Elijah Wood: ‘Hollywood in the grip of child abuse scandal similar to Jimmy Savile’
Hollywood is in the grip of a child sexual abuse scandal similar to that of Jimmy Savile in Britain, Lord of the Rings star Elijah Wood has claimed.
The 35-year-old former child actor said paedophiles had been protected by powerful figures in the movie business and that abuse was probably still taking place.
In an interview with the Sunday Times, Wood said he had been protected from abuse as he was growing up, but that other child actors had been regularly “preyed upon” at parties by industry figures.
“You all grew up with Savile – Jesus, it must have been devastating,” he said.
“Clearly something major was going on in Hollywood.
“It was all organised.
“There are a lot of vipers in this industry, people who only have their own interests in mind.
“There is a darkness in the underbelly – if you can imagine it, it’s probably happened.”
Wood said the abuse was allowed to continue because victims “can’t speak as loudly as people in power.”
“That’s the tragedy of attempting to reveal what is happening to innocent people,” he said.
“They can be squashed but their lives have been irreparably damaged.”
Allegations that senior Hollywood figures have been protecting child abusers have gathered pace in recent years.
Anne Henry, co-founder of Bizparents, a group set up to help child actors, said Hollywood is currently sheltering around 100 active abusers and said a “tsunami” of claims was beginning.
Corey Feldman, another former child actor who started in films such as Gremlins, the Goonies and Stand by Me in the 1980s , has said that as a young teenager he was “surrounded” by abusers.
In 2012 he told a British tabloid that when he was 14 and 15 older men had been “leching around like vultures”.
The actor went on to suffer mental health problems, alcoholism and drug addiction.
Wood said he had been spared similar experiences while growing up because his mother had not let him attend parties.
“She was far more concerned with raising me to be a good human than facilitating my career,” he said.
“If you’re innocent you have very little knowledge of the world and you want to succeed.
“People with parasitic interests will see you as their prey.”
Elijah Wood says his comments on child sexual abuse in Hollywood were taken out of context
A day after his comments about paedophilia in Hollywood caused quite the media storm, Lord of The Rings actor Elijah Wood said he didn’t have any personal knowledge of child sexual abuse in the industry.
The story was titled “Hollywood’s evil secret”, and the introduction explained: “Oliver Thring met Elijah Wood to talk about his latest film, but the Lord of the Rings star and former child actor had other ideas. Out poured revelations about convicted paedophiles working openly in Hollywood — and deep relief that he had escaped unscathed”.
The piece, carried in UK publication The Times caused an uproar and numerous articles dedicated to uncovering Hollywood’s child sexual abuse problem were published.
The Daily Beast hailed Wood for speaking out against the problem, as well as The Times piece for delving into Hollywood’s paedophilia “epidemic”.
But Wood soon clarified that his comments had been taken out of context by the Times’ interviewer, and that he had no personal knowledge, nor had he witnessed, any child sexual abuse in the industry.
Wood tweeted extensively on Monday evening, clarifying his quotes to the Times: “The Sunday Times interviewed me about my latest film but the story became about something else entirely. It prompted a number of false and misleading headlines. I had just seen a powerful documentary and I briefly spoke with the reporter about the subject which had consequences I did not intend or expect. Lesson learned. Let me be clear: This subject of child abuse is an important one that should be discussed and properly investigated. But as I made absolutely clear to the writer, I have no first-hand experience or observation of the topic, so I cannot speak with any authority beyond articles I have read and films I have seen.”
The Hollywood Reporter said that the documentary Wood was referring to was Amy Berg’s The Open Secret (2015). The article also reported that Wood’s remarks on paedophilia came up when the interviewer and he were discussing Jimmy Savile, the BBC presenter who was found to have abused hundreds of children for over six decades.