AIP014 | The Film “An Open Secret,” and What to Do about Child Sexual Abuse in the Entertainment Industry (Part 1) – with Matthew Valentinas

AnOpenSecret_KA TinyIn this two-part series on the explosive documentary film An Open Secret, co-executive producer and entertainment lawyer Matthew Valentinas talks with Ben Hauck about his involvement in this important film about victims of sexual abuse and pedophiles in the entertainment industry.

In the interview, Matthew details how he brought on a production team and director Amy Berg, the social change for which the documentary the aims, and the story of An Open Secret through his eyes. He shares how difficult it is for victims to substantiate their claims of sexual abuse, and he explains that the studios, networks, production companies, and SAG-AFTRA are not doing enough to protect children from sexual abuse.

Matthew strongly recommends parents and families to take responsibility in taking care of their children in light of evident pedophilia in the industry, describing the processes of pedophiles and how their methods of building trust and “grooming” involve not just the children but also the parents. He outlines what quick steps children should take should they be the victims of inappropriate sexual conduct from people in the entertainment industry, urging them to come forward immediately when victimized. Matthew also addresses why unrelated credibility issues around one courageous victim chronicled in the film neither undermine the film nor undermine that victim’s claims of sexual abuse.

As Matthew reveals, the profits Esponda Productions makes from the film go toward the Courage to Act Foundation which aims to help the cause, and The BizParentz Foundation is another resource for children and parents looking for help in the entertainment industry. Rounding out the interview, Matthew shares where An Open Secret is currently playing and what the documentary’s future is theatrically and digitally (as of June 2015). He concludes with a call to action for victims to get in touch if they need help in dealing with sexual abuse.

☞ Listen to the Episode

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☞ Listen to Part 2

For Part 2 of this two-part series, listen to Episode 15 (AIP015).

☞ Mentions in This Episode

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Matthew Valentinas’s Bio
Matthew Valentinas
Matthew Valentinas

Matthew Valentinas is a Boston-based entertainment lawyer and literary manager.  Matthew has held various creative and business administrative positions in the entertainment industry working in both New York and Los Angeles since 1995.  This includes stints working with talent agents and producers, as well as covering acquisitions for an independent film distributor, and working in business affairs for international sales agents and with Sony Pictures Home Entertainment.  Matthew returned to his native Boston and founded The Law Office of Matthew Valentinas in 2009 while also establishing Mom’s Basement Management to manage writers, directors, and producers.

Matthew focuses on sourcing and exploiting life rights, non-fiction stories (including true crime) and undervalued or undiscovered intellectual property that may appeal to a broader commercial market. Matthew positions his clients’ material with publishers, production companies, networks and studios. Additionally, Matthew packages and produces motion pictures, television shows, and documentaries with independent financing to be licensed and/or sold upon completion. He received a BFA in Film and Television Production from the Tisch School of the Arts at New York University.  Matthew received his Juris Doctor in law from Suffolk University Law School in Boston. His academic focus was corporate finance and intellectual property.  Matthew is a licensed attorney in the State of Massachusetts.

Additionally Matthew is a co-founder in Mom’s Basement Media Inc. with Steven Kane. (MBM) is a management consulting company for the media industry that scouts and acquires intellectual property at the seed level.  MBM is Executive Producing the true life gangster film White Devil written and directed by James Gray, currently in development with Warner Bros. Pictures.

An Open Secret

Upcoming screenings:


The following foundations may be contacted for guidance and assistance in the face of child sexual abuse in the entertainment industry and are mentioned in the film and podcast episode. Articles on An Open Secret

SAG-AFTRA made headlines when the union contacted producers of An Open Secret in disagreement over its association with Michael Harrah, a co-founder of the SAG Young Performers Committee who when interviewed for the film was still on the committee. (Harrah has since resigned from the SAG-AFTRA Young Performers Committee.) SAG-AFTRA continued to make headlines when reported that a SAG-AFTRA executive “misled the union’s board of directors” about the union’s actions against the film.

Martin Weiss

The story of “Evan H.” is chronicled in An Open Secret, and an interview with Evan will be in Part 2 of this series (AIP015, out July 1, 2015).

Evan’s affidavit against his former manager Martin Weiss of Martin Weiss Management and Two Weiss Guys Productions helped lead to Weiss’s arrest and eventual “no contest” plea in the face of eight felony counts of child molestation.



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