Degrees of Abuse and Exploitation

I have frequently read comments by others about the Gosselin children and how they are well cared for and should never be the focus of any child advocacy attention. Back in the day, I posted to the best of my abilities at TWoP, composing posts the best way I could that kept me from being banned, while advocating for the end of exploitation of the Gosselin children; I am sure you all have read me over there. I respect that others have their own views, and I appreciated reading well thought out posts on both sides of this rather volatile and controversial issue. What I didn’t appreciate, and could have easily put myself in a banning situation over there by replying to, were the few that would continually copy and paste well thought out posts only to reply to each phrase with canned words of refute, with no real educated debate. I did not read those page-long posts, as there seemed to be not one original thought being shared, only time and space being taken up with regurgitated and tired words.

I am not a cat lady. We share our home with a happy brindle boxer. I am principal/creative director of my own ad agency and have portfolios that have taken first place in the nation in various juried shows. That’s what I do to pay my bills.

My volunteer time is spent advocating for children in the juvenile court system, children who need someone to be their voice. I am eyes and ears for the judges on my cases, as they do not have the resources to get off the bench and observe their special charges to see what really goes on in their lives, and if their own court orders on behalf of these children are being carried out appropriately. My reports are first to be read by these judges, even before reports from the guardian ad litem and case workers on the case. I am court appointed and sworn in by the courts. I cannot speak to you about my individual cases, as the children are granted absolute privacy, but I can speak to you about CASA (Court Appointed Special Advocates for Children). I have been trained to observe and catch all details, and I have seen horrible things, and situations that heal and bounce back to productivity. I have been trained to speak up for a child and report what I see to the courts in the child’s best interest.

The first Jon & Kate plus Eight show I saw was “PottyGate” and I honestly sat and watched what had to have been the filming of these children during private times with my mouth hanging open. I could not understand how camera crews were allowed to film little boys sitting on potty chairs with nude scenes obviously being filmed, whether they were edited out or not. The next day I looked around and found “Hannah Pooped” on YouTube, Hannah with no blurring of her complete nudity, TLC logo in the lower corner. Even if she had been blurred, the camera crews were still there filming those private times, obviously the footage exists. I spoke to my CASA supervisor and was told that this is absolutely inappropriate, any daycare would be shut down for such behavior, and the best course of action would be through the PA Attorney General’s office. I did email Mr. Corbett about my concerns regarding the nude footage and the “Hannah Pooped” footage on YouTube that had been viewed close to 12,000 times. No response. Mr. Corbett does have a lot of PR on his website regarding pedophile arrests, and that is great. I know that this is a case where children are being fed, clothed and housed and AG resources are slim. It doesn’t make the level of abuse or exploitation ok, it just makes it a lower priority on a long list. I don’t have the time or resources to make myself additionally available to push for legislation changes in PA.

As time went on, the “Hannah Pooped” video was taken down, kudos. I became more aware of the studio lighting these kids are exposed to day in and day out in their own home. Camera crews are in their home before they wake up until after they go to sleep 3-4 (probably more) days a week. This becomes a child labor issue. SAG child actors can only work 20 minutes in any hour and must have people on set that look out for only them. This doesn’t happen for reality television kids. When these children are scheduled to visit a zoo, and film footage is so bad from the rainy day that they must visit another zoo for another whole day to get workable film, is it their real lives, or scripted and scheduled? This is only one example of what I am sure are many encroaching situations on the Gosselin children’s childhoods that change forever how they grow. As time goes by, it seems that privacy for the tups is non-existent and at 4 years of age there are still camera crews filming them while bathing and other private situations. Let’s think back to when this show was new… did we ever see the twins being filmed in the bath or physically private situations? Why has it been ok for them to have “off limit” areas of their lives but not the tups? Why isn’t anyone standing up and saying this isn’t ok, someone that can do something about it? Why is it ok to film the twins, and now more often the tups, in situations of emotional turmoil that should be considered much more private, sacred and held within the sanctuary and privacy of the family? How much more will we see in the coming season, as we become numb to the inappropriate situations we have already seen and production must develop, schedule and script new controversy that will continue to pull us in?

I live states away from this family, and am ineffective in advocating for them from my state and county. I would have many more people of power here in my state and county that I could rely on to listen to me, respect my thoughts and hear my issues regarding this family and reality television families to come. I cannot do it in Pennsylvania. I’m sure Jon and Kate are happy about that. God Bless the children.

22 comments:

amy said...

LORDY-BE you have too much time on your hands! try taking your precious time actually advocating for TRULY abused children. these children are very much LOVED and PROTECTED! i've NEVER seen a bare little bottom on that show...you're blowing it up far more than it needs to be! take it for what it is...a tv show showing what it takes to raise 8 children!!! i think this show has MORE than inspired people...i just HOPE i can be as good of a mother as kate is to her children!!!

God bless!

FIONA said...

Your post was well written and thought out, and most sadly, 100% accurate. My personal views all along have been to advocated for the kids. Just because they have organic foods to eat and free clothing to wear just not mean they are living a mentally healthy life. I could care less about Jon and Kate Gosselin, except in the sense that they are the parent's of 8 innocent children. I would love to see the truth come out and watch them fall on their dishonest faces, but that effects the kids as well. I do believe that Jon and Kate's end is near, and it will be a scandelous finale. I don't see any other way around it-unless they come clean. However, I think they are in too deep and lots of people are making big money. So what can we do??? We keep exposing. We keep writing. We make every attempt to squeeze them tighter in the corner. We yell for privacy for the kids, amount of time the cameras can be in the home, clothed footage only etc...We become their pseudo parents with sense. Jon and Kate went too far. They saw the $$$ signs and that was enough. Jon thinks he won't ever have to work again...I think that he will be sadly returning to a 9-5 job sooner then he dreamed. The reputation that will follow the Gosselins is not a good one and the children will be paying for their parent's greed for years to come. I don't hate this family. I am deeply concerned for their welfare. And writing my opinions on a blog for as many to see as possible is what I can do. If it makes Jon and Kate nervous and uneasy and illicits some change, then I am doing my part.

Serena said...

i've NEVER seen a bare little bottom on that show

That's not the point. Numerous non-related adults have seen the children in full nudity over and over again. They have preserved the footage on film -- footage that has gotten leaked to youtube without the blurring that TLC added.

Any parent who invited people in to film their chldren in the nude, any daycare that did the same, would be prosecuted. It doesn't matter what gets aired, what matters is what gets filmed in the first place.

try taking your precious time actually advocating for TRULY abused children

What makes you think we don't? Do you think spending a few minutes a day on a blog prevents us from doing anything else in our lives?

You may want to take a few minutes to read the FAQ on our front page, where all your concerns are most likely already addressed.

FIONA said...

Amy,
It is the fans like yourself that keep the Gosselin kids in harms way. Take it for what it is, you say...I am, why aren't you? It is a business deal that Jon and Kate Gosselin have entered into, and they have also empolyed their 8 kids without representation or consent. I would feel much better about this is if the same laws that apply to child actors, appiled to the Gosselin kids. There pay should be held in trust, there needs to be an advocate on set, and a limit to how much time the kids are in front of a camera each day. Can you see that? Please let me know.

Anonymous said...

The fact that there are parents out there who are shittier than J&K does not make J&K good parents. It just makes them less shitty.

Hardly something to look up to.

-kcjc

Not a Sheeple said...

amy said...
LORDY-BE you have too much time on your hands! try taking your precious time actually advocating for TRULY abused children. these children are very much LOVED and PROTECTED! i've NEVER seen a bare little bottom on that show...you're blowing it up far more than it needs to be! take it for what it is...a tv show showing what it takes to raise 8 children!!! i think this show has MORE than inspired people...i just HOPE i can be as good of a mother as kate is to her children!!!

God bless!


Well, Lordy Bee, Amy, would you allow a crew of four non-family adults in the bathroom to watch your four year olds naked in the shower or on the potty? I shudder to think. Would you let your children grow up under studio lights day after day? Would you force your children on day trip after day trip to fulfill the shooting schedule. Would you make your sick daughter go out to dinner because the show must go on?

As far as wanting to be as good a mother as Kate, I earnestly hope that you set your sights much higher. I surely did. My children were not used to support myself and my husband. My children were not exploited and what money they earned or was earned because of them plus more ALL went into accounts in trust for them. My children were not infantilized and weren't in high chairs, wearing bibs, and using potties and sippy cups at four years old. My children didn't have separation anxiety and nervous vomiting. I could go on and on. My children are grown now and I have been a mentor parent for over fifteen years. Kate should wait until she really knows something about parenting before trying to profit from it. If you want to know about good parenting, buy a book written by someone who has successful adult children or take some parenting classes at the local adult school or community college. You'll see what Kate is missing.

iluveeyore said...

The children just living their lives and the cameras just happen to be there? The cameras are extremely intrusive, scenes have to be set up, the children have to wait for the crew to catch up with them, they have to "re-stage" scenes when the footage needed hasn't been captured properly. We've seen evidence of this in discrepancies in scenes and between scenes in many of the episodes. We can't let this stand uncontested, the children are denied the right to a safe haven, they LIVE on a production set, the cameras and the production schedule forces much of what goes on in their lives.


Posted for Serena

MrsRef said...

I don't think you need a degree in anything to see that life in the Gosselin household is not normal. My children are grown but there are no video tapes of them going to the bathroom, taking showers, there are no studio lights, production crews etc. If there had not been a production schedule, would they really have gotten home at 2:00 a.m., gotten up, filmed in their house, filmed at church, filmed at the park and filmed at the ice cream shop. No way. I can tell you from personal experience, abuse is not only physical, it is emotional.

jentomn said...

Did I read that correctly? Do you not have any kids or your own? Not sure if I missed that piece somewhere.

Anonymous said...

It doesn't take a PhD or parental experience to figure out that filming young children potty training and bathing is not appropriate or entertaining. No way, no how.

katja

Serena said...

It doesn't take a PhD or parental experience to figure out that filming young children potty training and bathing is not appropriate or entertaining. No way, no how.

No kidding, it's not exactly rocket science. Even before I became a parent I could have told you that forcing your kids to live on a TV production set and role-playing one staged scenario after another, day in and day out, whether they feel like it or not, was really crappy parenting.

WatchOverThem said...

Jentomn--I have three children. 26 year old with national security clearance electronic engineer managing a group of 80 engineers that work worldwide while finishing his MBA, a 24 year old Bradley summa cum laude valedictorian, working on her MSN at Rush University's MSN leadership program and a 20 year old working on his bachelors degree. My children are extremely busy, but at a point that allows me to work with younger less fortunate children.

Anonymous said...

Watchoverthem?

Bada bing bada BOOM!

Right outta the ball park!

Lol

Maggie said...

Mother Teresa and Jesus didn't have children but it didn't keep them from advocating for children. Having children does not make anyone a good mother. That takes work, patience, wisdom and maturity and numerous other skills.

Having multiples isn't a qualifier, either.

iluveeyore said...

"i've NEVER seen a bare little bottom on that show"

I HAVE! When the girls were being potty trained, Joel wanted to try it too. Kate took him off the potty and walked him across the room with his pants around his ankles. (One of the twins had removed his diaper.)

There was actually a picture of Hannah on MyTube, totally naked, viewed by more than 1,000 people -- until our complaints (we think) had it removed.

When all of the kids were sitting on potties, what did you think you were seeing? It was a side view... but those were certainly "naked bottoms."

What do you think the film crew is seeing when the kids are taking baths/showers/getting dressed. We might not see it on tv -- but it IS on film, adult strangers were present, and who knows what might end up on YouTube next.

WatchOverThem said...

Actually, the YouTube clip of nude Hannah was viewed over TWELVE THOUSAND, not a mere thousand, times and wasn't taken down until Tom Corbett's (PA Attorney General) office was contacted regarding the nudity. It was ok with Jon and Kate before that, I guess.

Anonymous said...

I guess its okay with Jon and Kate to let their nude child be put on on YouTube and viewed 12,000 times but then why did Kate go after a fan who created a site about the kids and emailed her a link to it, thinking she would be pleased, and threaten her with legal action if she did not take the site down immediately? Priorities askew much?

jentomn said...

Before I had kids I would have said that you don't need to have kids to "get it" or comment about what it is like to parent...but you do. I'm not saying you don't have the right to your opinion or that you cannot comment about other people, TV shows, etc...but don't say you know all about raising a kid if you have not done it.

I didn't really need to full run down about how incredibly successful your kids are - kind of over the top bragging really. I just wanted to know if you are a parent...because to me that makes a difference.

Serena said...

I agree that actually being a parent does make one more knowledgeable about how to handle the daily minutiae of child-rearing.

But it does not take being a parent to see the wrong in exploiting children the way that Jon and Kate are exploiting the Gosselin children.

It also doesn't take being a parent to know that it doesn't have to land a kid in the ER to be wrong.

WatchOverThem said...

Jentomn--just answering to the full extent of my abilities ;-) And, I suppose if I had been a horrible parent, perhaps my children wouldn't be where they are today, but I don't want to take their success away from them, they've worked hard to achieve it.

I couldn't do the work I do with children, however, when mine were younger, as it consumes at times. So, just also part of the clarification.

jentomn said...

I have actually known many successful people with shitty parents, so who knows. I am just glad to hear your work with children does not just involve posting on this blog. If some people took the time they spent posting on this blog to work with kids that actually needed help...that would be excellent.

Blair said...

The cameras are there 3-4 days a week and we know that Jon and Kate travel 1-2 days many weeks to speak. How many days does that leave for them to be normal kids?