In 2007 documentary filmmaker Amy Berg was nominated for an Oscar for “Deliver Us from Evil,” a documentary examining the notorious child sex abuse scandal within the Catholic Church. Her latest documentary, “An Open Secret,” will look at the sexual abuse of children in Hollywood.
Though it has no distributor, the film will premier at a New York City film festival Friday and, according to the Hollywood Reporter, “paints a broad picture of sexual exploitation in the entertainment industry[.]”
An Open Secret also examines several other cases: Talent manager Marty Weiss — who pleaded no contest in 2012 to two counts of committing lewd acts on a child after he was charged with eight felony counts of molesting a young performer he represented — is seen in the film attending family gatherings with one of his victims, then is heard, on tape, admitting to the molestation. Bob Villard, a talent manager who at one time represented a young Leonardo DiCaprio and who pleaded no contest to a similar felony charge in 2005, is alleged to have sold pictures of boys (often pictured shirtless, in subservient poses) on eBay.
The film also claims that Michael Harrah, a talent manager who sat on SAG-AFTRA’s Young Performers Committee, had young boys stay with him in his home and tried to take at least one of them to bed. “[Berg] quoted someone she had apparently talked to, and that information didn’t seem to be correct,” Harrah tells THR. “It’s hard to respond to anything that is so nebulous.” Adds a SAG-AFTRA rep, “We have not received complaints nor suggestions of any wrongdoing regarding the former committee member who resigned earlier this year.”
The documentary also examines the claims Michael Egan made against “X-Men” director Bryan Singer. Egan claimed the director had sexually abused him as a minor some years ago. Egan filed a lawsuit against Singer and two other Hollywood executives only to withdraw it later.
This article has been updated to correct a date.
John Nolte on Twitter @NolteNC