HOLLYWOOD (Web Desk) – Hollywood is in the grip of a child sexual abuse scandal similar to that of Jimmy Savile in Britain, an American actor has claimed.
Elijah Wood, 35, who starred as a child actor in “Lord of the Rings” series, said paedophiles had been protected by powerful figures in the movie business and that abuse was probably still taking place.
In an interview with the Sunday Times, Wood said he had been protected from abuse as he was growing up, but that other child actors had been regularly “preyed upon” at parties by industry figures.
The actor, who played Frodo Baggins in Lord of the Rings, believes that other actors remain in danger. “If you’re innocent, you have very little knowledge of the world and you want to succeed,” he said.
“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.”
“You all grew up with Savile – Jesus, it must have been devastating.
“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,” he added.
Wood said the abuse was allowed to continue because victims “can’t speak as loudly as people in power.”
“That’s the tragedy of attempting to reveal what is happening to innocent people,” he said.
According to Wood, he had been spared similar experiences while growing up because his mother had not let him attend parties.
“She was far more concerned with raising me to be a good human than facilitating my career,” he said.
Allegations that senior Hollywood figures have been protecting child abusers have gathered pace in recent years.
Anne Henry, co-founder of Bizparents, a group set up to help child actors, said Hollywood is currently sheltering around 100 active abusers and said a “tsunami” of claims was beginning, the Telegraph reported.
Corey Feldman, another former child actor who started in films such as Gremlins, the Goonies and Stand by Me in the 1980s , has said that as a young teenager he was “surrounded” by abusers.
In 2012 he told a British tabloid that when he was 14 and 15 older men had been “leching around like vultures”.