Hello from Montana,
I want to share a letter I received recently and my response. I had written an article on child exploitation five years ago. As you know, written words stay viral forever when published online. So I had to really ponder how to respond. I want to share portions of the letter (I have deleted any private names or places) and my response. It concerns an innocent video that was used in a perverted way by a minister and viewers.
I invite your comments.
I recently read an article you wrote, “What is Child Exploitation”.
A few years ago a preacher in our area did a show that was very disturbing to me and it has been on my mind ever since.
I am very confused as to what is considered Child Exploitation. I understand the very serious kinds but I cannot understand exactly what is considered Child Exploitation.
The incident I am speaking of while it seemed very wrong to me it was evidently overlooked as if it were not that serious even though I felt differently.
The preacher has a TV show and on this show he show clips of a video of under-aged girls at a church dancing in ballerina outfits. I don’t know where he got the video but he seemed to have taken an innocent video and doctored it up so that it looked like something that it wasn’t. It was only girls dancing a ballerina dance in very conservative ballerina outfits but when he showed the clips he put big blue circles on their private areas and accused them of showing themselves to the men and showing their panties.
He broadcast this on his shows and he also discussed it with the son of the owner of the TV station. The discussion was on air on the phone. He said you don’t have to be involved on internet porn these days you can go to the church building sit on the front row and you get to see children you get to see everything you see in some of these kiddy porn shops. He accused the girls of exposing their undergarments. One of them 11 times in a one-minute segment.
He went on and on just as he also did on the shows he broadcast. As I said I thought this was horrible. These girls did nothing wrong and they were dressed appropriately for ballet. Actually I felt the outfits were a little longer than normal.
Not only was this broadcast on TV is has also been posted all over the Internet. The girls are innocent.
What do you think about this. I would appreciate your opinion or any suggestions.
My answer to the question is as follows..
The incident you described disturbed me greatly for a number of reasons;
- I think it is illegal to show children or anyone without a model’s release. Were the parents of the girls informed the video of their child would be shown in a facility and to an audience they did not agree with? I recently appeared in a three minute spot in a movie and the releases were very specific and binding.
- You seem like an intelligent, thoughtful and well-read woman. Many who watch religious shows from home are not in a position to discuss and evaluate what is presented to them. They may live in isolation or feel that a preacher has become a friend. Their only recourse is to turn off the TV. Unfortunately preachers speak with a voice of authority and many regard them as the rule makers of the universe.
- The tentacles of evangelists are long and never ending. We still occasionally receive solicitations for cash addressed to my mother-in-law who has been dead for 12 years.
- Yes, it is my opinion that this is not only child exploitation, but that authorities should be called. They will probably find child pornography on his computer. Hopefully, they can arrest him and stop him and others like him from taking what is innocent and turning it into something perverted.
Thank you for being a diligent citizen. Judy Helm Wright
Now it is your turn to comment. Is this child exploitation? What are the boundaries of videos produced for private and shared in a public way?