Elijah Wood on vulnerable child actors: ‘There are a lot of vipers’ in Hollywood

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Former child actor, Elijah Wood, dropped a truth-bomb at The Sunday Times over the weekend. Elijah, who is currently promoting The Trust, a story about corrupt police, spoke of “rampant” pedophilia in Hollywood that he was able to avoid due to the protection of his mother Debra. Wood has since clarified that he was discussing a specific documentary on the topic he had just seen, An Open Secret, and has “no firsthand experience or observation of the topic.”

TRIGGER WARNING to everyone in both the post and the links. The story not only speaks of the prevalence of pedophiles but how they are protected within the industry. You can read the full Sunday Times piece here but you need to have or sign up for a subscription.

Elijah Wood, the actor who took his first film role aged eight before starring in the Lord of the Rings movies, has said that organised sexual abuse of children in Hollywood is rife.

Speaking to the Sunday Times, Wood said that although he had been protected as a child – mainly through the efforts of his mother, who stopped him going to parties – many of his peers were regularly “preyed upon”.

Wood, now 35, drew parallels between such experiences and the prolific sexual abuse perpetrated by TV host Jimmy Savile. “You all grew up with Savile,” said Wood. “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.”

“There is darkness in the underbelly,” he added. “If you can imagine it, it’s probably happened.”

The actor said he felt that such crimes continue to be unpunished because the victims “can’t speak as loudly as 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.”

Allegations against senior figures in Hollywood have increased in recent years. Last year, Amy Berg’s documentary An Open Secret alleged similar levels of collusion over child molestation in the film industry.

In 2012, the actor Corey Feldman spoke out about the threat he felt in the 1980s, saying he was “surrounded” by abusers, with around 15 older men “leching around like vultures”.

Bizparentz, a group founded to help child actors, claims around 100 active abusers are currently being sheltered, and says a “tsunami” of cases is pending.

[From The Guardian]

The Daily Beast has good coverage on this story as well. Again, Wood has explained that he’s only commenting based on articles and films he’s seen. However this is all too common. Corey Feldman has written a book detailing the abuse he suffered and, he claims, many child actors suffer. He said in a 2012 interview, “The No 1 problem in Hollywood was and is – and always will be – pedophilia.” Charges brought against Bryan Singer last year, spoke of drug-fueled parties involving underage boys. There was plenty of back and forth about whether Singer was guilty – the case was dismissed without prejudice – but no one denied the parties happened. The documentary mentioned in the excerpt, A Open Secret, cannot find distribution.

This all just turns my stomach inside out. In LA, when you have kids, you will likely be asked if you intend to get them into the industry. When it was my turn, I was counseled on everything from Coogan Law (dealing with a minors earnings) to proper audition room behavior. A lot of the discussion surrounds casting agents. At no point during did anyone grab my arm and shout, “and for the love of God, do not ever let that child out of your sight in the hands of those people!” Did they assume I knew better? I didn’t but I didn’t go that route so I never found out. I hope that any parent/guardian/child in Hollywood is told about BizParentz, SAG-AFTRA guidance, A Minor Consideration and any other organizations out there protecting children.

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Photo credit: Fame/Flynet Photos

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63 Responses to “Elijah Wood on vulnerable child actors: ‘There are a lot of vipers’ in Hollywood”

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  1. mme says:

    Go Frodo!

    • K.T says:

      It’s a real issue in Hollywood and Elijah Wood should be celebrated for highlighting that the abuse of child and minor actors is important and relevant right NOW. He may not have been a victim of sexual assault but I bet he’s talking about people or stories he’s familiar with… and how abuse occurs.

      • Naya says:

        I think he is now saying that his comments were based entirely on the documentary rather than anything he has seen or heard first hand. Some are calling it back pedaling. Still I think his speaking on this is a step forward.

        @Hecate Its true that the documentary Open Secret couldnt find distribution but it looks like the producers decided to just post it to youtube and let the internet do its thing. Heres a link https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=cyzfGfjkrWk
        (I’m on mobile).

      • joan says:

        Come on — if WE’re talking about it, you can’t believe HE didn’t know anyone who was talking about it in Hollywood. From personal experience.

        We know this is happening, a child actor wold have to know. You know when someone is checking you out, making eye contact, sending a vibe.

      • H says:

        @Naya Thanks for link, but not available in U.S.

      • K.T says:

        Thanks @Naya for the link. Ugh, it’s depressing a doco subject but really important – just skimming it now, I’ll watch it in full later. Movie & film production are rife for exploitation, I’ve always found it a very top down system, like the military etc. in some strange way. Elijah seems to be doing the verbal two-step but this stuff is so systemic even the hint of being a whistleblower gets jumped on by lawyers/fans/companies IMO.

  2. Pinky says:

    MANY OF THE PARENTS KNOW AND/OR TURN A BLIND EYE. The price of fame.

    –TheRealPinky

    • LizLemonGotMarried says:

      Geez, that’s the most disturbing thing I’ve ever read. That parents would be so desperate for fame to willfully allow their child to be abused.
      I think I might have lost my appetite, and I’m pregnant and have been eating everything in sight for weeks.

      • drnotknowitall says:

        I think in some cases, the parents do pimp out their children. In other cases, the parents are manipulated and are extremely naive. Still in other cases, the parents do their best and still this happens.

        I wish there were names. Because vague allegations won’t stop it. If this is so well organized and in the age of media, is there no way to document any of this or get a name?

      • Solanacaea (Nighty) says:

        But that’s a reality, some people aren’t parents, they are criminals..

    • JenniferJustice says:

      Courtney Stodden, Brittney Spears, Amanda Bynes, Kesha, Hayden Panetier, Michael J. Fox, Corey Haim, Corey Feldman, Leo DeCaprio…..all rumoured to have been sexually abused and all rumoured to have had parents who knew and didn’t care so long as it got them ahead. I’m sure this list is just the tip of iceberg – only some my generation I know of.

      • J.Mo says:

        Michael J Fox and Leo? I’ve never heard those rumours.

      • JenniferJustice says:

        allegedly, Charlie Sheen abused Michael J. Fox at a party and you’re not going to like this at all, but alledgedly Johnny Depp abused Leonoardo DeCaprio while filming What’s Eating Gilbert Grape. If you think about it, that would explain a lot – such as DeCaprios incessant need to have a pretty girl on his arm and Depps drugging and drinking.

      • paleokifaru says:

        Oh man I had never heard that about Depp and DiCaprio. When did that rumor circulate?

      • Timbuktu says:

        ? Charlie Sheen? Charlie Sheen is 4 years younger than Michael J Fox, I have a hard time imagining the situation where a younger boy could abuse an older boy. 4 years is a LOT when people are young. And neither one of them has developmental issues, so it’s not like Sheen could take advantage of that…

        Also, wasn’t DiCaprio 19 when he was filming that movie? Not saying 19-year-old can’t be abused, but is it still considered pedophilia (honestly don’t know and frankly don’t want to google it)?

    • holly hobby says:

      Not surprising. That’s how Michael Jackson got his playmates. He asked the parents to let the kids sleep over and those parents just willingly let them. Money talks!

      • holly hobby says:

        Did a choregrapher sue the estate for abuse? I don’t remember the name but he worked with Britney and Justin to name a few. I remember reading his lawsuit where MJ asked his folks if he can stay overnight. The folks stayed in a separate remote area on the estate. So I don’t know what you’re referring to Deedee

    • Sigh... says:

      Yeah, I mentioned this in Blake Lively/Woody Allen/Cannes thread: someone asked if Allen’s defenders would let him babysit, and I said YES.
      There are PLENTY of “parents” that would hand their kid over to the industry for as little as “fame by association,” let alone money, power, etc.

      Parents were still easily and eagerly leaving their kids w/ Michael Jackson who had, at the very least, inappropriate conduct allegations publicly following him from the 70′s (the first: another child star, whose name escapes me, was taken to a hotel by Michael, who signed in under a false name, W/O his mom’s permission).

      ETA: Rodney Allen Rippy was the child actor’s name

  3. paleokifaru says:

    I would love to see a celebrity take this issue up as their cause. Although considering how few are willing to stand up to Woody Allen, I’m guessing that won’t happen.

    • holly hobby says:

      Not to mention those who spoke out got tarred and feathered online – Susan Sarandon. The comments against her were brutal.

      • Zuzus girl says:

        Yes Holly, it was disturbing how so many went after her and the victims while lauding the perpetrators. As long as big money is involved, there will never be justice. I’m proud of him for speaking out.

    • Naya says:

      Every single time the victims speak up they are written off as fame hungry or spiteful or extortionists. Its going to take a successful actor who was once a child actor to beat Marty Singer and the smear machine. I’m talking DiCaprio level. Thats the type of name that would force the industry to shun Bryan Singer and ilk forever.

      • paleokifaru says:

        Now that would be interesting if DiCaprio commented on it. He seems to avoid a lot of talk of his private life though so it’s probably too personal for him even if he didn’t have a direct abuse experience. Shame someone like him or Ron Howard hasn’t spoken to this (that I know of) because surely they witnessed some shady stuff.

      • JenniferJustice says:

        Corey Feldman tried but all he got was flack about being “thirsty” “Hungry” “attention-seeking.” His best friend since childhood died from drug addiction brought on by sexual abuse and still, nobody did anything and yes, everybody in the industry knows it was Charlie Sheen and that there were many young male victims. Sheen is really something and frankly, I can’t wait until that POS dies. I seriously hope he suffers.

      • paleokifaru says:

        OMG I didn’t realize Sheen was involved in that but I am not at all surprised. I do remember Feldman getting side eyed because he had been out of the spotlight so yes people thought he just wanted attention back…which was just awful. I agree with Naya that it would have to be someone who had managed to transition into an adult star and stay successful to really bring light to this issue. Now that LOtR is long over I don’t think Woods will be enough but it would be nice if others added their voices to what he has already said.

      • H says:

        I agree with @Jennifer Justice. I read Corey Feldman’s book and I felt sick to my stomach on how he and the other Corey were abused (by different people). Sheen is scum.

  4. holly hobby says:

    I believe this. I mean if those pervs, Polanski and Allen can still work in the industry after what they did, I’m sure the others are protected as well.

    Don’t forget the guy who founded the boy bands in the 90s (N’Sync, Backstreet etc.), there were rumors he sexually harrassed the boys too. I do remember him being put away in jail for something. Not sure if it was for abuse.

    • LizLemonGotMarried says:

      Lou Perlman, right. Ugh.

    • Naya says:

      I dont even know if those constitute rumors when the Carter brothers confirmed it. Its telling that he went down for financial crimes rather than the sex crimes.

      • holly hobby says:

        You know it’s always harder to nail a criminal for their actual crimes. It’s much easier to nail them for financial matters. See Al Capone. He was put away for tax evasion – not murder and extortion!

      • paleokifaru says:

        They did? I totally missed that. Good for them for speaking up.

    • Melly says:

      Lou Perlman was sentenced to 25 years for running a ponzi scheme. from what I remember, he was convicted of conspiracy & money laundering.

  5. NL says:

    Good man.

  6. dana says:

    I want this story to fully come out, its long overdue. Its been swept under the rug for far too long. Using kids as twinks for film execs in a industry that hides and supports pedophilia. WE are talking about the same thing with the Woody Allen case, and the Cosby case, and the Roman Polansky case, and the Bryan Singer case. Somehow, the media and industry works to suppress the victims or call them out as liars or get them arrested to deny the truth and fix the problem. Bryan Singer case listed well known actors he was linked with in this partying scene, because thats how he lured young male stars with promise. The guy who brought up charges went to jail – case overturned and he was an addict now (surprise) and Bryan is working as normal, nothing came out and it all disappeared. But time is now to put an end to covering this up.

  7. flybaby says:

    And we wonder why so many of them are broken. And as if this abuse isnt enough society just throws them away and ridicules them when they are no longer cute and are showing the effects of their effed up childhoods

  8. Miss M says:

    Hecate, thanks for covering this story and for mentioning support groups to seek.
    Elijah Wood was very active child star in the cinema. I think he took a break in his teens?! It probably protected him to distance himself crom the industry for a while.

  9. Tessa says:

    Please update this with the statement he gave to The Hollywood Reporter saying his comments were taken out of context. I know you like the drama, but this is a serious subject and the Daily Beast didn’t report it accurately according to Elijah himself.

    • tealily says:

      I don’t think the follow-up comment really changes the substance of his statement, though. He made it clear that he didn’t speak from first hand experience in the original statement. I guess he just wants to be clear that he has no intention of taking this up as a cause, which is a shame really.

      (Also, not sure if it was added after you posted or not, but I do see a link to his clarification in the first paragraph.)

  10. Frosty says:

    Yesterday I posted a link to this story and also wanted to revisit the Stephen Collins case. Fair warning – this victim’s account is really disturbing and also goes to how protected abusers are by this industry.
    http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2986695/I-13-never-kissed-Mr-Collins-asks-comfortable-returns-totally-naked-puts-genitalia-right-eye-level-terrifying-Victim-accused-pedophile-Stephen-Collins-breaks-silence.html

  11. bebe says:

    Speaking of the media sweeping these issues under the rug, I was EXTREMELY disappointed with CB for not covering the Bryan Singer case and prior allegations against him when the previous x men movie came out.

    I’m glad to see it being discussed here now however I’d love to see it brought up whenever the X-Men franchise (the ones he directed) is mentioned just as Allen’s and Cosby’s crimes are noted in stories about them

    • tealily says:

      I agree with this. Just thinking about anything that has to do with Bryan Singer makes me puke a little. Which is a shame. I loved The Usual Suspects, but it will be forever tainted for me now.

    • isabelle says:

      Seriously how is Singer praised when his movies come out and reports of sexual harassment were brought against him? He is a reported predator with multiple rumors of his agression and yet when his new film is trotted out no big media will even mention it.

  12. rosie says:

    Thank you for writing this story Hecate. It’s very important for people to become aware of the awful abuse happening in Hollywood.

    I hope more major media outlets report on this story but I’m not too optimistic. The fact that The open Secret cannot find a distributor speaks volumes.

    Elijah better be careful, he is brave to even mention it but I’m worried for him.

  13. Lucy says:

    I sort of want Elijah to go up to Adrien Brody and break his nose now.

  14. knower says:

    Did anybody notice that once the dailymail article came out with elijah, it got ZERO TRACTION IN THE NEWS HERE IN THE USA?

    Dude, the media is complicit. They don’t want to ruffle any feathers at the risk of burning bridges. It took that long to bring Cosby down, and the recent article in Hollywood Reporter with Ronan about Woody Allen caused Hollywood Reporter to get barred from several Cannes events where Woody was…

    The internet is many good things and many bad things, but my favorite thing about it is…you can’t bribe it. That’s my only hope for transparency with creeps around in Hollywood. Just like the Sony Hack. These predators are one upload away from being locked away.

  15. drnotknowitall says:

    I know someone who worked on the set of Lucas. These are allegations that I heard a long time ago. Over 20 years ago I think. He told me that there was some arguments during the filming and that some people had suspected that Charlie Sheen had raped or molested the young Corey Haim. Apparently Haim did not want to press charges and Charlie allegedly said it was consensual. So everyone just dropped it because of who Charlie’s dad is. Some people on the set who heard about it were pretty pissed off, including my friend. But he could not do anything because no one wanted to press charges, including the victim’s parents.

    Years later I read about this very same allegation my friend told me about, only it was even bigger. Charlie and a senior producer were both molesting Corey and Corey thought it was normal, so he went along with it.

    • kimberly says:

      Thanks for sharing this info.
      It is just sad to see what people with money and power can get away with.
      And sadly it’s not only the entertainment industry that is involved in this.

    • H says:

      Corey was so talented and those as*holes deserve to burn in hell.

  16. poppy says:

    this guy! AMAZEBALLS.
    every little bit helps.

    the more information the public has, the more can done to protect and prevent and bring justice for the victims. like start holding the parents that look the other way accountable because they are literally trafficking their own children and should be punished, severely punished, as well as the perpetrators.
    predators are every where there are vulnerable children/people and hollyweird is no exception.

  17. Jojo says:

    Way to go Elijah! Another native Cedar Rapids, Ia. celebrity fighting the good fight!

  18. kibbles says:

    Elijah has always had a good head on his shoulders. I had a major crush on him in middle school so I have been following his career pretty much ever since it started. He was SUCH a good child actor, possibly the best child star of his generation, and he was incredibly pretty which makes me think he would have been extremely vulnerable to these predators if it had not been for his mother. She obviously did a good job protecting him from the Hollywood scene whether it be drugs, sex, molestation, etc. I never heard about Elijah getting into trouble. He seemed focus simply on making good movies. For those of you who do not know a lot about Elijah’s childhood filmography, I recommend watching Avalon, The Good Son, Radio Flyer, Forever Young, The Adventures of Huck Finn, and The War. He had the looks and talent but he was one of the few lucky ones who didn’t have to experience the seedy side of Hollywood to get good parts.

  19. kimberly says:

    After Corey Feldmen spoke out against pedophiles in this industry I felt as if this issue was swept under the carpet by mainstream media and IMO that was wrong.

    So when I saw a good number of media outlets covering this story I was surprised. I applaud Elijah for addressing this problem that is rampant and accepted in ‘Hollyweird’.
    I wish more former childstars who were victims would speak out about this.

  20. kimberly says:

    Another thing that comes to mind is that I always wondered if Lindsey Lohan was a victim.
    She is basically the poster child for all other messed up, former child stars.
    And then came Amanda Bynes with her mental health problems as reported by a few media outlets.

    Leo DiCaprio is also at the top of my list as one of those former child stars who I think MIGHT have actually been another victim.

    I just think his kind of lifestyle seemed odd to me especially with his constant partying and possible drug use at his age……as well as his meaningless relationships or flings with endless amounts of models young enough to be his DAUGHTERS.
    I know some people will make the argument that if they had his money and his fame they would live the same lifestyle and that he seems VERY happy…….but I think there might be an underlying problem that he probably has not addressed because if indeed my suspicions are correct, he might still be emotionally scarred……same goes out to Lohan, Bynes and Spears to name a few.

  21. LAK says:

    OPEN SECRET is on youtube. One of the accused predators managed DiCaprio…..

    It’s a miracle that this doc was made because the story it tells has been suppressed at evey turn. To extent that journalist who was writing it up in a mainstream paper was paid off after he had written the article, and the paper refused to print the article.

    Many of the accused were jailed, or publicly admitted their guilt, yet are still actively working in the same areas their convictions prohibits them from being involved. Protected by the system in the same way Polanski is protected.

    That’s a bitter pill to swallow for the victims. Corey Feldman is probably the only consistently outspoken child actor, and no one takes him seriously. As someone says upthread, this needs someone with mega-watt power to get some traction.

  22. kri says:

    I have that sick feeling that it is worse than any of us even want to know. Look how fast the Bryan Singer thing went away. I truly believe it’s a vast network-much like sports can be, or schools ( and one of our monks knifed himself in the chest when he got found out). Of course, I am NOT saying all people in these groups are pedophiles, but I think it’s an organization of sick people. They find any vulnerability they can exploit. God almighty.

  23. JRenee says:

    Stephen Collins wasn’t blacklisted. His show was briefly pulled off of the air and I believe it’s back on the air.
    This needs to be thoroughly exposed but I honestly think so many may be complicit or victims that this will be sweep under the rug again.
    I could never see myself allowing my child to work in the industry as a child…

    • Pepper says:

      He’s black-listed in the sense that nobody is going to cast him a legitimate project ever again. That doesn’t mean 7th Heaven or First Wives Club or his episodes of It’s Always Sunny will never air again.

  24. AnotherDirtyMartini says:

    It doesn’t even have to be the rich & famous that cause parents to turn a blind eye. My father confessed to my mother that he molested his three infant sisters (because “they wouldn’t remember it”) and he also molested his nephew. This happened before he knew my mother. She knows this, and then they have me. A baby girl. Call me crazy, but I wouldn’t trust the MFer – he never got help – around any child. Nope, not my mom! Instead, she buried her head in the sand while my father & that young adult nephew he molested (a teenager/senior in h.s. at that point) took their turns with me. And she thinks I have no right to be upset with her.

    I can’t believe I even still talk to her. My father is long gone from the picture.

    Sorry, guys. :( . These stories infuriate me. People need to shout it from the roof. I’m just now starting to talk about it, and it’s so damn hard. I think to myself why am I keeping so quiet? I’m just affording the abusers more protection.

    • Annie says:

      You have every right to talk about it. You may not be able to really confront your mother yet, but it’s important to find a therapist or support group to talk with. And also: you did nothing wrong, and your path to healing is entirely your own. However you choose to go forward will be the right way to go forward for you. I wish you the very best.

      • AnotherDirtyMartini says:

        Thanks Annie. I do appreciate that very much. I got a referral & now I just need to make that scary phone call.