Abuse vs Art: Is There a Line?

Eva Ionesco is a French model and actress but she’s making headlines for something other than her career. When Eva was eleven, she made her American modeling debut—in Playboy. Eva is the youngest person to ever appear in the magazine. That’s not all of it; Ionesco’s mother, Irina Ionesco, took the pictures.

Irina Ionesco is a self-taught photographer who gained attention due to explicit images of her daughter. Many of the photos feature coquettish poses, fetishistic clothing, and nudity. Eva has sued her mother and won 10,000 Euro ($13,213) in damages, as well as the negatives of the many explicit photographs taken of her between the ages of four and 12 years old.

Eva has said the photos resulted in her “stolen childhood” and made a movie about life with her mother called, “My Little Princess”. This isn’t a new story to Americans, however—we’ve lived through this with Brooke Shields whose own mother set up a nude photo shoot for her then ten-year-old with the hopes of a Playboy spread as well.

Evan Rachel Wood is another star whose mother pushed her to act, learn French, and modeled her daughter after Jodie Foster. Evan is quoted as saying, “I actually got to sit down with Jodie and I thought, ‘Not that this is a bad thing, but you’ve haunted me my entire life. I don’t know whether to kiss you or punch you.”

In the age of Dakota and Elle Fanning, the Olsen Twins, and Honey Boo Boo, there will never be a shortage of stage mothers trying to live through their children, or trying to cash in on them for that matter. The real question is how much responsibility does society have in this?

Should Playboy also have been sued for publishing the nude photos of an underage girl? Should Brooke Sheilds mother have been prosecuted for sexualizing her daughter? Should the director and producer of Blue Lagoon have to stand trial for exposing her in that film?

There’s a celebrity culture in the country and we tend to forgive these people because they make more money and have a better life than we do. It’s all covered up by saying, “its art”. When does it cross the line from art to abuse?

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Hollywood’s Children: A Roll of the Dice

Movie Poster for "Dickie Roberts"

There’s a cliché that Hollywood’s child stars exist under a double-edged sword.  Having money and, yes, power at a very young age have been the downfall of many a beautiful, talented kid that happened to be in the right place at the right time (if you get what I’m saying here).

You’d have to be living under a rock to be unaware of the exploits of a Lindsay Lohan or Britney Spears, whose well-publicized struggles with mental illness and addiction have become the butt of a lot of jokes.

But some of the more tragic stories are from stars we forget.

Take Jaimee Foxworth, for example, whose character of Judy Winslow was unceremoniously cut out of Family Matters without …

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Did Radar Online Violate Child Labor Laws by Videotaping Octomom’s Kids?

Nadya Suleman "Octomom" and Baby Pictures Photos

Child labor discussion are soooo hot right now. On the heels of everyone and Kate’s brother commenting publicly about whether the Gosselin children are being abused by starring in a reality TV show, now we’re hearing that the state of California is investigating Radar Online regarding their video footage of the Octomom’s children. Nadya Suleman has an exclusive contract with Radar permitting the videotaping of the children, but apparently they forgot to dot their i’s and cross their t’s in the process:

Radar Online put the newborns at risk by failing to get required state permits and videotaping the infants for hours and for periods of time banned by regulations, according to State Labor Commissioner Angela Bradstreet.

Labor Commission officials say the violations relate to the evening of March 17th, when Suleman’s first two octuplets arrived home from the hospital to a media frenzy. They say more citations could be filed against the website and that the investigation is on-going.

Child labor laws require that filming of infants be done with a permit and can only occur once a day for a maximum of twenty minutes, during certain hours of the day. The web site failed to get a work permit, an entertainment permit and did not have a studio teacher on site while filming was taking place, state officials say.

The four citations involve six violations and carry a $3,000 fine, said Dean Fryer, spokesman for the California Labor Commission.

Ooooh, a $3000 fine! I’m sure Radar Online is shaking in their boots. They’re gonna make more than $3000 in ad sales based on the publicity they’ll get over these charges alone. And, really, California? They were supposed to have on-site tutors for the newborns?

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