Director Victor Salva, whose new movie Jeepers Creepers 3 debuted this week, was convicted of molesting a child actor in 1988 and now he's joking about it nearly 30 years later. Victor Salva was 30-years old in 1988 when he was sentenced to 3 years in prison for molesting the 12-year old star of his first movie, Clownhouse over the course of 6 years. Victor Salva was arrested on 11 counts of sexual abuse. Additionally, Salva filmed one of the encounters, which was shown in court and was also charged with possessing child pornography. At the help of some Hollywood friends, allegedly including Francis Ford Coppola, Salva only served 15 months of his 3-year sentence.
With such a sordid past, one would think that director Victor Salva would have hopefully learned his lesson, but as it turns out, he hasn't. While no scenes in the movie depict molestation, IGN reports that there is a joke included in Jeepers Creepers 3 when two adult characters are talking about the sexual abuse of a 13-year old girl at the hands of her father. The exchange between the two characters expresses sympathy for the child's abuser and it is disgusting. One character says...
"Can you blame the step-dad, though? I mean, look at her. The heart wants what it wants, am I right?"
The scene, which was featured in screener copies of the movie sent in advance to critics, has since been removed from the version of the movie that has been publicly screened and on the upcoming Blu-ray/DVD. Even after the change, and the fact that Victor Salva's name does not appear on any press releases for the movie mailed to journalists by its distributor, many have spoken out about Victor Salva's involvement in Hollywood and rightfully so. It is despicable that Salva was allowed to include such a tasteless joke into the movie.
Victor Salva's history rightfully caused numerous production delays on Jeepers Creepers 3 and should have sunk the movie entirely, but it obviously didn't do much to stop the director. The Union of British Columbia Performers made an official warning against Salva and urged actors not to audition or accept a part in the movie after a casting call revealed Salva was looking for an 18-year-old to play a character whose stepfather made "overtures" at her when she was 13. Salva left this backstory in the movie for the theatrical cut. Despite the warning, the role was eventually filled by actress Gabrielle Haugh, who has appeared on the Netflix series 13 Reasons Why.
At the time of this writing, Victor Salva is writing Jeepers Creepers 4, but it isn't clear if the director will be able to find any financial backing after the news gets out of his little "joke" included in this Jeepers Creepers sequel. Hopefully, this is the final nail in the coffin for Victor Salva's Hollywood career, but we'll have to wait and see. In other news, Salva's victim, Nathan Forrest Winters, has recently started public speaking tours to educate and raise awareness about sexual abuse and he expects to launch a documentary about his experiences soon. Head over to IGN to read their review of Jeepers Creepers 3 and you can seek out Nathan Forrest Winters' GoFundMe page to help raise awareness for sexual abuse.