Last year’s Oscar-winning movie ‘Spotlight” showed us how the dark stain of child sex abuse has tainted the Catholic Church. But Hollywood itself has been a den of paedophiles and child rapists for decades and still is, claimed “Lord of the Rings” star Elijah Wood. Many child actors were left scarred and damaged as a result of these abuses. While some have been able to expose their dark pasts, others remain in fear.
Speaking to The Sunday Times, Elijah Wood, a former child actor who began working at the age of eight, compared the child sex abuses in Hollywood to that of Jimmy Savile sexual abuse scandals in Britain, reports The Telegraph and People.
The now 35-year-old actor said, “You all grew up with Savile – Jesus, it must have been devastating. 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.” He added, “There is darkness in the underbelly – if you can imagine it, it’s probably happened.”
Elijah Wood also told The Sunday Times that he thinks such abuses still continue in Hollywood. “From my reading and research, I’ve been led down dark paths to realise that these things probably are still happening,” the actor 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.”
Wood was lucky, though, he says, thanks to his mother who never prioritised her son’s career over his well-being and character. “I never went to parties where that kind of thing was going on. This bizarre industry presents so many paths to temptation,” he said, adding that strong values, protection, and support from family members are needed to resist such predators and the temptations of fame, otherwise “it will be difficult to deal with.”
Elijah Wood added that the most upsetting aspect of this crime is that the victims’ voices are more often than not, suppressed by those in power. The victims are also often threatened with further harm by the abusers. Because they’re afraid, they choose to keep mum, the effects of which are psychologically damaging.
Actor Corey Feldman (“The Goonies”), in 2012, had told The Sun, “When I was 14 and 15 things were happening to me. These older men were leching around like vultures. It was basically me lying there pretending I was asleep and them going about their business.” His fellow “The Lost Boys” co-star and friend Corey Haim was also sodomised by an older man in the movie business in the 1980s, Feldman noted in his memoir “Coreyography: A Memoir.”
As noted by The Australian, Anne Henry, who co-founded BizParentz Foundation to protect child actors, said paedophiles “don’t want victims to be believed” and estimates that “about 75 percent of the child actors who ‘went off the rails’ suffered earlier abuse.” She adds that drug addiction, alcoholism, suicide attempts, a sense of purposelessness can be symptoms of sex abuse.