Elijah Wood has been in the entertainment business most of his life.
Having started out doing local modeling and commercial work in Cedar Rapids, Iowa, he moved out to Los Angeles with his family as an 8-year-old in the mid-1980s, where he got work on the Paula Abdul music video “Forever Your Girl” and gained acclaim in the ’90s movie “Avalon.”
Though it seems like a glamorous way to be brought up, Wood, now 35, is revealing for the first time that Hollywood is dealing with a child sexual-abuse epidemic.
In a revealing piece about the “Lord of the Rings” star for The Sunday Times, Wood is quoted saying child actors are regularly “preyed upon” by “vipers” in Hollywood.
Wood told The Times that he “never went to parties where that kind of thing was going on,” because his mother, Debra, protected him from interacting with people who could take advantage of him.
But he did note: “I’ve been led down dark paths to realize that these things are probably still happening.”
Wood is not the first former child star over the years to make this claim.
In 2011, Corey Feldman told ABC’s “Nightline” that he has been a victim of sexual abuse by men in Hollywood.
“I can tell you that the No. 1 problem in Hollywood was and is and always will be pedophilia,” he said. “That’s the biggest problem for children in this industry … It’s the big secret.”
Last year, the documentary “An Open Secret” delved into accusations of a pedophile ring in Hollywood. It put a spotlight on accusations by adults who said they were abused by men in the film industry when they were child actors.
A large portion of the movie explores the convicted sex offenders who owned and operated the late-’90s multimedia company Digital Entertainment Network.
Though it was directed by Oscar-nominated filmmaker Amy Berg, the film had a very small theatrical release.
Wood, who has seen “An Open Secret,” said in the Times story that the film “only scratches the surface. I feel there was much more to this story than it articulates.”
“People with parasitic interests will see you as their prey,” Wood said of child actors who know little about the business and want to find a way to succeed. “What upsets me about these situations is that the victims can’t speak as loudly as the people in power.”