Hollywood’s Dark Secret: Pedophilia, Child Actors and Those Who Escaped

The dark underbelly of Hollywood has recently come to light as former child actors expose the "open secret."

By Nancy Flory Published on May 31, 2016

Child abuse runs rampant in Hollywood, according to former child actor Elijah Wood, star of The Lord of the Rings, in a recent interview in The Sunday Times. Wood said there’s a dark underbelly of Hollywood, filled with “vipers” who only have their own interests in mind: “If you can imagine it, it’s probably happened.” He compared the situation to BBC’s DJ Jimmy Savile, who is believed to have sexually abused at least 500 women, girls and boys over four decades.

Wood said that his mother protected him from abuse when he moved to Hollywood, by keeping him away from the parties where a lot of the abuse occurred. Others weren’t so lucky.

Wood’s claim is substantiated by another former child actor, Corey Feldman, best known for his roles in ’80s classics like Stand by Me and The Lost Boys. Feldman told a British paper that he was “surrounded” by abusers at a young age and that older men were “like vultures” preying on the young actors. He later suffered from alcohol and drug abuse as well as mental health problems, reports The Telegraph.

Getting Worse, Not Better

In an ABC News interview, Feldman says the problem of sexual predators in Hollywood isn’t going away. “I can tell you that the number one problem in Hollywood was and is and always will be pedophilia,” said Feldman.

The “vultures” he described were “Hollywood moguls” who sexually abused him and his friend, child actor Corey Haim, among others. Feldman believes the abuse contributed to Haim’s death in 2010, as Haim’s drug addiction was a method of coping with the sexual abuse that occurred.

“There are people in this industry who have gotten away with it for so long that they feel they’re above the law,” Feldman said. “That’s gotta change. That’s gotta stop.”

“They reach out to little kids on Twitter, they reach out to little kids on Facebook, and they say, ‘I’m a big producer and I can help you.’ With social media, we have more access than ever to everybody,” said Feldman. “It’s a growing problem, not a shrinking problem.”

Feldman said that at least one of his molesters still works in Hollywood — in a prominent position — although he won’t say who. “I would love to name names,” he said. “I’d love to be the first to do it. But unfortunately, in California, conveniently enough, there is a statute of limitations that prevents that from happening. Because if I were to go and mention anybody’s name, I would be the one that would be in legal problems, and I’m the one that would be sued.” Feldman added that all of the men who passed the two Coreys back and forth were friends, and used intimidation and threats to keep the boys silent about the abuse.

Anne Henry, one of the founders of BizParentz Foundation, a group that supports child actors and their families, said that all child actors have come into contact with a child molester at one point in their career. “I do not think it is an exaggeration to say that every child actor would have brushed shoulders with a pedophile,” she told Fox News. “For us, the pedophilia issue is not new at all and, sadly, is something we have had to educate ourselves about since no one in the entertainment industry was recognizing it.”

Bryan Singer and the Open Secret

The parties Wood referred to are well-known around Hollywood, parties that allow “the young and impressionable to rub up against Hollywood elite — including prominent writers, directors and actors…” but which left damaged children in their wake. These parties were apparently used by the “Hollywood elite” to hand-pick young boys to abuse for their own sexual perversion.

Bryan Singer, X-Men director and one of the most powerful gay men in Hollywood, is now involved in litigation for alleged sex crimes against young men who attended his parties. According to Gawker, Singer’s “henchmen” would scope out young boys at the parties and bring them to Singer for sex. The young men, who desired to break into the acting scene, believed that this was their way to the top.

One young man who attended Singer’s parties recalled how he asked another boy whether he was trying to sleep with someone at the party. The young man responded, “Well, I’m trying to be an actor and this is how it is.” When asked why he didn’t just go to an audition, the boy replied, “Well there are 1,000 people who go to an audition, but I can just get a director or a producer’s phone number.”

Singer wasn’t alone in his alleged predatory acts. An Open Secret, a documentary about “the alleged pedophilic ring of convicted and accused molesters linked to lavish, drug-fueled parties,” outs several Hollywood names, such as Singer’s associates Marc Collins-Rector, Chad Shackman, former child actor Brock Pierce (The Mighty Ducks), and Brian Peck. Peck is an actor, dialogue coach and convicted sex offender who had a cameo in Singer’s X-Men, reports The Daily Mail. Though he’s barred from working directly with children, he is not prohibited from working on shows featuring children.

Polanski: Convicted Pedophile, Hollywood Hero

Director Roman Polanski’s well-publicized sex abuse case highlights the problem with pedophilia in Hollywood and the difficulty law enforcement has in prosecuting the cases — particularly when the offender is not an American citizen. In 1977, Polanski raped a 13-year-old girl he had plied with champagne and drugs. Although he pled guilty and served 42 days in a California jail, he fled to France before his final sentencing. Far from being an outcast, Hollywood has embraced Polanski, ignoring the attempts to press charges.

Since the sexual abuse of a minor occurred in 1977, Polanski has made numerous movies and won an Academy Award for the 2003 film, The Pianist. Directors Martin Scorsese, David Lynch, Woody Allen and many others signed a petition in 2009 calling for his release from a Swiss jail on the statutory rape case, while film producer Harvey Weinstein described the original charge a “miscarriage of justice,” adding, “Whatever you think about the so-called crime, Polanski has served his time.” In reality, it appears that Polanski has only actually been incarcerated for 42 days.

In a new development this week, Poland’s justice minister has revived an effort to have Polanski extradited to the United States, asking Poland’s Supreme Court to annul a ruling blocking Polanski’s extradition. 

The Importance of Parental Protection

Michael Harrah, a children’s talent manager in Hollywood, confessed in his An Open Secret interview to sexually abusing at least one child actor. What Harrah said on camera spoke volumes about the importance of parental control and protection, as well as the expectation that to get ahead the child actors had to allow themselves to be abused: “Many of the kids that I worked with couldn’t have even been able to take advantage of being in the industry had they had their families move here with them.”

Mara Wilson, who played little Natalie Hilliard in Mrs. Doubtfire, said in her article “7 Reasons Child Stars Go Crazy (An Insider’s Perspective)” that “sexual exploitation is just part of the package,” for child actors. Although she didn’t experience sexual abuse personally (she describes her Jewish parents as supportive and responsible), she was the subject of a porn website when she was 12 years old.

“Discipline your children, for in that there is hope; do not be a willing party to their death.” Prov. 19:18 (NIV)

Wilson survived her stint as a child actor without abuse because her parents “were always very protective of me,” she said. Wood said he was spared, in part, because he said his mother was “far more concerned with raising me to be a good human than facilitating my career.”

While these actors may have not appreciated it at the time, their parents’ protectiveness appears to have saved their innocence — and may have saved their lives.

Pray for the protection of those who enter the field of entertainment, particularly those who are most vulnerable.

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