Was Charlie Chaplin a pedophile? A new book by Peter Ackroyd uses the actor’s name as the title, but this simple name belies the depth of the tell-all story it composes.
In a related report by The Inquisitr, one Charlie Chaplin movie had people claiming there was a time traveler with a cell phone. But you could say the actor went back to the future with the way Chaplin auto-tuned his Great Dictator speech.
The book claims that Chaplin was quite the womanizer, having confessed to making love with more than 2,000 women. Ackroyd claims that for all his efforts at finding love, Chaplin was messed up from the start due to his relationship with his mother:
“The roots of his deeply dysfunctional behavior with women went all the way back to his childhood, for the truth was that he had never really recovered from being abandoned by his mother, when he was just a little boy, for the best part of a year.”
Charlie’s father abandoned the family early on due to his wife cheating on him and it’s rumored that his mother became a prostitute at times. This directly effected the man and even Chaplin himself once said, “To gauge the morals of our family by commonplace standards would be as erroneous as putting a thermometer in boiling water.” When it came to his attitude toward women his answer was also quite revealing: “I am not exactly in love with her, but she is entirely in love with me.”
While one of Charlie Chaplin’s first romantic conquest was age 19, in 1918 he met 16-year-old child actress Mildred Harris at a party. He sent flowers, waited in the car for her outside the studio she worked, and eventually they became lovers. When she apparently became pregnant he quietly married her in order to avoid a scandal, but the relationship quickly went downhill afterwards and he tried to avoid her. By 1920 Mildred was tired of the way she was being treated and filed for divorce while citing “cruelty” and multiple affairs by Chaplin.
The other reason people say Charlie Chaplin was a pedophile was because his next major relationship was with 15-year-old actress Lita Grey, whom he met on the set of The Gold Rush. He allegedly told her: “When the time and place are right, we’re going to make love.” This promise came true only weeks later in the steam room of his Beverly Hills home. The rest of the story was almost a re-run of his previous failed relationship, with the young girl becoming pregnant and demanding marriage only to have Chaplin call her a “little whore.” Lita called him a “human sex machine” who had “abnormal, unnatural, perverted and degenerate sexual desires.” Apparently, it wasn’t enough that he once suggested she commit suicide by jumping in front of a train; she only filed for divorce after Chaplin allegedly tried to force her to have an abortion at gunpoint.
You would have thought by now that Charlie would avoid the young girls, but he went after actress Paulette Goddard, who’d told him she was 17 even though she was really 22. But in this case the relationship ended before pregnancies or marriage, although Goddard did say Chaplin bullied her constantly while filming.
The Guardian has also summarized the reviews of the Charlie Chaplain book:
“Charlie Chaplin’s rise ‘makes an enthralling story,’ wrote Lucy Hughes-Hallett in the Sunday Telegraph, and one ‘perfectly suited’ to his latest biographer’s talents. She found Peter Ackroyd’s Charlie Chaplin ‘an admirably concise and evocative biography [that] acknowledges Chaplin’s many human failings, while at the same giving us a vivid sense of what made the man a genius.’ The Sunday Times’s John Careysimilarly praised “a compact, engrossing, intelligent resifting of the available evidence”, though conceding that it ‘lays no claim’ to originality. Less impressed was David Thomson, who wrote in the Times that ‘it really has little to add on Chaplin that is new,’ and wondered why it evinced much less personal engagement with its subject (perhaps because ‘Ackroyd dislikes him’) than its author’s life of Dickens.”
What do you think about the accusation that Charlie Chaplin was a pedophile?