Jon and Kate Gosselin are under investigation by the Pennsylvania Department of Labor for possibly violating child labor laws by allowing their eight children on camera 40 weeks out of the year. US Weekly confirmed the investigation with the Department of Labor, who said that they’re responding to a complaint about the Gosselins. Earlier today Bonnie Fuller, who just happens to be US Weekly’s editor, posted a convincing editorial on this issue to the Huffington Post . I wonder who made a report to the Department of Labor, and how did US Weekly find out about it? Here are some of the more convincing segments from Fuller’s editorial in The Huffington Post. She calls it child abuse and the article is titled “Jon & Kate Plus 8: The Most Abusive Celebrity Parents Ever?”
Have Jon and Kate Gosselin invented a new form of 21st century child abuse? I’d say so. Come on — would you allow cameras to be following your kids every single move on 40 episodes a year of national TV?
There’s only 52 weeks in the calendar. That means these kids barely catch a break, i.e. a few days without camera crews camping inside their home.
t’s a real life “Truman Show” with eight voiceless victims instead of just one.
I’m not saying that children should never be on TV or in show business. There’s a long cultural history of showbiz kids dating back to vaudeville days through infamous child stars: Judy Garland, Mickey Rooney, Jay North of Dennis the Menace, Britney Spears, Justin Timberlake, Christina Aguilera and all the other Mouseketeers, the Olsen twins, Jodi Foster, Sarah Jessica Parker, Brooke Shields, Danny Bonaduce and the Partridge Family members, the Brady Bunch, and now Miley Cyrus, Selena Gomez and on and on.
Yes, some of these young stars were terribly exploited Judy Garland-style and grew up to crash and burn. But others went on to perfectly successful adult lives and careers. Being young, talented and pushed into in the public spotlight is not necessarily a recipe for exploitative disaster.
But, kids on movie and professional TV sets are subject to child labor laws. Children in reality shows are NOT, a point made forcefully by the Gosselin 8′s Aunt Jodi and Uncle Kevin Krieder, Kate Gosselin’s brother and sister-in-law who’ve been busy blogging, and then blabbing, about how vile the Gosselins are, especially Kate, to celebrity newsweeklies and on CBS’s “Early Show.”
[From The Huffington Post]
Kate’s brother and sister-in-law brought up a good point that no one is advocating for the children and it needs to be considered. Children are working when they’re being filmed for a reality show. I disagree that they’re just living their lives and the cameras happen to be there. Their lives are being shaped and changed to fit into a show. These kids are affected by the constant surveillance and the invasion of their privacy. They know what’s going on. There’s also the issue of how they’re going to feel years down the road when they look back and question their childhood.
Earlier today I mentioned Star’s article about the affect the Gosselin’s breakup is having on their children. It’s a sad story and one that shows that these kids shouldn’t have to go through all this under the spotlight. Star related an anecdote about how Jon’s 8 year-old daughter freaked out on camera and clung to him when he tried to leave. The footage was too upsetting and TLC chose not to air it:
8-year-old Mady had a meltdown as Jon tried to leave the house to run errands. “She grabbed onto his leg and wouldn’t let go,” an insider tells Star. “She screamed that she didn’t want Jon to leave her, that she didn’t want to stay with her mom.”
TLC’s cameras caught the whole sad scene, but viewers will never see it. “When executives at the network saw the footage, they were very disturbed,” an insider reveals. “No one wants to see a child react that way toward her mother.”
[From Star Magazine, print edition, June 8, 2009]
Of course Star is painting Kate as the evil one, but this anecdote really shows how much the kids are bothered by their parents’ breakup and don’t want to lose their dad. It’s hard enough to go have to see your parents get divorced. These poor kids are also going have to deal with the fact that some of their most difficult memories will always be available for the whole world to watch. Whatever happens with this investigation, I hope that there are some laws passed to protect kids on reality shows. Maybe Octomom’s show will end up getting shelved as a result.