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How to Protect Children in the Entertainment Industry: A Helpful Guide

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posted on Jan, 14 2013 @ 08:53 PM
BACKGROUND: Originally, this was written for an English class at school as a final project, as a practice in writing argumentative research articles. At first, it started off as my take on the whole Jimmy Savile case that came out about the time I started working on it, but over time it morphed into more of a warning guide for parents of children in the entertainment industry, and to a lesser extent, female celebrities as they are more likely to be exploited.

Now any helpful critique would be appreciated, as I couldn't find quite enough valid sources that didn't have to do with Ol' Jim the Fixer. So sit back and relax.

Mods...If this doesn't fit the right forum, feel free to move it, as I was debating whether or not it fit better into the General or Entertainment forums.

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Jimmy Savile, a famous DJ and television presenter, was no doubt one of Britain’s most beloved celebrities and national treasures. He was born into a working class Catholic family from Leeds, England, and worked as a Bevin Boy—a conscripted coalminer during World War II, but suffered serious spinal injuries after an explosion. After the war, Savile became a disc jockey in dance halls and nightclubs, managing several of them before his move to Radio Luxembourg in 1958 (“Jimmy Savile”). Two years later, he made the jump to television on a local network, Tyne Tees Television, and presented the first episode of Top of The Pops (a Top-40 music show like American Bandstand) on the BBC in 1964. Savile, who was mainly known for his flamboyant dress and eccentric personality, befriended many celebrities and a few government officials during his career, including Prince Charles and former Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher. In later years, he became known for his volunteer work with charities, especially those for children and hospitals, and was knighted for his services in 1990.

But it wasn’t until recently that a dark side to Jimmy Savile began to surface, as several women have been stepping forward to say that he had molested them when they were teenagers, either on his programs or at reform schools that he visited. As of now, there are almost 450 complaints, along with 31 allegations of rape against the celebrity, who died last October from a heart attack (Branagh). These allegations are quite disconcerting, but what is even more disturbing is when the teens went to the authorities to report Savile’s actions at the time, they were either ignored or told to forget about what he had done (Laville). You may ask: “Where were the parents at the time?” and the simple answer to that question is that like the victims, their parents trusted the television executives, charity workers and Jimmy Savile himself as they felt they could do no wrong. Another subject that can be raised is that this is an isolated event that only happened in England, and nothing of the sort can happen here in the United States. Unfortunately, it does and possibly on a wider scale. Most people have probably heard of the Michael Jackson molestation trial and now, former child stars such as Corey Feldman, Paul Petersen, and Allison Arngrim are speaking out and saying that pedophilia in Hollywood is a rampant problem, and actions must be taken against predators who enter the business for its supposed supply of minors (Goddard). Some people in the industry maintain that abuse against children is extremely rare, but child abuse experts claim that it is not surprising to them that such crimes go on unnoticed. Paula Dorn, co-founder of the BizParentz Foundation, which is a non-profit organization that supports families of child actors, says the problem is “more pervasive than people want to believe” and that “children are trying to interact in an adult world” (Orzeck).


posted on Jan, 14 2013 @ 08:56 PM

So what should parents be aware of if they suspect an agent or another adult is abusing their children? Although there is no solid definition of what child sexual abuse is, the American Psychological Association describes it as the dominant presence of an adult who allows themselves to force or coerce a child into sexual activity, usually a male (“Understanding Child Sexual Abuse”). It can begin in very subtle ways, as abusers are often someone a child can trust, like a talent manager, an agent or even another celebrity. Sometimes they will be friendly or show affection to their charges, like buying them gifts or excessively praising them after a job well done. But if the person suddenly appears overprotective of your child or is limiting interaction with either you or other children, this should raise a red flag. The act is called grooming, where the abuser tries to manipulate the child so they fully trust the older adult and not be bothered by their actions, no matter how wrong they are (“Child Sexual Abuse”).

Going back to Jimmy Savile, who is our main example in this piece, the guidelines above would apply to him very accurately. A former assistant of his has stated that Savile “Was eccentric, manipulative and controlling” and often compared himself to Peter Pan by surrounding himself with children (O’Carroll). Jimmy also believed that with his celebrity status, he was untouchable and would carry on his activities regardless of suspicion (Mendick, Copping and Sawer). If someone did bring a complaint against him, he would vehemently deny it or, in one instance, pay off the authorities to leave him be, lest they risk their careers. When a young woman named Sylvia Edwards claimed that Savile molested her on live TV, she was told by a floor manager to “get lost” as the host was only “messing about” (Edwards).

In an American standpoint, Savile’s acts could also be compared to the case of the famous director Roman Polanski, who was charged with sexually assaulting a young girl named Samantha Gailey . He was originally sentenced to 90 days in a California State prison according to a plea agreement, but was released after 42. Polanski then fled the United States to London, England, in February 1978, until finally settling in France. Since then, he has continued to deny that what he did was inappropriate, and has reached a settlement with the victim (“Roman Polanski”). Power like this is what predators and pedophiles crave, and they find plenty of it in the entertainment industry. By maintaining a positive façade, along with promises of guaranteeing their children’s stardom, these people have the leverage and trust of their clients that protects them from prosecution.


posted on Jan, 14 2013 @ 08:58 PM
Parents should also take notice of changes in their children’s behavior, as they can bring attention to the situation. Common signs of suspected abuse are, but not limited to: angry outbursts, sleeping difficulties, problems sitting, being withdrawn, reluctance to be left alone, and regressive behaviors. Sometimes children engage in destructive actions like drug use and sex acts/prostitution. Actor Corey Feldman claims that his substance abuse and reckless behavior in his youth stems from being molested by a “Hollywood mogul” and says that the same trauma led to the death of his best friend, Corey Haim, who passed away after a long struggle with drug addiction (Baker and Wright). If your child presents any of these problems, get them help right away. Give them a safe environment for them to talk and tell them that whatever had been done to them is not their fault. A psychologist or other mental health provider can offer additional support and can recommend groups and organizations that can assist you as well.

There is only one way to prevent any type of abuse toward children, and that is education. Teach your children proper sexual education and terms, and if you feel uncomfortable doing so, a healthcare professional may be able to guide them (“Child Sexual Abuse”). Also tell your children about what is considered a “good touch” or a “bad touch”, and that they should say no if they feel uncomfortable in a situation. Most parents usually go by the old “Stranger Danger” trope, but since an abuser can be someone close and trusted, it is necessary to research and get to know the people who are around your children. Have the agency do background checks or go to a private service like The more you really know a person, the better you can fully trust them, and if you have any uneasy feelings about leaving your child alone with someone, don’t do it or stay with them.

I hope that this paper teaches parents to be more informed about letting their children enter the entertainment industry, and be wary of who they put their trust into. It wasn’t until over 30 years later that women started to come out against Jimmy Savile, and they will never see him be charged for his heinous crimes. But it wasn’t just the parents’ fault that they blindly trusted him, it was the people around him that allowed it to happen under their noses and then not acknowledge that the problem existed. It takes everyone’s involvement to make sure that children stay safe in the entertainment industry, and should be a number one priority.

posted on Jan, 14 2013 @ 09:23 PM
reply to post by TheToastmanCometh

I believe that one of the solutions is to only allow actors/actresses that 18 years or older unless on rare conditions

posted on Jan, 14 2013 @ 09:28 PM
I have been a professional musician since age 12, and a professional in theater since age 16.
In that time, I have met individuals who have been molested; from my conversations 99% if not more who were molested, were molested prior to getting into the performing arts, or during events not related to the performing arts.

I cannot speak to the television or movie worlds, and my personal knowledge only goes back to the early 90s.

Working in the performing arts is a very intimate experience and trusts and bonds are made with every show. Sometimes (especially if you are vulnerable, or young), that will equate in the mind to love, and possible indiscretions may happen.

I personally have not seen or heard the type of abuse that is your position.
You have a list of 5 or 6 different names, and there are over a thousand celebrities working currently.

I think for your paper, you may want to look at a few more things:
1st- The changing of public opinion from the 60s to today.
2nd- Brook Shields.
3rd- The modeling industry.

posted on Jan, 14 2013 @ 09:52 PM
This whole topic is very hard to follow if you put all the facts together as a whole. One thing that needs to be looked at that is over looked by most on this topic is age of consent by state. It verys massivly. Last time i checked i think Hawaii is 14. Illinois is 17. Wis is 18. Ect. Now my issue with this topic is people being used no matter the age it is wrong to take advantage of anyone. But lets not forget the rulers do this to everyone. And dont forget nowadays most people would sell there children for the right price. Seriously a careing parent would not have missed there child being used in the acting bussness. Surly they where happy they could turn a big buck on there child.
truth creates
A heart of convection
Acepting of the good and bad of self
Can you sleep facing the things you have done?

posted on Jan, 14 2013 @ 10:21 PM
reply to post by randomtangentsrme

Thanks for the reply...

I could have added those bits in, but I had to narrow down my topic or else it would have been more confusing.

posted on Jan, 14 2013 @ 11:51 PM
reply to post by TheToastmanCometh

Would it have confused the issue? Or make it either more or less relevant?

Culturally we are a society very different than that of the 60s or even the 80s. What was acceptable then is far from today's mores.

Brooke Shields had a milestone year in '78, both as a mainstream actress and model, both with her mothers approval, both times appearing nude, while being 12 or 13 (sources vary as to age).

. . . Her mother signed a contract giving Gross full rights to exploit the images of her daughter. The series was first published in Little Women, and then in Sugar and Spice, a Playboy Press publication. Large prints were also exhibited by Charles Jourdan on 5th Avenue in New York.

In 1981, however, Brooke Shields wanted to prevent further use of these pictures and tried unsuccessfully to buy back the negatives. A legal battle then began between Shields and Gross with Gross being sued for a million dollars. Brooke Shields claimed that her mother had agreed to give up her rights for one publication only and that the photographs caused her embarrassment. In addition, they had been published, and would probably be published again, in revues of dubious morality. Her lawyers immediately obtained a provisional measure forbidding the use of the pictures until the end of the trial. The case was won by Gross with the court considering the contract signed by Brooke Shields’ mother to be valid and binding on her daughter. Brooke Shields appealed and once again obtained a provisional ban on the use of the photographs.

Finally, after a procedure lasting for two years, the appeal court confirmed that Brooke could not invoke her right to annul the contract and that she was legally bound by her mother’s signature. . .

Forgive me for not providing a link, as the photographs appear there.

Regardless, in my opinion, this is not the way the courts would rule these days.
Or to put it a different way, we cannot judge with any confidence, what the truth of these issues and accusations are in regards to Savile, as our current society is far different than it was at that time.

Perhaps if you focused on current events to prove your point of argument, rather than those of 30 or more years ago?
If this truly is an epidemic (as I stated, I have very limited involvement in TV or Movies), I'm sure there is more current data.

For the record: In no way is this an attack on you or your essay. Nor is it an endorsement for Jimmy Savile. This is a topic near to me however as I make my living in the performing arts and have heard your position many times, although never by those in the industry (and that includes models, dancers, actors, technicians, musicians, designers, adult entertainers, sports stars, and politicians).
My fiancee would like me to add this question: What is the percentage difference between those claiming sexual abuse/ exploitation outside of the performing arts vs. inside the performing arts (if records are kept)?

posted on Jan, 15 2013 @ 01:23 PM
reply to post by randomtangentsrme

I understand you weren't trying to pick on me and my essay, but I couldn't have added the deal about Brooke Shields because the Jimmy Savile thing was the most recent topic (that I felt strongly about), but my teacher made me expand it out to not just the whole scandal, which was mostly repeating information that I had gathered previously.

My view was just going to be why Jim and people like him got away with such heinous acts, but as stated before, it was mostly rehashing of what info I already gathered and mainly speculation, along with finding factual sources.

Also, relevance is key as I just wanted to stick to just visual entertainment [?] and not go into modelling, music and sports because then the paper would be too long and confusing to the audience.

I have a cover page stating purpose and audience to make it more clear, it's just on my other laptop at the moment.

I know I could have added more, but time limits and my creativity go together like oil and water.
edit on 15-1-2013 by TheToastmanCometh because: added stuff

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