Full time actor and three-time hobbit Elijah Wood has hastily backtracked on comments he made about Hollywood‘s problem with paedophilia – although not, it needs to be stressed, that there isn’t one.
Yesterday, the Sunday Times ran a piece that lead with Wood’s comments, before fleshing the piece out further with other reports.
“Jesus, it must have been devastating,” he said of Jimmy Savile. “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. If you can imagine it, it’s probably happened.”
These quotes (and others) shaped the Sunday Times’ entire article, and were picked up and run with by media organisations worldwide (including this one). This was the Sunday Times’ headline:
However, Wood has now been forced to make it very, very clear that he has no firsthand experience of observation of the topic. Instead, he says that he had merely spoken briefly about the topic with the reporter, and was in fact influenced by his only source of knowledge for child actor sex abuse outside of news reports: the 2015 documentary An Open Secret.
He told The Hollywood Reporter:
“The Sunday Times interviewed me about my latest film, but the story became about something else entirely. 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. 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.”
So, uh, yeah. There probably is a major problem with paedophilia in Hollywood – the OG article reported a stat that around 75% of child stars who go ‘of the rails’ were abused – but Elijah Wood isn’t blowing the lid on anything.
However, he did bring light to An Open Secret, which documents several cases of sexual abuse against child actors. The film received a major interested in Cannes at 2014, yet failed to find a distributor, a fact which executive producer Matthew Valentinas blamed on the “key business players” preventing it’s release (some of the people accused are very powerful people in Hollywood.) It can now be found on YouTube.
Photo: Getty / Larry Busacca.