Elijah Wood, who started his movie career with a bit part in Back to the Future II when he was just 8 years old, says Hollywood is rife with pedophiles and he might have been a victim if his mother had been less protective. In a Times of London interview, the Hobbit star compares the abuse to Britain's Jimmy Savile scandal and says young actors were "preyed upon" at parties by powerful figures in the movie industry. "It was all organized," he says. "There are a lot of vipers in this industry, people who only have their own interests in mind." He says victims who attempt to speak out have been "squashed" and have had their lives "irreparably damaged."
"There is darkness in the underbelly—if you can imagine it, it's probably happened," says Wood, who says he didn't end up at shady parties because his mother was "far more concerned with raising me to be a good human than facilitating my career." The 35-year-old says he believes the abuse continues to this day. "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," he says. The Telegraph reports that according to the co-founder of the BizParentz Foundation, a nonprofit that seeks to improve safety for child actors, there are around 100 active abusers in Hollywood—and a "tsunami" of legal claims is on the way. (Read more Hollywood stories.)