As parents and employers of child actors, we need to be especially concerned about the safety of showbiz kids, especially when it comes to their image. If you are a producer, we hope this information will motivate you to be aware of the people you are working with, the subject matter you choose, and even camera angles and wardrobe.
It may be a surprise to some, but predators are rampant in our industry. Some are out to make money from exploiting kids’ images, others are servicing a clientele that is interested in darker things—pedophilia and child molestation. The danger is a lot closer than you think…in the last few years we have seen dozens of arrests of managers, photographers, publicists, directors and production assistants. #Metoo has made the public more aware of sexual harrassment in recent years, but children, the most vulnerable members of our industry, have been victimized for much longer.
When BizParentz was founded, our goal was to provide an up to date resource for parents about the industry, including laws, guidelines and ‘how-to’s”. Our vision was to help families avoid making the same mistakes we did and help them shorten their learning curve. We wanted to give good, honest, unaffected-by-money information. Since then, we have come to realize that there is a much greater need for the sharing of information than we ever imagined, and it has to do with safety. While we still believe strongly that a young performer’s career can be incredibly positive, we have to put emphasis on a “negative” that many people aren’t aware of and won’t discuss. We believe it is possible to have #nomorevictims.
Our intent is not to scare you. But please know that there is an element of risk when you enter this industry. You CAN control almost all of the risk, and you CAN keep your child safe. And if you start at the beginning of your child’s journey, it will be much easier!
Please take the time to read all the articles in this section. We know it is long, and a bit overwhelming, but nothing is more important than a child’s safety. If you have any questions about this subject, or you just want to share concerns, please drop us an email at firstname.lastname@example.org. Everything is completely confidential.
In response to the multiple cases of abuse, California enacted legislation requiring that individuals offering services to child performers obtain a permit from the state. This isn’t an option – it’s a law! Learn more about it, Child Performer’s Act.
Important Information Related to Child Predators
- Reducing Risk: 12 Steps to Cyber Safety for Young Performers
- Our Story: Pedophiles & Predators in the Entertainment Industry
- Intellectual Property Rights at a Glance (PDF)
- Copyright and Use of Individual Likenesses for Actors (PDF)
- Sample Release for Headshot Photography (PDF)
- A Parent’s Guide to Safety for Child Performers in Theatre (PDF)
Balance Between Safety and Privacy
Many parents think there is an “authority” that will help you if your child is groomed or abused via an online contact. That usually isn’t true, because bad guys are all over the world — U.S. law doesn’t always apply. Software to identify the groomers exists, but it can’t be used in most places due to privacy laws. Parents need to be the guardian of the gate to their child.
Europe’s ePrivacy Rule Would Rein in the Hunt for Online Child Sexual Abuse (Gabriel J.X. Dance and for the NY Times)
Questionable Behavior Checklists
Child Actor Safety in the news
- Nobody is Going to Believe You: The Bohemian Rhapsody director Bryan Singer has been trailed by accusations of sexual misconduct for 20 years. Here, his alleged victims tell their stories.
(Max Potter and Alex French for The Atlantic)
- What Every Child Actor’s Parent Should Know (CD Marci Liroff for Backstage)
- The #MeToo Movement Has Left Child Actors Behind (Beza Zenebe for Northeastern University Political Review)
- How to Protect Your Child Actor (CD Marci Liroff for Backstage)
- Protecting Your Child Actor on Set (CD Marci Liroff for Backstage)
- Warning: Your Child’s Photo Could be on Questionable Sites (Kelly Crisp for Backstage)
- Child sexual abuse cases in Hollywood attract attention (Dawn Chmielewski for LA Times)
- BizParentz, SAG Exposes Cyberspace Dangers (Backstage)
- Corey Feldman on Abuse Allegations (Vanity Fair)
Safety Links from SAGAFTRA
An Open Secret
A must-see documentary feature film about young performers and the people who took advantage of their dreams. Directed by Academy Award nominee Amy Berg (The Case of Adnan Sayed, Janis: Little Girl Blue, Deliver Us from Evil), the film won an 88% approval rating on Rotten Tomatoes and the The Los Angeles Times described the movie as “not the hard-hitting exposé” but as “an unsettling look at pedophilia in Hollywood”. After more than a decade of researching pedophilia in the child actor community, Bizparentz opened up our case files to the production company and worked with the film makers for more than three years. We hoped that a sensitive, truthful, portrayal of vicitms and their families would allow their stories to be told in a way that would be educational for new showbiz families. We believe the film accomplishes that goal. The film’s producers have generously made the film available for FREE on Vimeo. Please watch.
An Open Secret (PG13) 1:38 min.