Before we knew him as Frodo Baggins in Peter Jackson's blockbuster Lord of the Rings film trilogy, Elijah Wood was a child actor. In a recent interview with Britain's Sunday Times, Wood spoke out on sexual abuse of young actors in Hollywood, and says “a lot of vipers” roam the upper echelons of the entertainment biz, preying on naïvete and eagerness for fame.
“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,” he told the Times.
“There is darkness in the underbelly. What bums me about these situations is that the victims can’t speak as loudly as the people in power. That’s the tragedy of attempting to reveal what is happening to innocent people: they can be squashed, but their lives have been irreparably damaged.”
“If you’re innocent, you have very little knowledge of the world and you want to succeed,” he added. “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.”
Wood is now 35. As a child, he performed with fellow child star alongside Macaulay Culkin in “The Good Son,” and had a part in the “Flipper” remake. He said his mother, Debra, protected him from predators back then, and he “never went to parties where that kind of thing was going on.”
Here's a non-paywalled report that quotes extensively from the Times: Elijah Wood Calls Out Hollywood's Pedophile Problem [the daily beast]
Owen Labrie received a light one-year jail sentence after sexually assaulting an underage girl at his New England prep school. While his victim was subjected to scorn and disbelief from peers and the media, Labrie was coddled every step of the way, turning down a plea deal that would have seen him out in weeks and being mythologized in a pretentious Vanity Fair profile. But now he's going to serve his sentence early, because he just can't follow the rules while he appeals his verdict.
A judge in Merrimack County Superior Court said Owen Labrie would begin his one-year jail sentence immediately.
"You are unlikely to abide by any conditions," Judge Larry Smukler said. "I don't relax conditions because you can't comply with them."…
Smukler, in sentencing him in October and permitting him to remain free on bail pending appeal, told Labrie he would be "exceedingly foolish" to violate his bail conditions.
Labrie's light sentence hinged, as Vice put it, on the fact his underage victim didn't "clearly express her lack of consent." Jurors failed to convict him of felony rape, instead applying a 90s-era computer grooming law in what was described as a "bizarre" verdict.
Read the rest
Those sympathetic to Labrie point to the felony computer charge, arguing it was never meant to be applied to texting teenagers. Had Labrie reached out to the girl via phone, he would have been spared a lifetime on the sexual offender registry. Then again, these were no ordinary messages: Labrie and his peers shared email templates and strategies for scoring with younger girls; Labrie even had a list of potential targets, with the girl at the top, in capital letters.
A sexual predator in the UK who raped five women and attacked two more after meeting them on Match.com has received a sentence of life in prison. Read the rest
The Force of the Sun Ladies is an all-woman brigade of fighters who were formerly enslaved by ISIS during the occupation of Mosul. Read the rest
Today, the City Pages newspaper of Minneapolis published an article by Jay Boller looking into why Maureen Herman had been fired from Babes in Toyland, the iconic punk band she'd been a member of since 1992. Maureen, a close friend of mine, told me a couple of months ago she'd been kicked out because of an essay she wrote in July for Boing Boing, titled "The Jackie Fox rape disclosure shows we still have a lot to learn."
In the essay, Maureen wrote about Runaways bassist Jackie Fox's revelation that she'd been drugged and raped by the band's manager, Kim Fowley in 1975. Maureen wrote that Fox's "rape happened in front a roomful of people, including two of her bandmates, Cherie Currie and Joan Jett. In the course of the article’s investigation and Fox’s disclosure, many bystanders have come forward, affirming what they saw and who was present that night in 1975." (Disclosure: I'm also friendly with Jackie. She's been to my house, we play in the same trivia league, and we communicate via email frequently.)
Update: Jason Cherkis of Huffington Post interviewed Fox about the rape:
“I remember opening my eyes, Kim Fowley was raping me, and there were people watching me,” Jackie says. She looked out from the bed and noticed Currie and Jett staring at her. She says this was her last memory of the night. Jett, through a representative, denied witnessing the event as it has been described here. Her representative referred all further questions to Jackie “as it’s a matter involving her and she can speak for herself.”
Maureen wrote in her essay, "With one nudge of denial from an iconic Joan Jett, we witness the beginnings of the public collapse of Fox’s credibility." A short while after her essay ran on Boing Boing, Maureen was fired by Babe's in Toyland drummer Lori Barbero and lead singer Kat Bjelland. Read the rest
Ehsan Abdulaziz, a married, 46 year old, rich Saudi property developer, says he invited an 18 year old woman to sleep on his couch, and later tripped and fell on her as she lay asleep, accidentally penetrating her vagina with his penis. Read the rest
NZ Prime Minister John Key is a racist blowhard who has smeared the opposition parties of "backing the rapists" for their support of NZ citizens with minor criminal convictions (not sexual assault, incidentally) being deported from Australia, where they have been imprisoned. Read the rest
Prosecutors for the county of Los Angeles say they will not file charges against a Saudi prince recently arrested for sexual assault at a gated mansion on the edge of Beverly Hills.
A civil lawsuit filed in L.A. County Superior Court on Sept. 25 says he attacked multiple women inside the home for several days. Read the rest
Police were called to a gated property in the exclusive Los Angeles community of Beverly Glen today “after a caretaker at the home reported a disturbance.” A man identified as 28-year-old prince Majed Abdulaziz Al-Saud was arrested on suspicion of forced oral copulation of an adult.
An LAPD spokesperson said that a diplomatic liason desk determined that Al-Saud does not have immunity in this case. He is scheduled to appear in court Oct. 19.
From the Los Angeles Times:
Neighbor Tennyson Collins said a resident reported seeing a bleeding woman scream for help as she tried to scale the property’s 8-foot-high wall Wednesday afternoon.
When Collins drove home from work after 1:30 p.m., police followed his car through the gates and onto the property, which he described as a compound. The website Zillow valued the 22,000-square-foot property at $37 million.
"Saudi prince arrested at L.A. compound for alleged sex crime" [LA Times/Joe Serna]
— Tennyson Collins (@wineten) September 24, 2015
Rape is the fourth most common crime against women in India. Married women, living alone, face a greater risk of being attacked when they go to collect remittances from their husbands who work abroad. In an effort to protect these women—and thereby further its business—Vodafone will send "self-defense umbrellas" to recipients of money sent with their M-Pesa mobile money transfer service.
There isn't a hidden sword or taser, unfortunately. Instead it comes with pictorial references of self-defense techniques and how they can be used to fight off an attacker.
The U.S. government estimates that hundreds of thousands of untested rape kits languish in police and crime lab storage facilities. The EndTheBacklog project illustrates that there's "more we do NOT know about the backlog than we do know." Read the rest
“Trainwreck” director Judd Apatow as Bill Cosby on The Tonight Show. Read the rest