Elijah Wood Clarifies Earlier Remarks About Child Sex Abuse in Hollywood: ‘I Have No Firsthand Experience or Observation of the Topic’

The Samsung Studio At SXSW 2016
Elijah Wood. Photo: Jonathan Leibson/Getty Images

“If you can imagine it, it’s probably already happened,” Elijah Wood said in an interview with the Sunday Times while discussing child sex abuse in Hollywood. Wood, a former child star, claimed that many of his peers were “preyed upon” by figures in power, though he himself was protected by his mother, who prevented him from going to parties. Many of these crimes go unpunished, Wood said, because victims “can’t speak as loudly” as the powerful figures in question. “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.” In the interview, Wood also brought up Jimmy Savile, the former BBC host who has been accused of molesting more than 500 children. “You all grew up with Savile,” he said. “Jesus, it must have been devastating. 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.”

Update: In a new statement, Wood stressed the fact that he himself has never been a victim of abuse in the industry, and that his comments were made as part of a conversation about Amy Berg’s 2015 child-abuse documentary, An Open Secret. “The Sunday Times interviewed me about my latest film, but the story became about something else entirely,” Wood explained. “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.” As Wood told The Hollywood Reporter, “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.”

Elijah Wood Clarifies Child Sex Abuse Comments