Elijah Wood, of “Lord of the Rings” fame, spoke out on Hollywood’s alleged pedophilia crisis over the weekend, comparing it to BBC presenter Jimmy Saville.
Wood, a child actor who appeared in “Flipper” and “The Good Son,” told the Sunday Times (via the Daily Beast) that Hollywood is in the midst of a child abuse epidemic, with rich and powerful industry figures abusing child actors seemingly at will with no repercussions.
— Indiewire (@indiewire) May 23, 2016
The 35-year-old actor said that he was protected from abuse by his mother, adding that he “never went to parties where that kind of thing was going on.” Other child actors, Wood said, were regularly “preyed upon” by “vipers” in the industry, he said.
“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,” said Wood.
“There is darkness in the underbelly. What bums me about these situations is that the victims can’t speak as loudly as the people in power. That’s the tragedy of attempting to reveal what is happening to innocent people: they can be squashed, but their lives have been irreparably damaged.”
“You all grew up with Savile … it must have been devastating,” he also said, referring to the Jimmy Savile scandal that rocked the U.K.
The Sunday Times also interviewed Anne Henry, co-founder of the BizParentz Foundation, an organization to protect child actors.
“We estimate that about 75 percent of the child actors who ‘went off the rails’ suffered earlier abuse. Drug addiction, alcoholism, suicide attempts, wandering through life without a purpose—they can all be symptoms,” she said.
Henry estimates that Hollywood is “currently sheltering about 100 active abusers.”
Allegations against top-level figures in Hollywood have ramped up in recent years. A documentary from Amy Berg, “An Open Secret,” said there were similar levels of collusion over child abuse in the movie industry.
Former child actor Corey Feldman, who appeared in “The Lost Boys” and “The Goonies” in the 1980s, has claimed he was surrounded by abusers. He also claimed that another child actor, Corey Haim, whom he became friends with, was seriously abused. Haim died at the age of 38 after years of drug abuse.
— Melissa (@Melissa_Sis) May 5, 2016
Feldman said previously that “a Hollywood mogul” is responsible for Haim’s death. The people who abused him, he added, “are still out there and still working—some of the richest, most powerful people in this business.”
“Diff’rent Strokes” star Todd Bridges said in 2010 that he was abused by his own publicist. He described begging to be written out of an episode “because I had myself gone through that, and watching it happen on the show it was like reliving that all over again,” according to the Daily Beast.