Elijah Wood: 'Vipers prey on Hollywood's child stars'
Elijah Wood has alleged child stars are constantly "preyed upon" in Hollywood by "people with parasitic interests".
The Lord of the Rings star, a former child actor himself, made the comments in a candid interview with the U.K.'s The Sunday Times newspaper, in which he likened the reported scandal to the sex abuse controversy surrounding late British TV and radio personality Jimmy Savile, who was only exposed as a paedophile following his death in 2011.
"You all grew up with Savile - Jesus, it must have been devastating," Wood is quoted as saying, referring to the discovery of Savile's sordid past.
He then opened up about the reported similarities in the movie industry, suggesting film executives protected those who targetted youths while he was trying to forge a career onscreen.
Wood continued, "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."
The 35-year-old claimed his mother protected him from the dark side of the industry by refusing to let him attend showbiz parties as a youth: "She was far more concerned with raising me to be a good human than facilitating my career," he said.
However, Wood believes child sex abuse is still rampant in the industry today.
He added, "I've been led down dark paths to realise 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."
Wood went on to express his sympathy for molestation victims, explaining, "What upsets 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."
The actor's remarks are backed up by Anne Henry, co-founder of Bizparentz, a support group for young stars, who alleges there are "100 active abusers" in Hollywood.
Goonies and Gremlins star Corey Feldman has previously claimed he was molested as a child actor in the 1980s, blaming the trauma for his subsequent struggles with mental health problems, alcohol and drugs.
He discussed his allegations in the 2015 documentary An Open Secret, which was directed by Oscar-nominated filmmaker Amy Berg and included interviews with other former child sex abuse victims.
- Cover Media