Reality TV Kids Have No Legal Protection From Pedophiles
For the past few days, the LA Times has been running a story about a registered sex offender who has been working as a casting director He went by the name Jason James, although his real name is Jason James Murphy. Producer JJ Abrams (Super 8, Fringe, Lost) found out about Murphy, went to Paramount, and Paramount contacted the authorities.
When Bill Blankinship was arrested on October 21, 2011 for child pornography, Figure Eight attempted to minimize their association with Blankenship by stating he worked for a subcontractor. Unlike Figure Eight, when JJ Abrams found out he had a registered sex offender working on his film, he said: "It's shocking and it's devastating, not just as a filmmaker but as a father and someone who is entrusted to make sure that everyone I work with, especially children, are safe," Abrams said. "To think that someone like this was among us is unthinkable."
His two CDs on Super 8 also talked to the LA Times, as did a talent agency executive. They were all shocked. No one wants to work with a registered sex offender. No one wants to send kids to an audition with a registered sex offender.
Unlike TLC, who said nothing, Paramount is going to start background checks. "Moving forward, we...will also conduct background checks on all freelance employees, full time and part time, who work with minors on our productions."
Fox is conducting its own internal investigation. "We have only just learned of this information; we take it extremely seriously and have commenced and immediate investigation."
BizParentz.org is calling for fingerprinting and background checks for anyone working with minors. Paul Petersen, former child star and the director of A Minor Consideration, a non-profit organization comprised of 600 former child stars, is backing them.
There is no advocacy organization for reality TV children. In the Blankinship case, Kate's only response was to go on Twitter and tweet that she had never heard of him. Jon remembered meeting him several times, and hired a lawyer to find out if the NC authorities had evidence that Blankinship had footage of the children. He said "Any parent would be freaked out by this." In our opinion Jon was the only one who had a normal reaction.
"They're just freaking out," said Anne Henry, co-founder of parentBiz Foundation, a momprofit support group for parents whose children work in the entertainment industry, who "spent the morning dealing with frantic parents worried that Murphy might have been alone with their children during casting sessions and could have obtained photos or videotapes of them."Continued on the next page