Actor Elijah Wood, best known for his role as Frodo in “Lord of the Rings,” is spilling the beans on a dark, ugly secret in Hollywood: child sex abuse.
The former child actor said in an interview with London’s Sunday Times that young actors are being sexually abused by high-powered predatory “vipers” in the movie industry. He says the abuse is “probably still happening.”
Wood draws uncomfortable parallels with English television personality Jimmy Savile’s scandalous sexual abuse of young girls. An “atmosphere of fear” at BBC is reportedly how Savile was allowed to commit his sex crimes for decades.
Despite years of rumors and innuendo, Savile’s crimes were only revealed after his death, leading to allegations of cover-ups by broadcasting giants and government figures.
Wood, 35, deeply sympathizes with Savile’s victims. “Jesus, it must have been devastating,” he says.
Wood escaped any childhood abuse thanks to the vigilance of his mother, Debra. He began acting in Hollywood at age eight, and said his mother was “far more concerned with raising me to be a good human than facilitating my career. I never went to parties where that kind of thing was going on.”
But Wood believes many other young actors are in active danger. “I’ve been led down dark paths to realize that these things probably are still happening,” 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. What upsets me about these situations is that the victims can’t speak as loudly as the people in power.”
There were “a lot of vipers in this industry,” he added. “There is darkness in the underbelly.”
These allegations are confirmed by another former child actor, Corey Feldman. “The number 1 problem in Hollywood was and is – and always will be – pedophilia,” he said in an interview.
In his book “Coreyography: A Memoir,” he recalls how a fellow child actor, Corey Haim, then 14, was molested on the set of “Lucas” in 1986: “[A]n adult male convinced him that it was perfectly normal for older men and younger boys in the business to have sexual relations, that it was what all the guys do. So they walked off to a secluded area between two trailers … and Haim allowed himself to be sodomized.”
Haim died of pneumonia in 2010 at age 38. Feldman claims an unspecified “Hollywood mogul” is to blame for Haim’s death.
In 2012, Feldman told a British tabloid that older men had been “leching around like vultures” when he was 14 and 15. The actor has suffered problems with drug addiction, alcoholism, and mental health problems.
Rumors of widespread child sex abuse have swirled around Hollywood for years. Anne Henry, co-founder of Bizparentz, a group set up to help young actors, said: “Hollywood is currently sheltering about 100 active abusers.”
Henry says a “tsunami” of sex-abuse claims was beginning, and she estimates about 75 percent of child actors who “went off the rails” later in their career had suffered abuse. “This problem has been endemic in Hollywood for a long time and it’s finally coming to light. … I don’t believe the most powerful people in Hollywood are sitting in a darkened room plotting to spread pedophilia. But very bad people are still working here, protected by their friends.”
In the last 10 years, Henry notes several wealthy and significant people in the industry have been convicted. Some have left prison and returned to Hollywood and continued to work with children.