Convicted pedophile and creator of the Jeepers Creepers films, 57-year-old Victor Salva, has been criticized after launching a casting call for an 18-year-old to play the part of a 13-year-old girl who flees her abusive grandfather.
After the Canadian Union of British Columbia Performers (UBCP), a local actors' union, released a notice detailing Salva's past, the advertisement for the role in the upcoming Jeepers Creepers III was removed from breakdownservices.com, the casting website it had been posted on.
In the message, the UBCP drew attention to Salva's conviction in 1988 for the molestation of 12-year-old Nathan Forrest Winters, an actor in two of his films. Winters was abused while shooting the 1989 film Clownhouse, and Salva filmed one of the encounters. He was sentenced to three years in state prison and served 15 months.
After the UBCP posted its message—which reminded members that "a performer has the right to refuse work if they believe the nature of the work is unsafe"—the website Salva's casting call was posted to removed the message and posted a statement:
"Upon learning of this notice and our own verification of the facts surrounding Salva's conviction, Breakdown Services has removed this project from its files... All submissions made by any agent on this project are no longer available to the casting director nor any member of the production staff."
Following his release and parole, Salva stayed away from Hollywood filmmaking for a couple of years, before returning in 1995 with Powder, the premiere of which was picketed by his victim, Nathan Winters. In 2001, he wrote and directed the horror movie Jeepers Creepers, which broke the record for the highest ever grossing Labor Day weekend release. Jeepers Creepers III will be Salva's first major studio film since Jeepers Creepers II in 2003.
In 2006, when promoting his film Peaceful Warrior, Salva made a statement in the LA Times seeking forgiveness:
"I pled guilty to a terrible crime, and I've spent the rest of my life trying to make up for it. For almost twenty years, I've been involved with helping others, I've been in therapy, and I've made movies. But I paid my debt to society and apologized to the young man. And all I can hope is that people will give me a chance to redeem myself."