Saturday, August 18, 2007

CBS Abuses Children for New Show

It's only a matter of several Federal and local laws, but hey!

The ads promoting “Kid Nation,” a new reality show coming to CBS next month, extol the incredible experience of a group of 40 children, ages 8 to 15, who built a sort of idealistic society in a New Mexico ghost town, free of adults. For 40 days the children cooked their own meals, cleaned their own outhouses, formed a government and ran their own businesses, all without adult intervention or participation.

To at least one parent of a participant, who wrote a letter of complaint to New Mexico state officials after the show had completed production, the experience bordered on abuse and neglect. Several children required medical attention after drinking bleach that had been left in an unmarked soda bottle, according to both the parent and CBS. One 11-year-old girl burned her face with splattered grease while cooking.

Laws? Authorities? Regulators? WHAT?

New Mexico's child protection services are not amused. They have indicated that had they known CBS had set up a residential facility for the children, they would have taken steps to ensure that CBS followed the law. In fact, the network never bothered to contact the Children, Youth and Families Department. The state sent a labor inspector to the set, but the producers didn't allow an inspection to occur, according to New Mexico.

This takes child exploitation back to 1930s Hollywood. Regardless of whether CBS thinks this was some grand sociological experiment, the bottom line is that they had these kids working in harsh and apparently somewhat unsafe conditions for fifteen or more hours a day. They provided little adult supervision -- in fact, that was the point of the production -- and no educational support, even though this took place during a school year.

And New Mexico happens to be....accomodating....if you're into child-labor abuse:

New Mexico doesn't have all of those restrictive laws regarding child labor in the entertainment industry. CBS scouted for a location where those restrictions would not interfere with their pursuit of a unique concept that would draw viewers and advertisers. Never mind that those laws in California, New York, and other entertainment centers protect children from exploitative conditions and physical harm.

CBS didn't give a damn about the kids. They wanted the bucks. And they insist that even New Mexico's regular child labor laws didn't apply -- because the children were not employed by the production. They didn't get paid a dime for this blockbuster reality series on network television. Talk about exploitation!

Yah, but but but, it was For the Children, or something like that.

Right, Katie?

HT: The Captain


Anonymous said...

As someone who has observed the process of working with children in a "reality" show setting, be aware that the welfare of the children is the VERY LAST thing on the mind of show producers. KIDS NATION show was done in Nevada specifically because of the lack of regulation. The show flew under the radar until production wrapped. It's too bad the state didn't come in early and shut them down.
Anyone concerned with the welfare of children should boycott this and any other shows that exploit children. If KIDS NATION succeeds, many other will follow.

Anonymous said...

I CANNOT wait for this show to start!!!! My son (15yo) sent in his application and video for Kid Nation 2 in July and has already been contacted by the assistant casting director!! From the 4 minutes of video I have seen the "work" these children did was nothing more than what is done on a working farm every day. We laughed hysterically when one young participant said, "I'm a princess I don't do dishes!" UNBELIEVEABLE!!!!! No wonder our society's work ethic is going down the drain. People baby their children, give them whatever they want, do everything for them and then release them into society totally unprepared for the "real world" - NOW THAT'S CHILD ABUSE!!!!
My son is praying he is chosen so he can show the nation that there are kids who know what it takes to live on their own and be role model and helper for those who struggle.