LOS ANGELES – Some anti-bullying experts are calling foul after former child actor Corey Feldman likened online criticism of his money-making lingerie birthday party to cyber bullying.
Held at his "Feldmansion," the party (which guys could reportedly attend for $250, and was free to gals), featured scores of scantily clad women, many in angel outfits, who he dubbed "Corey's Angels." In photos of the soiree published by Vice magazine, Feldman is wearing a mask and a robe alongside his barely clothed female guests in a home covered with posters of his movies from the 1980s.
Apparently Feldman thought the photos Vice ran portrayed his party in a negative light and, thus, were a form of bullying. In a press release distributed on Tuesday, Feldman lashed out at those who had trashed his party. “Bullying is present in schools, homes, professional environments and online and here is a case no different from just that,” Feldman stated. “I can take criticism, but what people are saying online as of late is far beyond that.”
Many disagreed with Feldman’s take, and noted that while some comments directed toward him may have been inappropriate, it was wrong to use the serious issue of bullying to promote his own agenda.
“This is horrible! I can’t believe that Corey would utilize such a serious issue to gain traction for his ‘comeback.’ If this is what I think it is, Corey should be ashamed and every national bullying organization should demand he apologize,” Dr. Chuck Williams, Drexel University Clinical Professor and Director of the Center for the Prevention of School-Aged Violence. “This could be what I call the ‘Miley Cyrus Effect’ – doing anything, no matter how pathetic, in order to get attention.”
Beverly Hills-based clinical psychologist Dr. Jared Maloff also pointed out that while celebrities are often easy targets for keyboard bullies, criticism is different.
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“Anyone using the public eye for their personal gain is going to be subjected to criticism,” Maloff said. “Not everyone has to like the material released, and for Mr. Feldman, it is simply an occupational hazard.”
James McGibney, co-founder of BullyVille.com told FOX411 that bullying can occur no matter a person’s stature, but that making false accusations of bullying doesn't help anyone. “If any child or adult claims to be being bullied, then it needs to be seriously looked at, as bullying at any age can occur and is a serious thing,” he said. “However, if false claims (of bullying) are made, then it will negatively impact those who are genuinely suffering from bullying cases in their lives.”
Pop culture site Uproxx called Feldman’s cyber-bullying accusations “a novel bit of spin doctoring.” Indeed Feldman’s press release seemed to use the bullying accusation as a springboard to publicize his other business ventures, including a follow-up event in October, a clothing line, an autobiography, a new movie, and new music.
Still, others are willing to give the “Lost Boys” star the benefit of the doubt.
“We have no idea how Corey is feeling after his seeing negative words written about him. If he was hurt, then he was hurt, and I feel horrible for anyone who gets hurt by another's words,” said Elissa Kravetz, co-partner of Kravetz PR and founder of the non-profit, anti-bullying organization The Farley Project. “If Corey wants to also use this time to spread awareness for what he has going on, then good for him!”
Though his press release invited interviews with Feldman, his rep did not respond to a request for further comment.
Danielle Jones-Wesley contributed to this report.