The Dark Ages were rife with plague, fanaticism, and accusations that Jews secretly fed off the blood of children. In 2020, we too are beset with plague, rampant medical misinformation, and a persistent rumor that “global elites” torture children to harvest the chemical adrenochrome from their blood, which they then inject in order to stay healthy and young.
A favorite topic of interconnected QAnon and Pizzagate conspiracy communities, so-called “adrenochrome harvesting” long predates these groups. It has, however, resurrected during the Covid-19 pandemic. Google Trends shows significant spikes in searches for adrenochrome in March and June of 2020. It’s prevalent on TikTok, Youtube, and Instagram. Reddit removed a dedicated adrenochrome subreddit on July 30. On Friday, July 31, conspiracy theorists plan to hold the first “Child Lives Matter” protest in Hollywood to “expose” child trafficking, advertising the event with references to #adrenochrome.
The adrenochrome harvesting conspiracy theory is a potent example of “hidden virality” and the ways in which unpopular culture animate social media platforms outside of the mainstream view. Named by researchers Britt Parris and Joan Donovan, hidden virality describes dominant content in specific pockets of the internet that are largely unseen by journalists and mass audiences, making them difficult for social media companies to identify and act upon. The impact of hidden virality can’t be stopped by retroactively banning a few thousand Twitter accounts; it is an iterative, memetic phenomenon that outpaces terms of service. Even with early intervention by Reddit and recent movements by Twitter, Facebook and TikTok to crack down on QAnon, adrenochrome harvesting remains a mainstream conversation for some online communities.
Toxic social attitudes spread virally alongside hoaxes and disinformation. Adrenochrome harvesting isn’t outwardly blamed on Jews, but on “satanic” and “globalist” elites—dog whistle terms for the far right. The modern adrenochrome obsession is a permutation of blood libel, an anti-Semitic myth that pervaded Europe throughout the middle ages, and a mutated strain of medical misinformation.
The Lineage of a New Blood Libel
The most effective conspiracy theories are built around kernels of truth. Adrenochrome is a compound that occurs in the body, but about which little scientific research has been done beyond a few studies in the mid-20th century on whether it could play a role in schizophrenia. The question transfixed the writers Aldous Huxley and Hunter S. Thompson, who were obsessed with mind-altering substances. To them, adrenochrome became a psychotropic, akin to mescaline. In his famous Doors of Perception, written just after the first adrenochrome studies, Huxley described adrenochrome as a clue that was “being systematically followed.” “The sleuths—biochemists, psychiatrists, psychologists—are on the trail,” he wrote. Biologists didn’t find much of interest.
Nearly 20 years later, Thompson cast adrenochrome as a psychedelic that must be violently extracted from human glands in his novel Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas. The scene was immortalized in Terry Gilliam’s 1998 film; a YouTube clip of Johnny Depp’s character taking adrenochrome, which to date has more than 1.7 million views, has drawn thousands of comments referencing the conspiracy.
Thompson is explicitly invoked in what seems to be the earliest recorded posts about adrenochrome harvesting on 4Chan’s /x/ and /pol/ boards, in 2013 and 2014 respectively. In an anti-Semitic 4chan /pol/ thread an anonymous poster linked a restricted, unsearchable video named “Jew Ritual BLOOD LIBEL Sacrifice is #ADRENOCHROME Harvesting.” Within these same online communities, Pizzagate formalized and grew in 2015–2016 before spreading to more mainstream social media.
In 2016 this same video was shared in a Pizzagate thread about the artist Marina Abromovich and her “spirit cooking” ceremonies. The next several months saw increasingly outlandish claims online, particularly that the Pixar film Monsters Inc. was a cryptic reference to adrenochrome harvesting. As some Pizzagate adherents entered the burgeoning QAnon community in 2017, they brought the adrenochrome conspiracy with them.
These factions expanded their audiences in 2018, citing new “investigations” and circulating the rumor that a (hoax) website sold adrenochrome in exchange for cryptocurrency. Conspiracy filmmaker Jay Myers released a video, “Adrenochrome The Elite's Secret Super Drug!” While the original video was taken down, it remains live on his backup channel and has been uploaded elsewhere online.
In February 2019, Infowars featured a segment on adrenochrome, linking it to the Clinton Foundation via epipen manufacturers, and to the highly controversial “young blood” transfusion startup Ambrosia. A month later, adrenochrome “documentaries” began to emerge on YouTube, followed by many smaller copycat productions, helping form a searchable foundation for the current day conspiracy.
The recent surge in interest can be traced to March 2020 and the effects of the Covid-19 pandemic. Celebrities posting photos of themselves stuck at home and looking less than camera ready were besieged on social media with accusations that they were suffering from adrenochrome withdrawal. (In their logic, shutdowns had stalled the adrenochrome child-trafficking supply chain.) By commenting on these posts, believers spread the adrenochrome hashtag to new eyes while harassing their targets.
Despite this increased visibility, conspiracy outlets accused major social media platforms and media of plotting to suppress the truth about adrenochrome. Adrenochrome conversation continued and intensified on social media, from claims Lady Gaga was participating in blood rituals for an adrenochrome fix, to the Covid-19 “spiked adrenochrome’ theory popularized by Pizzagate booster Liz Crokin. Despite claims of censorship, Google trend results showed that spamming celebrities' pages with mentions of adrenochrome was working, leading to a spike in search traffic and social media conversation.
How Hidden Virality Happens
Unpopular ideas and small disinformation campaigns often go unreported, either unseen or ignored by platforms and mainstream press. The longer an infectiously bad idea goes undetected and undebunked, the more likely it is to spread and develop social importance. This phenomenon has enabled the rapid growth of antivax communities, Covid-19 disinformation, and the prevalence of the adrenochrome harvesting theory.
This is all possible because of how social media and search engines work. As a result of the relative unimportance of adrenochrome, it doesn’t get written about much by scientists, journalists, or academics. This creates a data void, a vacuum of trustworthy information unpopulated by authoritative sources. Within a data void, search algorithms surface what's available rather than well-curated local, timely, and relevant content. This is the perfect condition for a viral infection of misinformation and conspiracism.
A Google search for “adrenochrome” prompts a knowledge panel, an automatically generated information box sourced from Wikipedia, with a description of the compound and some scholarly research. However, the edit history of that Wikipedia article reveals that in the last few months editors have constantly been removing attempts to add disinformation. On Google Images, viewers are faced with an onslaught of infographics about missing children, doctored images of celebrities and politicians, and instructions for how to find further troves of “evidence.” DuckDuckGo and other search engines return even more outrageous findings in initial search results.
Pizzagate, QAnon, and other online conspiracy communities encourage newcomers to “Google” an obscure phrase designed to lead down a rabbit hole. This takes them to obscure, debunked publications or reports, as well as carefully curated collections of PDFs. Elements of real science are merged into factually incoherent frames, resulting in troves of documentation, hard to find in the mainstream search engines. These are foundations of sustaining the hidden virality of otherwise baseless ideas. Whittled down to memes and viral slogans, the new conspiracies spread effortlessly across platforms via hashtags and comments.
Why Is Adrenochrome Having a Moment and What Can Be Done?
The pandemic has created an unprecedented level of mistrust and anxiety about inequality, which opens society to all kinds of conspiratorial thinking, and especially to medical misinformation. As interest in adrenochrome was first spiking in March, people were upset that celebrities and athletes seemed to have access to testing that others did not. Attitudes to proposed Covid-19 treatments quickly became politically polarized, as did a rise in mainstream conservative acknowledgement of QAnon and a slew of Republican candidates signaling their attachment to the movement. Articles in conservative publications, like this Spectator takedown by Ben Sixsmith, are a critical intervention to halt the progress of conspiracists operating largely unchecked in ideological echo chambers.
The best way for platforms to fight back is to take early action when something begins to go viral in hidden spaces. Early detection requires knowledge of where conspiracy theories originate online and reliable measurements of how they scale, and it needs to be followed by active promotion of authoritative content that can inoculate against the disinformation. Tech companies must also get better at indexing images and memes. Platforms need to identify disinformation within obscure medical topics that don't have much information, and seek collaborations with experts who could get ahead of these trends with timely relevant information.
The adrenochrome obsession shows just how hard it is to combat data voids. Would a peer-reviewed study on andrenochrome’s inability to reanimate aging global elites even impact the communities that spread these complex falsehoods? Probably not. To date, Pinterest has taken the most aggressive action against the adrenochrome hashtag, directing users to a page about medical misinformation when they search for the word in an effort to curb hidden virality.
And as tech companies commit to eradicating hate speech and medical misinformation on their platforms, they must recognize the bigotry laundered through modern conspiracy. During Thursday’s House Antitrust Subcommittee hearing with big tech CEOs, thousands of commenters left QAnon slogans, and even some references to adrenochrome, in the chat of Fox News’ livestream. The popularity of adrenochrome harvesting theories shows how motivated actors remain two steps ahead of intervention, and how our information systems, if uncorrected, may accelerate the arrival of a new dark age.
Updated 8/2/2020 9:30pm: A previous version of this article stated the adrenochrome conspiracy was prevalent on Reddit. On July 30, Reddit banned a subreddit on adrenochrome.
WIRED Opinion publishes articles by outside contributors representing a wide range of viewpoints. Read more opinions here. Submit an op-ed at [email protected]
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Child abuse documentary Hollywood 'didn't want you to see' goes viral
When the documentary An Open Secret tried to lift the lid on child abuse in Hollywood, it billed itself as “the film Hollywood doesn’t want you to see”. The marketing tagline did not exaggerate.
The film died upon release in 2015. There was no theatrical release to speak of, no television deal, no video-on-demand distribution.
“We got zero Hollywood offers to distribute the film. Not even one. Literally no offers for any price whatsoever,” said Gabe Hoffman, a Florida-based hedge fund manager who financed the film.
It did not seem to matter that it was directed by an Oscar-nominated director, Amy Berg, or that it uncovered damning evidence of the sexual abuse of teenage boys by figures in the film industry.
“There was nowhere to see it,” said Lorien Haynes, the film’s writer. “I don’t think it impacted at all. Nobody saw it. We released a film that didn’t [seem to] exist.”
Now, two years later, multiple “open secrets” of predatory behaviour are detonating across Hollywood and the documentary that blew the whistle is getting millions of viewers – but still no distribution deal.
Hoffman released the film for free on the video-sharing website Vimeo this month after reports about Harvey Weinstein’s alleged sexual assaults set off a chain-reaction, with James Toback, Tyler Grasham and Kevin Spacey among those accused of harassment and worse.
Corey Feldman, a former child actor who says he was the victim of a paedophile ring, has raised more than $170,000 through crowdfunding for a purported $10m biopic about the abuse.
Hoffman said he had intended to end the free online viewings of An Open Secret on Tuesday, but extended the window until Sunday because of public interest, with more than 3 million viewings on various social media platforms since 12 October.
“We knew a Harvey Weinstein moment was coming and when it would, that we’d release it for free,” said Hoffman. He hoped the documentary would yet make its way on to television. “We’d love to be on Amazon and Netflix. We’re always ready to talk.”
The documentary’s initial vanishing into the void and belated re-emergence underlines how Hollywood long ducked evidence of abuse. An Open Secret had the elements to make a splash.
Berg, the director, had earned an Oscar nomination for her film Deliver Us from Evil, about sex abuse in the Catholic church.
Her team obtained evidence of a paedophile ring in Hollywood – managers, agents, publicists and directors – that preyed on young boys and teenagers seeking entry to the industry.
Some hosted lavish parties where men allegedly plied the boys with alcohol and drugs and traded them for sex. Others spent years grooming victims, and winning the confidence of their families, before starting sexual assaults.
A handful were caught and served relatively brief jail sentences before returning to the industry. Brian Peck, an actor and acting coach who worked for Nickelodeon and the X-Men franchise, was convicted of two counts of lewd acts with a child. He is now working in the industry again.
The documentary features interviews with Evan Henzi, who was 11 years old when his manager, Martin Weiss, started assaulting him. Weiss pleaded no contest in 2012 to two counts of child molestation, and was sentenced to a year in jail and five years’ probation. He was freed immediately due to time served.
“I shared my story in An Open Secret so other victims who have been molested for years just like me can heal,” Henzi, 24, said this week.
“When the film was released, I witnessed a lot of support by people who actually saw the film. What I did not witness was support from film festivals or Hollywood at large to promote the film. I do believe, though, that both some of the film-makers of An Open Secret and the Hollywood establishment are responsible for this.”
Internal disputes disrupted the film’s launch. Hoffman took Berg to arbitration, alleging she did not fulfill her end of the deal. She denied that. There were other rows behind the scenes over the script, crediting and edits.
Berg declined to be interviewed, saying she would let the film speak for itself.
Hoffman downplayed any suggestion that the film-makers had shot themselves in the foot and blamed Hollywood for its distribution travails – for instance initially rating the film R, before relenting and classifying it PG-13. “Hollywood clearly blocked the film. The higher-ups didn’t like how it portrayed the industry.”
Hoffman also claimed festivals in Los Angeles, London and Toronto promised to give the well-reviewed film prominent screenings, only to rescind the invitations without proper explanation. The Guardian could not immediately verify this account.
Haynes, who wrote the script, said mid-ranking television executives seemed eager to buy the film, only to be overruled. “At the top of the food chain is where we got the ‘no’. It did feel that people were scared to run it. It is complete anathema to release a film about corruption in Hollywood in Hollywood.”
She acknowledged another factor: a harrowing film about child abuse was a tough sell. “You’re expecting a lot of an audience to sit through that.”
For two years An Open Secret existed in film purgatory, available only in pirated online versions, few people aware that here was evidence of abuse, collusion and cover-up in the heart of Tinseltown.
Weinstein does not feature in the documentary – he allegedly preferred women, not young boys – but the accusations against him unleashed a gale which put An Open Secret in the headlines as a “must watch” documentary that explains Hollywood’s complicity.
Weinstein has apologized for his past behavior, but denies many of the harassment claims and “unequivocally denied” allegations of non-consensual sex.
Spacey apologized this week after he was accused of making an unwanted sexual advance toward the Star Trek actor Anthony Rapp, who says he was 14 years old at the time of the alleged incident in 1986. Spacey, star of the Netflix show House of Cards and former artistic director of London’s Old Vic, said he did not remember the “encounter” but if he had done what Rapp described in an article published by BuzzFeed, it “would have been deeply inappropriate drunken behavior”.
Meanwhile, Toback, a veteran director, faces allegations from more than 30 women of sexual harassment and trying to trade roles for sex. He has denied the accusations, saying he hired people only on merit. Grasham, a veteran agent, is accused of harassing and assaulting multiple young men. His employer, the Agency for the Performing Arts, fired him after the claims went public. One alleged victim has filed a complaint with the Los Angeles police department. Grasham has not addressed the claims in any public statement yet and could not be reached for comment.
The cascade of allegations have all served to give Open Secret the kind of limelight its backers believe it deserved in the first place.
“The dangers and threats that follow speaking out are very real. I’ve seen them first-hand. But I believe we’ve turned a corner,” said Katelyn Howes, one of the producers. “I hope this continues to push these abuses of power into the spotlight, making it safer for so many people, especially children, who aren’t in the position to talk about their experiences yet.”
Henzi, the former child actor who shared his story of abuse, echoed that. “I do believe that the allegations against Harvey Weinstein have completely opened up the door to having a grand conversation about different experiences of sexual assault by people in the entertainment industry, and that will be really beneficial for a lot of people. It is about time.”
Corey Feldman Wants to Expose Hollywood’s Darkest Secrets.
Out in the leafy suburbs of Woodland Hills, California, in an OK house in an OK neighborhood, the actor Corey Feldman is wandering around, saying he soon might name the name of the man he says raped his like-a-brother best friend and frequent co-star, the late Corey Haim, back in 1985. He’s been talking about naming this name for more than seven years now. But each time, Feldman has shied away at the last minute, citing lawsuit fears, further ostracism and derailment of a career already off the tracks, and possible physical harm to him and his family.
He sucks on a nicotine-filled vape, exhales a plume, drops his head a little and says, “I mean, I’ve had my life threatened twice in the last six months.”
His wife of two years, a tall blonde named Courtney, nods. “People want to kill him. They don’t want what he has to say to come out.”
“I can tell you that the number-one problem in Hollywood was and is . . . pedophilia,” Feldman says, as he often has. “That’s the biggest problem for children in this industry. It’s the big secret.”
One possible, obvious reason for the keeping and hiding of this big secret: No one really wants to hear about children and rape if it involves the nation’s number-one source of escapist entertainment. In 2013, Feldman went on The View to talk about how the pedophile numbers are larger than anybody knows and include a ring reaching up into the Hollywood elite that’s been shielded for years by the establishment. Barbara Walters looked at him with disbelief, hands clasped across her belly, and snarled, “You’re damaging an entire industry,” as if to say that Hollywood itself was more valuable than the wrecked lives of a few youngsters.
And then there’s HBO’s Leaving Neverland, in which two men allege that Michael Jackson, who was one of Feldman’s closest friends growing up, abused them when they were kids. Feldman has always said Jackson never touched him inappropriately, and at times he seemed to be defending Jackson against accusers. After watching the first half of the documentary, he tweeted, “This whole thing is 1 sided w no chance of a defense from a dead man, & no evidence other than the word of 2 men who as adults defended him in court.” This led to a barrage of criticism on social media, however, and, a few days later, a clarification from Feldman, who went on CNN to say, “I cannot in good conscience defend anyone who’s being accused of such horrendous crimes. But at the same time, I’m also not here to judge him, because, again, he didn’t do those things to me and that was not my experience.”
“I watched it with my wife and son,” he says now. “It caused me to have concerns. It’s the standard grooming process that they describe. Everything was similar [to what happened to me] up until the sexual part. Everything. He bought me gifts, a Watchman TV, a gold watch from Disneyland. So was he grooming me and I just never ended up being his pick? Or was that just who he was? That’s the fucking thing. We’ll never know. But I would have been exactly his type. I was cute, short and blond. You know?”
About what allegedly happened to Corey Haim, though, Feldman has no doubts. “Not one,” he says — much to the unending dismay of Haim’s mother, Judy, who says her son was never raped by anyone and that Feldman is saying it happened only be cause he’s still jealous of her boy’s success, and that he’s using Haim’s name to scam the public out of crowd-funded money for a movie about industry pedophiles that’ll never get made.
“He’s desperately trying to destroy my son’s history, his image, his memory,” says Haim. “It’s a very deep jealousy thing, that my son always got first billing. I’m sick of him, dragging my son’s name through the mud for nine years. I mean, how shameful. The guy’s a liar. The guy’s sick. OK?”
To combat Feldman, she and her supporters, and there are quite a few of them, have formed an online gang that’s come to be known as the Wolfpack. They produce YouTube videos with titles like “You Lowlife Feldman You Have Gone Too Far This Time” and send out tweets saying, “If longing to see @Corey_Feldman get gang raped in prison is wrong, I don’t want to be right,” and “I personally will never stop until CF is in prison or mental institution at best.”
Right now, Feldman is standing in his living room, while a bunch of recent arrivals busy themselves unpacking cameras, monitors and light-reflecting umbrellas. He’s 47 but doesn’t look much different than the impish, thin-lipped, wisecracking kid who became one of the mid-1980s’ most bankable teen faces, in still-beloved movies like The Goonies, Stand by Me and The Lost Boys. And when he smiles, you can still see that kid in there, somewhere, but you also see a poster boy for the age-old perils of teen stardom, and a story that turned tragic for his pal Haim, who died in 2010, at the age of 38, from complications arising from pneumonia after a lifetime spent struggling against the various addictions that Feldman says he himself managed to kick for good in 1995.
Walking through the foyer into a back room (video-game machine, jukebox, dartboard, vibrating easy chair), he’s still thinking about the Wolfpack.
“They’re plotting against me,” he says. “There’s been an assault charge pending against me, a labor-board charge, things that are ruining my life. They’re trying to get my kid taken away. All this is what I’m up against. These are the stakes. I am fighting for my life. But I’m tired of being victimized and blackmailed. That’s why I’m fighting back.”
Which is what the film crew is about. He’s producing a documentary titled Truth: The Rape of Two Coreys, about the two industry men who allegedly molested him at the age of 14 and about the A-lister and others who allegedly raped or molested his best friend. “We’ve got about seven [people] who were told firsthand that this person raped Corey,” Feldman says, “and they’re all being interviewed.”
Corey Haim, Corey Feldman in License To Drive (1988)<br />Photo: 20th Century Fox/Kobal/REX/Shutterstock
20th Century Fox/Kobal/REX/Shutt
Feldman’s going to sit before the cameras, too, to talk about what he claims Haim told him on the day they first met, when both were 14, and Haim was trying to convince Feldman, a virgin at the time, that they should mess around, that “this is what all boys do. It’s called the boys’ club, and this is totally normal” — all words that Haim said he’d once been told. Feldman asked by whom. Haim told him, and, according to Feldman, went on to describe his alleged rape in ugly, explicit detail. Says Feldman, “When a kid tells you something as a way to arouse you — when he’s sitting there with a hard-on, trying to hook up with a guy — you don’t immediately go, ‘Where’d this come from?’ It wasn’t like he just was, ‘Hey, man, you know what happened to me?’ But the line he used, ‘I’m not gay, but I was taught this by other guys in the business’ — how do you question that?”
According to Feldman, Haim swore him to secrecy, only to reconsider 23 years later and beg Feldman to tell his story should he die first. “Nobody knows what it feels like to constantly console somebody whose life has been ruined by rape.” Feldman says today, “unless you’ve been there, holding them when they cry, bringing them back to life over and over, stopping them from walking around with a knife.”
He pauses, then continues, “I didn’t ask for this. I didn’t ask to tell his story. I didn’t ask for any of it.”
If ever there was an imperfect messenger for attempting to take down pedophiles in Hollywood, Feldman might be it. He has an untidy past that can’t help but follow him everywhere and a present that seems to do him no favors either. By the time he was 19, he’d been arrested three times for heroin. He liked coke, too, along with weed, mushrooms, alcohol, crack, Quaaludes and acid. Then, during his post-youth-star decline, he started settling for insta-flop movies like Meatballs 4 (1992), Lipstick Camera (1994) and Citizen Toxie: The Toxic Avenger IV (2000). By that time, he’d been clean for five years, but Hollywood had already written him off, except when it wanted to make him look like an idiot, as it did on the WB reality series The Surreal Life, in 2003, and Celebrity Wife Swap, in 2015.
“I’m never going to escape it,” he once said, morosely.
Left to his own devices, however, Feldman does stuff that is ill-considered at best and often just plain weird. Earlier this decade, he used to throw parties at his house (“the Feldmansion”) featuring a gaggle of girls called Corey’s Angels, which regular Joes could attend for $250, with the hot-tub experience going for $500 and the cabana for $2,500. Vice reported on two of them and made them look like thoroughly unappealing, sparsely attended, grisly affairs. Then there’s his lunatic 2016 performance of a song called “Go 4 It” on the Today show. As usual, his all-girl backup band, the self-same Corey’s Angels, sported wings and halos. Feldman himself wore some kind of bizarre pitch-black monk’s hood and danced this fitfully spasmodic, histrionic thingamajiggy, complete with twerking. It went viral, with an explosion of Twitter-led ridicule that was so brutal Feldman felt called upon to post a video response.
“We did the best that we could,” he said. “And, like, I’ve never had such mean things said about me…. Public shaming should not be accepted, no matter who you are.” And then he wept.
So, clearly he may never be able to display the gravitas of, say, Ashley Judd, who helped kickstart the MeToo movement. Nor does he have much in the way of industry clout. But he’s nothing if not dogged in his pursuit of ways to get his message out, even though, so far, it’s been one disappointment after another. He wanted to name names in his 2013 memoir, Coreyography, but the publisher, St. Martin’s Press, nixed the idea, for obvious legal reasons. He hoped for better with Lifetime’s 2018 biopic, A Tale of Two Coreys, but again events were sanitized. Looking for independence, he decided to crowd-fund his own feature film, $10 million being his goal, saying it would “literally change the entertainment system as we know it,” but it was branded a scam and fell apart at the $273,000 mark. The main complaint: that it looked like he wanted the $10 million as a reward for naming names. His response: To name names when the statute of limitations is long gone is to invite lawsuits stretching to the horizon.
For all that, he’s looking pretty good these days. He usually presents himself noon-ish — since bedtime is usually three-ish — clean-shaven and spruce, favoring pegged jodhpurs, clunky tennis shoes and a baseball cap worn backward — and, if he’s going out, in one of his pants pockets, a Taser, “one of the hardcore ones,” he says, meaningfully. Seems you can never be too careful. Last year, despite the presence of a mammoth security guard named Jeff, Feldman was allegedly attacked in his car by a hoodlum who ripped open the door and, he says, plunged something like a needle into his abdomen, injecting Lord knows what, which led to an emergency-room visit, lots of snickering from social media doubting Thomases who thought he’d pulled a hoax, and the addition of bentonite clay to some of his health shakes, to hopefully siphon off any new toxins in his system. The police seemed to have viewed whatever happened as a random road-rage incident, while Feldman continues to maintain it was a directed attack, though even he acknowledged that, at worst, he ended up with “the world’s smallest knife wound.”
Also, sometimes he’ll hide a tiny video camera somewhere on his body and record conversations with those he’s unsure of. He’s a little paranoid like that, perhaps not unreasonably so. As he says, “People constantly break your trust and use it against you. It’s very emotionally battering. I’m an intelligent person, but there’s something about me that’s very naive. I don’t understand a lot of the world still. But I am trying to get better at protecting myself.”
His cellphone beeps. He reads a text, groans, shakes his head and says, “What the fuck. Shit. Goddamn it.”
As of a few days ago, he had about 10 people willing to go before the cameras and tell what Haim had told them about his alleged rape. Feldman was psyched. Finally, it wouldn’t just be him speaking out. “Holy jackpot,” he said. “We’re fucking gold!”
But one by one they’ve been thinking twice. This latest backpedaler gave as a reason receiving a death threat on Twitter. “Corey, I feel terrible that I’m disappointing you,” she texted him. “I’m not being a flake, I’m just simply very frightened.”
Feldman rolls his eyes and snorts. “Oh, well, then, yeah, I totally understand backing out of your obligations. Like, what am I doing this all for if nobody is going to stand with me? That’s what made the Weinstein situation work. Everybody stood together!”
At the moment, lots of things do seem to be going sour. The Wolfpack, in particular, seems to have gotten under his skin. They call him “numb nuts” and predict he will soon die “from suicide or drug overdose.” They talk of blitzed-out sex orgies at the Feldmansion. They are constantly churning out YouTube videos and podcasts — mostly made by a self-proclaimed activist named Bobby Wolfe, hence the Wolfpack name — that make him look like a sicko at best. They come up with unsubstantiated allegations that almost instantly get trumpeted around the internet as fact and use them to try to, for instance, get Child USA to drop Feldman as one of its ambassadors or else they’ll call for a boycott on donations. It goes on and on, and Feldman sees the hand of Judy Haim guiding it all.
One day last summer, he dropped by the office of one of his lawyers, Perry Wander, who’s also represented Lindsay Lohan and Warren Beatty, and started talking about the Wolfpack.
“There’s an entire conspiracy that’s been formed of at least 30 people who are working under the guidance of her,” Feldman said. “Look, it’s a group of people put together by one person.”
That’s his latest theory: Judy Haim was paid to put together an anti-Feldman cabal and ruin him. (“This is the most ludicrous thing I’ve ever heard,” says Judy Haim.)
Wander sighed and said, “No. They’re put together by a woman who is protecting her son’s memory.”
“By saying he was never raped, which is a lie,” Feldman said. “How does that protect his legacy, anyhow? The legacy is the kid shows up on drugs all the time. The kid got fired all the time. The kid was seen as the train wreck of Hollywood. How does explaining to people why he was that way ruin his legacy? It’s the exact opposite. It shows people it wasn’t his fault. He was a victim and screwed up in the head because of what happened to him. And that’s why he would wake up in the ICU.”
Wander leaned forward. “I don’t think there’s a deeper grief than a parent losing a child, and I can see how a woman grieving over that loss could go overboard. Personally, I think you ought to take the high road and say, ‘This is a mother grieving.’ ”
Feldman’s eyes widened. “She’s trying to have my kid taken away! They’re making false assault charges against me. They’re trying to say I drugged girls and molested them. [Judy Haim denies it all.] Trying to ruin my marriage. She’s trying to make Corey Feldman look like a liar! Like a bad guy! When actually I’m a morally upstanding citizen who has never done anything to anyone.”
Later, on the street, Feldman shook his head and said, “I don’t think Perry understands the scope of what I’m dealing with.”
And sometimes it seems like Feldman doesn’t really understand the scope of what he’s dealing with either. Or the degree to which he seems obsessed. Or how odd it sounds when he talks about himself in the third person. But onward he plows.
In their prime, after The Lost Boys partnered them up, in 1987, he and Haim became known nationwide as the Two Coreys. They cruised in black limos together, hung out together at Alphy’s Soda Pop Club (for underage industry kids), snorted coke together, appeared in each other’s movies, had sex with each other’s girlfriends (or at least Haim did), saw their movie paydays plummet out of the stratosphere, sold CD collections on street corners for drugs (or at least Feldman did), and started a hotline for kids, with Haim sometimes giving advice about drugs while bombed. A young Claire Danes once dialed in.
Even so, they got into spats, most often over Haim’s continued drug use once Feldman cleaned himself up in 1995, and they didn’t see each other for months at a time. They reunited for a final time in 2008, for the Two Coreys reality show on Lifetime. Anything went except for one thing: the abuse they suffered as kids. But on the first episode of the second season, Haim let it rip about a hanger-on named Dominick Brascia. “You let me get fucked around in my life, man,” he hissed at Feldman. “Raped, so to speak, when I was about 14 and a half, and I’m saying this right now, by the guy you still hang out with, and [you] tell me, I’m 14 and a half, to take responsibility. You know exactly what I’m talking about. What’d you do, man, when you saw that going down when I was 14? You knew about it. Besides being his best friend. What’d you do? Fuck-all is what you did, man. Lines of cocaine with me. God bless you.”
Feldman looked blindsided and didn’t even try to rebut Haim’s accusations. How could he? He did introduce Haim to Brascia. (Brascia denied the allegation and died in 2018.) And he didn’t do anything once he knew what happened. And he did bring coke into Haim’s life, along with acid and heroin. But he was 14 too — a peer, not a parent.
“At the end of the day, how are these things another kid’s fault?” Feldman says now. “How is it a 14-year-old’s job to raise another 14-year-old? I was growing up myself. He was left unsupervised in a world of sleazeballs. He was an innocent child, I was an innocent child, and it was our parents’ job to protect us from the adult world.” And they didn’t, quite obviously.
Feldman grew up in Woodland Hills, a neighborhood in the San Fernando Valley. His father was a half-baked musician and mostly absent. According to Coreyography, his former-Playboy-Club-Bunny mother, Sheila, on the other hand, viewed her son as her own personal meal ticket after he was cast in a McDonald’s ad at age three. Soon enough, according to his memoir, he’d appeared in more than 100 commercials and 50 TV shows, with his mother force-feeding him diet pills to keep his weight down and beating him with a fist if he messed up on set. (His mother has denied it all.)
Then, starting when he was 14, came the alleged sexual abuse. First guy was an assistant, a small-time actor named Jon Grissom, who was hired by his father and who did prison time for child molestation in 2003. Feldman says the abuse went on for more than a year. He also claims, as he confirmed on The Dr. Oz Show, that the guy who ran the Soda Pop Club, Alphy Hoffman, molested him. (Grissom and Hoffman could not be reached for comment.)
“These men were circling around me,” Feldman says. “Me and my best friend were surrounded, being tossed back and forth between them without our knowledge, and it was just horrendous. . . . [Abuse] involves conditioning a child and grooming them and getting them ready for the days that they’re going to be molested. It involves putting people in place to make sure a kid is surrounded by only pedophiles.”
“It was the gossip back in the Eighties,” former Little House on the Prairie star Alison Arngrim once remembered. “People said, ‘Oh, yeah, the Coreys, everyone’s had them.’ People talked about it like it was not a big deal. . . . I literally heard that they were ‘passed around.’ The word was that they were given drugs and being used for sex. It was awful — these were kids. . . . There were all sorts of stories about everyone . . . that these two had been sexually abused.”
Some three decades later, however, Feldman’s claiming that the names he will soon reveal are or have been of Hollywood movers and shakers, A-listers and influencers, studio heads and the like, and that his revelations “can literally change the entertainment system as we know it, and I believe that I can also bring down potentially a pedophile ring that I’ve been aware of since I was a child. Right off the bat, I can name six names, one of them who is still very powerful today. [It’s] a story that links all the way up to a studio [and] connects pedophilia to one of the major studios.” The abusers on his list, however, are small-potato has-beens and hanger-ons, and the one big guy isn’t that big anymore.
This doesn’t mean that studio heavies couldn’t be involved in one way or another. According to Matthew Valentinas, an entertainment lawyer who co-produced the astounding and oddly ignored 2015 documentary about Hollywood pedophiles, An Open Secret, “They exist. They are there. There is no doubt about it.”
The idea of protecting child actors does get a lot of lip service in Hollywood these days. Take the 2012 California state law called the Child Performer Protection Act. It requires publicists, managers, acting coaches and head-shot photographers who work with child actors to be fingerprinted and have their names entered into a searchable database, but it’s not really enforced and never has been.
As a result, more kids are being put at risk than otherwise might be, with more victims being left to deal with the repercussions. The average age of coming to grips with childhood molestation and being ready to talk about it? According to Child USA, it’s 52.
At home, his wife, Courtney, is in the kitchen, juicing blood oranges and preparing lunch for the crew and her husband, who is falling deep into a moment of despair. He knows how Hollywood works, especially when it comes to anything that might disrupt business.
“What am I doing this for? So that everybody can ignore me, so that everybody in Hollywood can once again turn their backs on me and laugh at me and go ha-ha-ha? We need to prove that there is an orchestrated movement to silence me.”
Courtney starts up a blender.
“Maybe Hollywood realizes that they kicked me to the curb for nothing,” Feldman says. “And hopefully they embrace what I’m doing and say about that other guy, ‘You know what? This is a big sore at the bottom of our leg and we need to just amputate.’ Or they could go, ‘Well, we see all of the evidence, and, you know, screw you.’ Once this is out, I’m assuming millions of people are gonna see it. It’s gonna be everywhere, you know, no matter what happens.”
He looks around, like he’s waiting for someone to agree with him about this rosy scenario in which ultimately, probably, at least in his mind, he is restored to some semblance of his former teen-movie-star glory.
About six months later, Truth: The Rape of Two Coreys is almost done, with Feldman still making the rounds looking for a distribution deal and an infusion of cash so he and his cameras can afford to go confront Judy Haim in Canada and take on Corey Haim’s alleged rapist in Los Angeles, to give them a chance to respond to the movie’s charges.
His initial big hope had been Netflix; he talked to people there in early December. Pass. In mid-January, he went to Sundance and talked up Truth. Again, nothing. Later that month, he spoke with Lifetime, which did the 2018 Two Coreys movie, as well as the recent documentary Surviving R. Kelly. But no deal. “The fact that they passed was shocking,” Feldman says.
Meanwhile, he also says he’s getting poorer by the minute. “It’s fucking scary,” he says. “But at the same time, I have faith. I have faith that I’m supposed to complete my mission.” And what about the Wolfpack? “All they’re really doing is protecting a pedophile, and once the film comes out, they’re going to look just as foolish as all those rabid Michael Jackson fans who sit there and, you know, yell and scream and curse at people that say he might be guilty.”
from left: Corey’s first wife, Michael Jackson, Corey Feldman
Courtesy Corey Feldman
He insists it’s only a matter of days until a deal gets made. He’s been saying that for months now, however. It could happen, of course. Feldman’s a persistent guy. He’s not going to give up. But no matter his intentions or his words, or if, in fact, the public ever has a chance to see his movie, it does seem like a fight that, for him, may never and will never actually come to an end.
Editor’s note: After this story was published, a Feldman representative told Rolling Stone: “Corey just signed a deal with a company who is financing finishing touches of production and will be handling worldwide distribution. It is projected that the release of the film will take place in the fourth quarter of this year.”
It was the moment every movie star fears most. It happened about two years ago, the actor recalls, a tad defensively. There he stood, in all his A-list glory, in front of the full-length mirror in his bathroom. Nine times out of 10, the mirror was just that big shiny thing he brushed past en route from the shower to the bedroom. He wasn’t one of those actors. Despite his natural charisma, or perhaps because of it, he had always scored low on the Celebrity Vanity Index. “Admittedly, it’s a relative scale,” he says. “We do grade on a curve here.”
His first inclination, as he edged closer to his reflection, was to give himself the benefit of the doubt. He’d been around long enough to appreciate the degree to which harsh lighting and bad angles can make anyone look bad. But now, as the steam dissipated and the reflection took on crystal clarity, the time had come to confront a few essential truths. “You know how actors look in movies that ‘age’ their character over several years?” he asks. “I felt like I was glimpsing myself in the Act Three scene that begins with a tagline that reads, ‘Ten Years Later.’ It was kind of a De Niro in Raging Bull moment. Except not award-winning.”
The skin around his eyes bordered on slack, grayish. Although the rest of his body was in relatively solid shape—he still exercised regularly, albeit with varying degrees of gusto—the star detected telltale indicators of impending decline. There were “little blotchy patches” on his skin and “weird saggy stuff” on his upper torso. The latter was especially disheartening, considering his immediate goals. The actor was circling a film role that would require him to be, in addition to semi-athletic, half naked. Nobody, least of all him, wanted to see this body on a screen 70 feet wide.
Then there was his energy level, which had been heading south for months. Likewise his libido. If being a movie star was all about charisma, and charisma was a kind of energy, then he needed to start exploring alternative energy sources, and fast. To hell with all those damned protein bars and shakes and oxygen chambers. And, frankly, he’d tattoo PATHETIC on his forehead before he’d let some shiny plastics guy cut his face open, or shoot it full of goo, or do any sort of “work.” There’s no sadder specimen, in his view, than the actor who labors under the impression that no one can tell.
The first time he was offered H.G.H.—short for “human growth hormone”—it freaked him out. This was about three years ago, while he was vacationing with friends. During a late-night search for toothpaste, he found his friend injecting a needle into his belly. “Party, drugs, needles, bathroom,” the actor says. “Do the math.”
He was relieved to learn that the syringe contained H.G.H., which the friend was taking as part of doctor-prescribed treatment for a hormone deficiency. “Makes me feel 10 years younger,” the friend said.
The guy did have a certain zip. And he looked, if not younger, pretty good. But still. H.G.H.? The junk all those roided-out ballplayers were using? Why would any actor go there?
As it turned out, though, the actor knew plenty of people who used H.G.H. Most of them sang its praises, saying it made them look and feel stronger, sharper, younger; one of them, a studio executive, told him it had changed his life.
Two weeks later, the star again stood staring into his full-length mirror. He took a deep breath, pinched a layer of belly fat, and plunged the needle in.
A business in Hollywood is small potatoes until it’s known by three letters: CAA, MGM, PMK, SAG, UTA, WME. These days, though, nothing is hotter than Hollywood’s latest health-and-fitness craze: H.G.H. therapy. Just ask any major-league Hollywood player. Earlier this year, following a game of tennis at a swank Beverly Hills country club, a prominent movie producer sat nursing a sore knee. “Just take this,” one of the club members said, offering a vial of H.G.H. A former studio executive recalls a recent dinner out with one of his colleagues. “He’s a family man with a wife and kids,” the executive says. “And he just starts talking about using H.G.H. I was like, ‘Are you crazy?! You’re fucking shooting yourself up?!’ But he said, ‘No, it’s great. And I feel great in the morning. And it’s invigorating.’ ”
Both sources can rattle off a list of Hollywood H.G.H. users, starting with several top-shelf movie stars of both genders. H.G.H.—or “H,” as jocks call it—is an equal-opportunity employer, except as pertains to age. Although one particularly ripped twentysomething heartthrob is said to be on the needle, H.G.H. is largely the domain of stars who wish they were still under 35. The surest giveaway? “Any actor over 50 you’re still seeing with a ripped stomach and veins in his forearms is probably taking H.G.H.,” says a talent manager who represents one famously veiny TV star.
“I definitely saw a difference in my skin,” says Alana Stewart, an active member of the Hollywood social scene. “I know it gave me energy and made me feel kind of more balanced.” Before she began the treatment, she says, “I had started noticing a few gray hairs coming in. But I noticed that when I was taking it—no gray hairs.”
But don’t expect many on-the-record testimonials. So far, the only major players to step forward have been Sylvester Stallone, Nick Nolte, and Oliver Stone. To acknowledge H.G.H. use is to acknowledge weakness. “People talk about H.G.H.—which can cost upwards of $10,000 per year—the way they talk about people who get Botox or Viagra,” says a movie producer. “What you don’t ever hear is people talking about it as if they do it. It’s always those other dudes who look ridiculous.”
In a sense, H.G.H. is the love child of Viagra and Botox; when administered appropriately, it is said to smooth wrinkles, reduce body fat, and increase lean-muscle mass and bone density, while also improving one’s libido, mood, and overall sense of vitality—to the point that the recipient both looks and feels years younger. “It is a rejuvenating force,” says Dr. Uzzi Reiss, a Beverly Hills physician on the forefront of the H.G.H. trend.
In the late 1950s, doctors began injecting severely undersize children with growth hormone extracted from human cadavers. A protein produced by the pituitary gland, it stimulates the growth of pretty much everything, including cells, bones, and muscles. Major H.G.H. deficiency in children leads to stunted growth, even dwarfism. Supplies were limited and therefore restricted to the highest-need patients. Sometimes the treatment sparked modest growth spurts; sometimes the child experienced nothing except aching joints and crushing disappointment. The great leap forward occurred in 1985, when the Food and Drug Administration approved a biosynthetic form of H.G.H. developed by Genentech, the South San Francisco—based biotechnology company.
The modern iteration of H.G.H. went boom because the therapy showed promising results. The average pre-teen patient grew two inches, maybe a bit more; the gain, although modest by the standards of most people, was gold to the tiny nine-year-old everyone taunted in gym class. Side effects—the main ones were joint pain and swelling—tended to be mild and treatable.
Long-term risks were somewhat more troubling. Endocrinologists have been monitoring H.G.H. recipients ever since those first treatments. Now, armed with 30 years’ worth of data—a bounty, by new-to-market standards—the researchers found a few concerning trends, among them an increased risk of cancer, heart failure, and diabetes. The diabetes is thought to be caused by H.G.H.’s tendency to increase glucose intolerance (because the hormone impacts the metabolization of carbohydrates). But all pharmaceuticals pose some degree of hazard. The medical establishment, having done the risk-reward analysis, came down in favor of H.G.H. for appropriate patients.
The F.D.A. subsequently approved the therapy as a treatment for a handful of disorders that impair physical growth and development, among them Turner’s syndrome (a genetic condition in which a female does not have two complete X chromosomes), Prader-Willi syndrome (another congenital genetic disease, which causes obesity and reduced muscle tone and mental ability), chronic renal deficiency, and H.I.V.-associated wasting disease. The treatment’s efficacy in these areas was clear. You didn’t need to be a clinician to see that H.G.H. could keep an H.I.V.-positive patient’s muscles from atrophying, if only temporarily. By now pretty much everyone agreed the therapy was the gift that kept on giving; H.G.H.-deficient patients taking it experienced more attractive physiques—lean muscles, shrinking waistlines—and improved strength, speed, and endurance. They evinced a glow of skin and spirit, and presented as better versions of themselves; they were happier.
Fact check: False Mel Gibson quote on Hollywood
By Reuters Staff
3 Min Read
Social media users have been sharing content online that attributes a quote exposing Hollywood elites as pedophiles to actor Mel Gibson. This claim is false; the quote is fabricated.
Examples can be seen here and here .
Some posts use this quote: “Hollywood is an institutionalized pedophile ring. It is a den of parasites who feast on the blood of children. Every studio in Hollywood is bought and paid for with the blood of innocent children.”
The comment seems to stem from an article originally published on NewsPunch.com, previously “Your News Wire”. It has since been deleted, but archived versions can be found archive.vn/FyeKl and archive.is/SuTTt .
The article claims that Gibson explained to guests in a green room after appearing on the Graham Norton Show about the “real nature of Hollywood elites”.
A well-known actor speaking to a crowd of people about this topic would have gathered a lot of attention and been reported by major news organizations. However, a Google search of the quote only brings up social media posts, blogs and meme pages.
The original article including the quote was written by Baxter Dmitry, a possible pseudonym for an author who has been criticized for writing fake news articles (called out by Poynter here ). The website YourNewsWire has also been criticized for producing inaccurate content ( here ). Dmitry is still a frequent contributor to NewsPunch ( newspunch.com/author/baxter/ ).
The article has been copied or slightly altered and published to other websites and blogs, which has led to the wide circulation of the quote. Examples can be seen bit.ly/32OFv1s and archive.vn/lOqN6 .
Some posts make a longer list of claims appearing to stem from the same fabrication, which are beyond the scope of this fact check.
A spokesperson for Mel Gibson told Reuters via email that the claims are “100% fake”.
False. This quote attributed to Mel Gibson originated from a fabricated article.
This article was produced by the Reuters Fact Check team. Read more about our fact-checking work here .
Debunked: The conspiracy theories around the so-called Hollywood drug adrenochrome
THE CORONAVIRUS PANDEMIC has led to a surge in misinformation and conspiracy theories.
One of the most bizarre is the claim that celebrities and the ‘liberal elite’ have a secret child trafficking ring and that they extract a drug called ‘adrenochrome’ from these children.
The use of this drug has also led to a number of Hollywood celebrities catching the coronavirus, according to these conspiracy theories.
Where did it start?
Readers may remember the pizzagate theory from 2016 which claimed Hillary Clinton and others from Hollywood and the ruling elite were running a child trafficking ring.
One story centred around a Washington pizza restaurant called Comet Ping Pong, whose owner received hundreds of threatening messages. In December 2016 a man fired a gun inside the pizzeria, claiming he was investigating fake news.
Although this theory has been thoroughly debunked, it still lives on in certain parts of the internet – and it has evolved.
Through this evolution, the harvesting of ‘adrenochrome’ from children in the trafficking ring has been introduced. Adrenochrome, according to the theories, is a Hollywood drug, sometimes taken as part of a Satanic ritual.
Some theories claim that blood is drained from children who are kept at ‘farms’ and tortured. Adrenochrome is then extracted from the blood in a lab and sold to celebrities, or the blood itself is consumed, according to these conspiracy theorists.
Others claim the compound is harvested from an adrenal gland in the brain (adrenal glands are actually located above the kidneys).
So even those making the claims about adrenochome can not agree on how the extraction process or the method of taking the drug works.
Reports from conspiracy theorists often reference friends or sources who claim to have seen the extraction process firsthand or who have photographs of the children in torture camps that they refuse to publish in fear of their own safety.
Conspiracy theorists also claimed Tom Hanks contracted Covid-19 from a tainted batch of adrenochrome. Other celebrities such as Ellen DeGeneres, Heidi Klum and Michael Rapaport are accused by theses conspiracy theorists of being addicted to the ‘drug’.
In April this year a post published on Facebook accused Lady Gaga of “participating in vile, sickening rituals pertaining to adrenochrome and spirit cooking”.
“Satanic Democrat paedophile cannibals. These people are sick,” the post said.
The photo is actually of Lady Gaga performing interactive art with artist Marina Abramovic at an exhibition in 2013.
Another post in July claimed American rapper Sean ‘Diddy’ Combs wrote a book called ‘The Adrenochrome Witch’. Lead Stories found this to be false.
Social media posts have also made claims about Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg being involved in this scandal:
A spokesperson for Facebook confirmed to TheJournal.ie that this post “was not published on Mark Zuckerberg’s profile”.
Does adrenochrome actually exist?
Like most conspiracy theories, there is truth to small parts of the adrenochrome story.
Adrenochrome is not completely made-up – it is a chemical compound that is produced by the oxidation of adrenaline.
The SpinOff reported it can be used – though it does not appear to be widely used – to slow blood loss by promoting blood clotting in open wounds. It found most sellers state its source is synthetic.
Psychiatrists Abram Hoffer and Humphrey Osmond in the 1950s claimed that adrenochrome can form in the brain and may play a role in mental illnesses. They speculated that high doses of vitamin C and niacin could cure schizophrenia by reducing adrenochrome in the brain.
Other studies testing the use of megavitamin therapy to treat schozophrenia did not confirm any benefits of the treatment.
There have also been mentions of adrenochrome in fiction, which may be helping to back up the idea of adrenochrome as a recreational drug.
It features briefly in Hunter S Thompson’s Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas – both the book and the movie adaptation:
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In the story, the character Dr Gonzo says there is only one source of the drug – the adrenaline glands from a living human body.
“It’s not good if you get it out of a corpse,” he says.
In the novel A Clockwork Orange, there is also a mention of ‘drencrom’ as an addition to the cocktail Moloko Plus.
There is no evidence that adrenochrome is widely used by celebrities – particularly those in Hollywood – as a hallucinogenic drug, or for any other purpose.
There is also no evidence that it is harvested from children who are part of a trafficking ring.
And there is no evidence of any link between adrenochrome and celebrities contracting the coronavirus.
There is a lot of false news and scaremongering being spread in Ireland at the moment about coronavirus. Here are some practical ways for you to assess whether the messages that you’re seeing – especially on WhatsApp – are true or not.
STOP, THINK AND CHECK
Look at where it’s coming from. Is it someone you know? Do they have a source for the information (e.g. the HSE website) or are they just saying that the information comes from someone they know? A lot of the false news being spread right now is from people claiming that messages from ‘a friend’ of theirs. Have a look yourself – do a quick Google search and see if the information is being reported elsewhere.
Secondly, get the whole story, not just a headline. A lot of these messages have got vague information (“all the doctors at this hospital are panicking”) and don’t mention specific details. This is often – but not always a sign – that it may not be accurate.
Finally, see how you feel after reading it. A lot of these false messages are designed to make people feel panicked. They’re deliberately manipulating your feelings to make you more likely to share it. If you feel panicked after reading something, check it out and see if it really is true.
TheJournal.ie’s FactCheck is a signatory to the International Fact-Checking Network’s Code of Principles. You can read it here. For information on how FactCheck works, what the verdicts mean, and how you can take part, check out our Reader’s Guide here. You can read about the team of editors and reporters who work on the factchecks here
Have you gotten a message on WhatsApp or Facebook or Twitter about coronavirus that you’re not sure about and want us to check it out? Message or mail us and we’ll look into debunking it. WhatsApp: 085 221 4696 or Email: [email protected]
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Jim Caviezel, a Hollywood movie star, discusses adrenochrome and child sex trafficking during a movie promotion which proves that hollywood is involved in child trafficking.
Jim Caviezel is propagating a famous conspiracy theory, which remains unsubstantiated and has been debunked previously.
On July 23, a Facebook user shared an InfoWars video featuring Jim Caviezel, a Hollywood movie star. In the video, Caviezel talks about adrenochrome and child sex trafficking, and claims that several hollywood personalities are involved in child trafficking. Before we look into Caviezel's claim, let's break the claim down and understand what it means.
Firstly, InfoWars is an American far-right conspiracy theory and fake news website owned by Alex Jones. The website and Jones are both known for making unsubstantiated claims and for spreading fake news.
Secondly, adrenochrome is a chemical compound, usually found as a light pink solution, that forms by the oxidation of adrenaline, the stress hormone. It is not approved for medical use by the Food and Drug Administration. For conspiracy theorists, adrenochrome represents a psychedelic favored by the global elites which they derive from torturing children to harvest their oxidized hormonal fear. This conspiracy theory, which has existed for decades, has recently been pushed by QAnon adherents and has had a real, harmful impact in the last couple of year. The theory implicates several hollywood personalities and politicians and global elites and claims that they are trafficking children and those children are tortured for their blood for psychedelic experiences, satanic rituals, and even to extend their lifespan.. All of these claims are unsubstantiated and have been debunked previously.
Caviezel is just the new addition in a long line of people who believe this theory. The video shown in the Facebook post is from the at the Health and Freedom Conference, which took place in 2021 and Caviezel went on a wild tangent about adrenochroming. According to the Daily Beast, "Caviezel could have been brought into the QAnon fold through working on his new movie Sound of Freedom, which is based on the life story of Tim Ballard, who runs the controversial anti-child sex trafficking organization Operation Underground Railroad (OUR)." Caviezel also claims that Hollywood doesn’t want a film about the evils of child trafficking, resulting in Sound of Freedom’s delayed release, even though many films’ release dates were pushed due to the ongoing pandemic.
Caviezel connection to QAnon was explored at length in the popular podcast QAnon Anonymous in May 2021, where the the hosts concluded that he is “perfect for QAnon!” The podcast hosts interviewed three anonymous people who worked on Person of Interest with Caviezel and they said that he was “profoundly consumed by a jumble of bizarre religious, military and nationalistic fixations,” initially refusing to participate in an episode where he had to rescue a same-sex couple because it went against his morals. “All of them told me they felt Caviezel was homophobic and believed members of the LGBTQ community were going to hell,” the sources claimed.
In conclusion, this theory has existed for decades but there has been no substantive evidence of a child trafficking conspiracy involving Hollywood elites. However, the theory has taken the form of several protests and hashtags like #savethechildren trending on social media which have become extremely harmful.