are those women, specifically? You sort of intimated they were homeless, or in trouble, and you saved them?
No, no, no, no, no. I never indicated that they were homeless. Although we have worked with girls who were, you know, I won't say "homeless," but certainly in desperate circumstances and looking for a way out. I mean, this world is a very cruel place sometimes. And when you're a beautiful woman, if you're an artist and then you turn 18, they pack their bags and have their dreams of the big city, and then they get eaten up after a month or two with all the predators out here and people that want to take advantage of them. I mean, unfortunately, that's the game, you know?
So there are no romantic intentions behind your management pursuits?
The whole thing started, honestly, with girls that I was dating. And, you know, before I met Courtney, I was a bit of a playboy. And, you know, certainly not in a bad way. I was never a player, per se. I was never the guy that would, like, you know, date women and tell them they were the one and only, and then secretly date five other girls. A lot of the girls that I was dating, you know, were all kind of telling me the same thing, which is like, hey, I have this passion for art, or, you know, I'm a musician, I'm a singer, I'm actress. But a lot of them were selling themselves short. They were going and trying to do Playboy, and that was like their biggest goal - to be a kind of glam girl, T&A model, that type of stuff.
And Corey's Angels came out of that.
We started by doing these parties, and the parties were really just for branding, and for promotion, and getting people familiar with the idea of Corey's Angels. We wanted it to look like a Playboy party. It'll be that kind of a vibe. But you know, once the dust settles, we can explain to everybody what we're really about. But then these crazy, BS rumors were started, and all this negative backlash that was created by the bottom-feeder press.
What were their accusations?
There was no real accusations. It was just about shaming. It was like, they took really awful pictures. They said, you know, "Can we come and basically experience one of your events, and we'll write an honest essay, and it'll be kind of a puff piece on your parties and show everybody how great they are and how amazing they are?" And I said, "Well, I guess that's OK." But they wrote an article and it sounded kind of punkish and kind of, you know, too cool for school in the style of their writing.
Was it Vice?
Yes, yes, yes. I didn't know much about their style, or what type of magazine it was or anything else. So when I saw, you know, the original article, it kind of came off, it sounded a bit pompous and a bit like they were kind of demeaning to the women, making all of the girls look like they were trash or something. It really diverted from the whole mission of what we were trying to do. So we had to shut down the parties, shut down the website, get away from all of that, because the whole thing was being twisted and turned to make it look like we were running some kind of, you know, prostitution ring or something.
I see there is a contract that you make Corey's Angels sign?
No, that's not real. That was part of the Celebrity Wife Swap I did. They made that up, and they asked us to go along with it as a joke. And now everybody's thinking that it's real. It's not. That was all a joke. It's part of reality TV, and people are taking it seriously.
(Celebrity Wife Swap contract above)
The contract says they have to promise to maintain their weight, that they have to eat a meat-free diet?
Well, I mean, yeah, there are certain rules that we have. That's what they based that contract on. The rule is, if you have an issue with your weight, and that is something that you're concerned with, and that is something that you want our help with, then we will help you, and we can advise you. And our plan is, don't eat meat, don't drink alcohol. That's a great way to get your weight down, because we know this.
Is it a talent agency? Or how do you bill this Corey's Angels organization?
We call it a "360 management development and production entity." We find the girls that we think are, first of all, virtuous, and honest and loyal. Because if they don't have integrity and they're not straight-shooters, then we probably don't want to be, you know, getting behind them. If they seem to be a good fit, then we will focus on their talent. We'll get photos done for them. We'll, you know, introduce them to people. We'll take them out to events. We'll get them auditions, whatever we can do for them. But we'll also create our own in-house production stuff, like our music videos, like the album.
You keep saying we. Who is we, exactly?
Well, it's me and the people that work with my company.
How many people?
I mean, [my girlfriend] Courtney Anne is my No. 1 partner, but I have two managers that work with us. We have photographers. It's just a team of people.
Do the women all live with you in your house?
No. I mean, sometimes they do, because again, like I said, we have worked with girls who are literally down and out, who have nothing. They'll be like, "I have nothing. I need a place to stay. I need wardrobe. I need help with makeup. I mean, if I'm going to go out and be at red-carpet events, I need help, 'cause I have nothing." So we'll say, "Hey, look, it's OK. You can come stay here. That's cool. We'll help you out, but all we ask is that you're loyal."
You got some support from some big feminist pop stars like Pink and Kesha, who just went through a rape trial. Looking at your birthday party photos on Vice, all the men are wearing regular clothes, and the women are wearing pasties. What do you think Pink and Kesha would say about that?
That's not true. The men were wearing pajamas.
I mean, the men's bodies are completely covered.
It was a pajama party.
I think a concern here is that you're taking a Hugh Hefner-approach to mentoring talent.
And that could be criticized as being anti-feminist, or just, you know, not so great for women.
Right. So our whole model was, look, at the time that I was doing this, I was going to the Playboy Mansion on a regular basis. I was very close with Hef. I was very close with the Playboy family. And to me, that was just normal, because it was family, and that was the way that I viewed it, you know? I was up there literally every Sunday watching movies with Hef and Crystal and all of his girlfriends. So, basically, I was raised at the Playboy Mansion.
Don't you think that model might be damaging for women?
I do, and that's why I decided to pull away from it. Which is why you will notice, there's never been one nude photo or naked photo shoot from anything from Corey's Angels ever.
Pretty close, though.
Look, first of all, I don't think nudity is anything wrong. I think the natural, naked body is beautiful. Look at what Miley Cyrus does. She's a perfect example. She uses her sexiness, she uses her sex appeal. And she's proud of who she is. That's what being a woman is all about. You should feel comfortable. You should feel proud of your body. You should feel proud of who you are. There's nothing wrong with that.
But most modeling agencies represent men and women. You're just focusing on the women. That could throw your motives into question.
Well, that's because you choose to see it that way. I mean, I'm sorry that you view it that way or anybody else would view it that way. But at the end of the day, again, I had major issues with women in my life, OK? My mom abused me. My mom was not your stereotypical mother. And, you know, there was mental abuse, there was physical abuse, there was sexual abuse. There was all sorts of stuff. And I also happened to be in 18 serious relationships in a row where every woman that I gave my love and my complete 100 percent integrity and honesty and loyalty to all cheated on me. And all these relationships ended one after another.
So could Corey's Angels be seen as a way to sort of control women?
No, it's a way to help them! I could see, like, if we could get in and mold them while they're still young and impressionable, while they're moldable, so to speak, we can help them make the right choices.
Help me understand this. You're the one saying there are these dangerous figures in Hollywood who swoop in on vulnerable young people who come to Hollywood with dreams - and that's literally what you're describing to me that you do. You're telling me women get off the bus, they're down and out, they're trying to break in, they're doing porn.
No, the difference is - we're - oh my God. You're not really giving me an opportunity to explain it. You're making judgments.
Sorry, please explain.
OK, well, it's very clear. We are giving women the love and support that they need to know that they are beautiful the way they are. That they are good enough the way they are. And they don't have to sleep with me. They don't have to sleep with anybody, ever.
Is there a minimum age requirement?
We're very against prostitution. Yes, 18.
Because I don't work with children in the industry. I don't believe in that. So the whole point that I'm trying to - hold on, hold on, 'cause I need to finish this, OK? It's very important to me that people know that I am not OK with stripping. I'm not OK with porn. I'm not OK with prostitution. I think it's demeaning and degrading to women.
I saw you tweeted about the Radar story that Corey Haim's attacker might be identified, and you said it would be a huge relief. What did you mean by that?
I can't get into that. I'm sorry.
But you tweeted about it.
Yeah, I did. And that's all I have to say.