“I have no firsthand experience or observation of the topic, so I cannot speak with any authority beyond articles I have read and films I have seen.” – Elijah Wood
by Julia Brucculieri
UPDATE (May 24): After receiving new information from a representative for Elijah Wood, it’s clear that the quotes he gave to The Sunday Times last weekend were taken out of context.
Wood clarified his comments in an interview with The Hollywood Reporter, noting that he only spoke about the subject of child sex abuse for a few minutes and he wasn’t speaking from personal experience. Instead, the topic came up while discussing Amy Berg’s documentary, “An Open Secret,” about Hollywood’s history with child abuse.
“The Sunday Times interviewed me about my latest film, but the story became about something else entirely,” Wood said. “It prompted a number of false and misleading headlines. I had just seen a powerful documentary and I briefly spoke with the reporter about the subject, which had consequences I did not intend or expect. Lesson learned.”
“Let me be clear: This subject of child abuse is an important one that should be discussed and properly investigated,” he continued. “But as I made absolutely clear to the writer, I have no firsthand experience or observation of the topic, so I cannot speak with any authority beyond articles I have read and films I have seen.”
PREVIOUSLY: In an interview with The Sunday Times published on Sunday, Elijah Wood opened up about Hollywood’s problem with the sexual abuse of children.
The 35-year-old actor explained that Tinseltown has a history of abuse scandals that may still be happening. As a former child actor himself, he sympathizes.
While he was fortunate enough to have his mother protect him when he went to Hollywood as a kid, Wood admitted, “I’ve been led down dark paths to realize that these things probably are still happening.”
He also said there are “a lot of vipers in this industry” and that Hollywood has “darkness in the underbelly.”
“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.”
Note: This story has been updated to include more information about Wood’s interview with The Sunday Times and to clarify his comments about sexual abuse in the entertainment industry.
The 35-year-old former child actor 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.
“You all grew up with Savile – Jesus, it must have been devastating,” he said.
“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.”
People with parasitic interests will see you as their preyElijah Wood
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.
“They can be squashed but their lives have been irreparably damaged.”
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.
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.
|Jamison Newlander, Corey Haim and Corey Feldman in The Lost Boys (1987). Haim died of a drug overdose in 2010 CREDIT: REX|
In 2012 he told a British tabloid that when he was 14 and 15 older men had been “leching around like vultures”.
The actor went on to suffer mental health problems, alcoholism and drug addiction.
Wood said 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.
“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.”
Jimmy Savile’s sex offending at the BBC
Highlighted instances of sex abuse carried out by the late DJ while working for the BBC:
- Savile sexually assaulted 57 women/girls and 15 boys
- 21 of Savile’s female victims were aged under 16 (the youngest sexual assault victim was eight)
- 36 of his female victims were aged 16 or over
- 13 of Savile’s victims were boys aged under 16 (the youngest sexual assault victim was nine)
- 2 male victims were aged 16 or over
- The youngest girl Savile raped was aged 13
- The youngest boy Savile raped was aged 10
- The earliest known incident was the rape of a 13-year-old girl at Lime Grove in 1959
- Savile’s last known incident was in 2006, involving the indecent touching of an adult woman following the last Top of the Pops recording
- Dame Janet identified 72 BBC victims of Savile in connection with his work at the BBC, including eight rapes (six female and two male) and one attempted rape (female).
- The majority of his assaults took place in the Seventies (44), one took place in 1959, 10 in the Sixties, 17 in the Eighties, three in the Nineties and one in the 2000s
- The largest number (19) were assaulted in connection with Top of the Pops.
- 17 victims were assaulted in connection with Jim’ll Fix It
found on Deus Nexus
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