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Elijah Wood thinks Hollywood has a child abuse problem

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Nick Pope
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It’s well known that an upbringing within the movie industry can have a detrimental effect on young actors’ mental health - but former child star Elijah Wood has hinted at a far more sinister side to growing up inside the Hollywood system.

In an interview with the Sunday Times, Wood compared anonymous child abuse allegations in America to the BBC’s Jimmy Saville abuse scandal.

For those who don’t know, Jimmy Saville faced accusations of child abuse thoughout his career, but it was only after his death that threats of libel suits lost their menace, leading newspapers to finally reveal the full extent of evidence against the long-serving entertainer.

"You all grew up with Saville – Jesus, it must have been devastating," Wood, 35, said. "Clearly something major was going on in Hollywood. It was all organized. 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."

Luckily for The Lord of the Rings star, his mother was "far more concerned with raising me to be a good human than facilitating my career."

"I never went to parties where that kind of thing was going on. This bizarre industry presents so many paths to temptation," he said. "If you don't have some kind of foundation, typically from family, then it will be difficult to deal with."

Asked by the Times if he thinks sex crimes are "still a problem for Hollywood," Wood said "these things probably still are happening."

"From my reading and research, I've been led down dark paths to realize that these things probably are still happening," 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."

"What upsets me about these situations is that the victims can't speak as loudly as the people in power," he said. "There's the tragedy of attempting to reveal what is happening to innocent people:

"They can be squashed, but their lives have been irreparably damaged."

His words are no doubt relevant to any parent wishing to throw their children into the shark-infested showbiz pool. But when all’s said and done, experienced Hollywood icons speaking out about such issues can only push the industry in the right direction.

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