In a new interview with the Sunday Times in the U.K., renowned actor Elijah Wood revealed that there’s a major problem of child abuse running throughout Hollywood.
The Lord of the Rings star didn’t give too many specific examples, but said, “There are a lot of vipers in this industry, people who only have their own interests in mind.” He then added, “There is a darkness in the underbelly. If you can imagine it, it’s probably happened.”
At one point in the talk, Wood related the systemic problems of abuse in Hollywood to the case of Jimmy Savile, a popular DJ and television host in the U.K. who allegedly spent decades sexually abusing both young girls and young boys. No charges were filed against Savile in his lifetime, though allegations continually surfaced against him.
It was only after his death in 2011 that the real scope of his crimes became apparent. As The Telegraph reported in 2012, Savile once told a reporter that his public reputation would likely implode after his death. “When I’m gone, they’ll say, ‘I always thought he was straight but he wasn’t—he was crooked.'” In 2014, BBC reported that at least 500 abuse reports had been filed against Savile.
In the piece, Wood sought to explain how so many victims of child abuse can be silenced by a system that simply chooses not to hear about it. “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.”
For his part, Wood credits the protection he received from people close to him with protecting him from forms of abuse while he was a young star in the film industry, but he also notes there are others who weren’t as fortunate to have a tight support system.