Elijah Wood took on his first Hollywood role at just 8 years old, and now the Lord of the Rings legend has come forward to deliver some tough home truths about the organized child sexual abuse that he believes may still be rife in Hollywood to this day.
Speaking out to British newspaper The Times, Wood explained that, although he was lucky enough to have his mother to protect him, some of his fellow child stars weren't so lucky and ended up at Hollywood parties where they were "preyed upon" by suspected pedophiles.
The 35-year-old drew parallels between the situation in Hollywood and the grotesque campaign of sexual abuse that British TV personality Jimmy Savile orchestrated throughout his career:
"You all grew up with Savile. Jesus, it must have been devastating. Clearly something major was going on in Hollywood. It was all organized. There are a lot of vipers in this industry – people who only have their own interests in mind. There is darkness in the underbelly, if you can imagine it, it’s probably happened.”
Wood went on to add that he believes that the sort of sexual abuse that Goonies actor Corey Feldman has famously claimed he fell victim to is still rife today:
"I've been led down dark paths to realize that these things are probably still happening. 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. What upsets me about these situations is that the victims can't speak as loudly as the people in power."
Wood's claims come after controversy over sexual abuse in Hollywood has once again been in the public eye thanks to Ronan Farrow's open letter about how the industry has turned a blind eye to the child sex offense allegations against Woody Allen.
BizParentz, a group founded to help child actors and their families, released a statement after Wood's interview that read:
This problem has been endemic in Hollywood for a long time and it's finally coming to light. Very bad people are still working here, protected by their friends.
According to the founder of BizParentz, Anne Henry, three quarters of child actors that "went off the rails" later in life, such as Amanda Bynes, were likely to have been abused in Hollywood. The organization also claims around 100 active abusers are currently being sheltered, and say a “tsunami” of cases accusing industry insiders of child sexual abuse is pending.
Do you think that child sexual abuse is a problem in Hollywood?
(Source: The Times)