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Thread: Kid Nation in the Media

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    Who Dat lildago's Avatar
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    Kid Nation in the Media

    http://www.nytimes.com/2007/08/22/us...ref=television

    CBS Was Warned on ‘Kid Nation,’ Documents Show

    LOS ANGELES, Aug. 21 — The producers of a CBS reality show featuring 40 children living on their own in the New Mexico desert were warned by the state attorney general's office while the show was being taped last spring that they might be violating the state's child-labor laws, according to interviews with state officials and documents obtained Tuesday under the state's open records act.

    The show, "Kid Nation," which is scheduled to premiere on CBS on Sept. 19, is a reality show whose premise is to take 40 children, ages 8 to 15, and place them in a "ghost town" in New Mexico to see if they can build a working society without the help of adults.

    But after the production ended in mid-May, the parent of one child in the production complained to state officials that the children's treatment bordered on abuse. Four children received medical treatment for accidentally drinking bleach, one child was burned on her face with hot grease while cooking in an unsupervised kitchen, and most of the children were required to work 14 hours or longer per day. They received a payment of $5,000 for their participation.

    In interviews last week, CBS contended the children were not employees because they were not performing specific work for specific wages. A lawyer for CBS, Jonathan Anschell, said the network had received no indication that it was violating the law.

    But on May 1, two weeks after a state labor inspector was turned away from the site, Andrea R. Buzzard, a New Mexico assistant attorney general, warned in a letter to lawyers for the production that the state did not agree with the network's interpretation of state labor law.

    "We are not certain that those laws are limited to traditional 'employment' relationships," Ms. Buzzard wrote, citing part of the state child-labor statutes that say that a child's frequent presence at a work site "shall be prima facie evidence that such child is unlawfully engaged in labor."

    New Mexico frequently issues exemptions to its child-labor statutes to Boy Scout camps, Boys and Girls Clubs and similar groups to allow minor members of those groups to participate what would otherwise be considered work, Carlos Castaneda, a spokesman for the state labor department, now known as the Department of Workforce Solutions, said Tuesday.

    Mr. Castaneda said the producers of "Kid Nation" should have followed a special permit process. "We have requests for these permits every summer, to waive the child labor laws and minimum wage rights for camps," he said. "We were not trying to put obstacles in front of the production. We wanted to provide for the safety of children."

    CBS officials had used the "camp" designation to characterize the reality show in discussions with parents, Ghen Maynard, the executive vice president in charge of CBS's reality programming division, said last week. CBS spokesmen did not respond Tuesday to requests for comment on the attorney general's letters.

    Mr. Castaneda said that CBS and Good TV Inc., the production company behind the show, neither applied for nor were issued such an exemption during the six weeks they spent working on the show. The program took place on the Bonanza Creek Movie Ranch, eight miles south of Santa Fe.

    An official with the New Mexico state department that oversees group homes for children said last week that the production appeared to violate state laws requiring residential units like the one housing the show's participants to be licensed.

    When a state labor inspector, Abe Tapia, visited the ranch on April 13, to see if the production had work permits for the children, he was told to wait in a production crew dining area for a producer. After waiting for about an hour, Mr. Tapia was told that the show's executive producer, Tom Forman, would not be available that day.

    Mr. Tapia returned to the site the following day and on April 16, but was stopped at the front gate and not allowed onto the property.

    The visits were prompted by an anonymous phone call reporting on the activity involving children on the ranch, Mr. Castaneda said. After Mr. Tapia's visit, a New Mexico lawyer representing CBS and Good TV wrote to the state attorney general's office explaining the production, Mr. Anschell said last week.

    "No one from that office, despite a detailed description of what we were doing, ever raised an issue whether licensing was required," Mr. Anschell said.

    But the letter from the attorney general's office indicates otherwise. In addition to pointing out that the definition of work in the state's labor laws appeared to be broader than CBS was saying, Ms. Buzzard, the assistant attorney general, requested a copy of the network's agreements with the child actors.

    After receiving the agreement, the attorney general's office again wrote to the production's representatives, on May 24. But by that time, the CBS show had packed up and left the state, and the state officials said the applicability of the state law was moot. But they pointed out that a new state law would soon go into effect specifically limiting the amount of time that children can work each day on television productions.
    I've been reading several news articles on the filming of this show. It's interesting how some of the parents are really protesting over the conditions and how hard the kids worked. Others report a positive experience and liken it to summer camp. I'm not certain if any child labor laws were actually broken. If not, I say a little good old-fashioned elbow grease never hurt anyone.
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    FORT Fogey katgib13's Avatar
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    Re: Kid Nation in the Media

    I say if the parents and the children consented to this and they knew they'd be working....which is obvious...then what's the problem? I think the problem with todays kids are...not enough of them have to work. Several of my sons friends don't really have to do chores, nor do they have to get a job to buy the things they want. My boys have daily chores and they have to work if they want to drive. I refuse to make the car and insurance payments. We have enough bills without adding 2 extra car payments on top of them. On the other hand....we buy all their 'needs' and gifts for holidays and such. They don't have to buy deodorant or clothing. Anything extra...they are on their own.

    It would be great if we could afford to pay for their cars, but then again, the way we are doing it is hopefully, teaching them responsibility and the money management. Too bad there isn't a manual for raising kids.

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    JR.
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    Re: Kid Nation in the Media

    Quote Originally Posted by lildago;2539594;
    I've been reading several news articles on the filming of this show. It's interesting how some of the parents are really protesting over the conditions and how hard the kids worked.
    This is probably coming from those sissy parents that coddle their kids. God forbid their spoiled little snots have to do some actual work

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    FORT Newbie lonewriter's Avatar
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    Re: Kid Nation in the Media

    I know I wouldn't allow my kid on this show besides, this crap will probally get cancelled in two weeks.

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    would rather be cruising! marybethp's Avatar
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    Re: Kid Nation in the Media

    Good Morning America did a spot on this subject this morning. Ultimately I think CBS picked New Mexico for the "easier" child labor laws (it sounded like that from the report). They also said that even though they signed the 22 page contract, they could still sue if they wanted to.

    I just wonder what the parents expected - it wasn't billed as sitting around a campfire singing kumbayah.

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    FORT Fogey canadian_angel's Avatar
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    Re: Kid Nation in the Media

    Reading the agreement/waiver the parents had to sign made me wonder just what the heck the parents were thinking!

    Parents of minors starring in "Kid Nation," the controversial new CBS reality show, signed away their rights to sue the network and the show's producers if their child died, was severely injured, or contracted a sexually transmitted disease during the program's taping. The blanket liability waivers are contained in a detailed "participant agreement" prepared by the show's producers and signed by parents. That document, a copy of which you'll find below, also gave consent to CBS and its production partners to make medical treatment decisions on the minor's behalf (including surgery), though the network made no promises about the "qualifications or credentials" of medical professionals that might treat the stars of "Kid Nation," which was originally titled "The Manhattan Project." The show, which debuts next month, features 40 children (ages 8-15) living in a New Mexico "ghost town" for 40 days without adult supervision. Concerns about possible violations of child labor laws have prompted state officials to investigate the TV production. A copy of the participant agreement was provided to TSG by the New Mexico attorney general's office in response to an open records request. By signing the agreement, a parent gave CBS the right to "search the Minor's person and the Minor's belongings (including, without limitation, by x-ray or similar device)." Additionally, the agreement notes, "Kid Nation" participants "will have no privacy," except when they are in the bathroom. Provided, of course, that the child is actually "in the process of showering, bathing, urinating, or defecating." Parents are also asked to attest that their offspring has never been convicted of a misdemeanor or felony, and has never had a restraining order entered against them. The agreement also includes a strict confidentiality clause covering media contacts and the disclosure of anything learned during the show's production. If a parent or minor violates these confidentiality provisions, they will be liable to CBS for a $5 million penalty, according to the agreement. "Kid Nation" participants were paid $5000, though some earned $20,000 bonuses pegged to their performance in the program's individual 13 episodes.
    Yikes

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    Crazy Shutterbug Harmony2000's Avatar
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    Re: Kid Nation in the Media

    Have you all seen this?

    A CBS reality series in which youngsters run their own town has prompted complaints from one of the children's parents, and may have skirted New Mexico's child-protection laws.

    "Kid Nation," slated to premiere Sept. 19, was filmed over 40 days during April and May in a movie-set town in the high desert just south of Santa Fe.

    While parents and children made available by CBS praised the production as safe, well-supervised and a learning experience, one mother has told authorities the conditions warrant an abuse investigation.

    Janis Miles of Fayetteville, Ga., said in a letter that her 12-year-old daughter, Divad Miles, was spattered on her face with grease while cooking potatoes on a wood stove, and that four other children required medical attention after they accidentally drank bleach.

    Her daughter also had a rash that had caused scarring, and sunburn on her face and hands, Miles wrote.

    Miles declined to talk to a reporter, referring calls to CBS.

    Tom Forman, the show's executive producer, confirmed the grease-spattering and bleach-sipping incidents, but called them the kinds of accidents that can happen "in any kitchen, in any school, in any home, in any camp" and said that the children immediately got medical attention.

    Forman said adults were present at all times during the production, ready to step in.

    CBS said paramedics, a pediatrician, an animal safety expert, a child psychologist and a "roster of producers" were onsite, too. Children were required to arrange with their school districts to make up missed work, the network said.

    "There's an unhappy parent, and in retrospect it was probably a bad match. ... This seems to be a parent who regrets the decision to sign her child up for Kid Nation," Forman said.

    The children in the show, ages 8-15, hauled water, prepared meals, elected a government and passed laws.

    "The whole concept of the show is 40 kids who build a world of their own," Forman said.

    The children are to be paid $5,000 apiece when the series airs, and one child per episode was awarded a solid-gold star by the town's elected government worth $20,000, Forman said.

    Miles complained to a sheriff in Georgia in June, and her letter was forwarded to Santa Fe County Sheriff Greg Solano, who said his office investigated and found "no prosecutable evidence of neglect or abuse."

    "I never for one instant felt uncomfortable or unsafe," said Michael, a 14-year-old participant who lives near Seattle. "We did do some physical work, but it wasn't like we were chained to water buckets all day."

    According to documents obtained from the New Mexico attorney general's office, parents signed a 22-page agreement in which they waived their rights to sue the network or production company if their children died or were injured. The agreement also acknowledged that the participants "will have no privacy," except while using bathrooms or changing rooms.

    "The series was filmed responsibly and within all applicable laws in the state of New Mexico at the time of the production," CBS said in a statement.

    Daphne, a Chicago mother, said her 14-year-old son, DK, accidentally used bleach when he was mixing a soda drink but felt fine after he tasted it. She said the show was an opportunity for her son to meet kids from other backgrounds.

    State officials were largely unaware that the production was under way on the privately owned Bonanza Creek Movie Ranch. The state Film Office knew a "highly confidential" TV reality show would be shot there, but the office required no permits for it.

    There are "congregate care" state licensing requirements when children are in group settings, according to the Children, Youth and Families Department, which didn't learn of the production until it was over.

    New Mexico's child labor laws were changed as of June 15 to mirror California's requirements for child actors, because of the burgeoning film industry in the state.

    But labor laws were in force during the filming, restricting the types of work children could do and hours they could work, and mandating work permits.

    Lawyers for Good TV, Inc., the show's producer, told state officials that the "Kid Nation" children were not actors but rather were "volunteer contestants/participants" not required to have work permits.

    The state Attorney General's office disputed the production company's interpretation but said the issue was moot because filming had concluded and any future productions would fall under the new law.

    New Mexico has been promoting itself as a film location and 16 film or television productions are in the works right now, said the Film Office's director, Lisa Strout.

    "This was our first experience with reality TV," said Strout, who said it was "questionable" whether the production complied with applicable state laws. "There's not any precedent to rely on. ... It's a breed unto itself that the whole industry is really looking at."
    AP article at Yahoo TV

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    FORT Fogey katgib13's Avatar
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    Re: Kid Nation in the Media

    Wow! I guess I'd be more upset about about the possibility of death, serious injury and STD's than the labor laws! Everyone is crying foul about the wrong topic, IMO. No way in hell would I have let my children do this. No way.

  9. #9
    Read The Clue Bearcata's Avatar
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    Re: Kid Nation in the Media

    First of all I am sure that the casting director did not have to put a gun to these people's heads to have their previous bundles of joy on this show. Its free summer camp and 15 minutes of fame on national TV. On top of that earning $5,000 with the possibility of $20,000. Hey, that covers the kids college fund.

    As far as the mother complianinng that her daughter had sunburn on her hands and face; ah DUH! It's New Mexico in the summer.
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    Endlessly ShrinkingViolet's Avatar
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    Re: Kid Nation in the Media

    Have you checked into college prices lately? I'm paying $40,000 for one year.

    Janis Miles of Fayetteville, Ga., said in a letter that her 12-year-old daughter, Divad Miles, was spattered on her face with grease while cooking potatoes on a wood stove, and that four other children required medical attention after they accidentally drank bleach.

    Her daughter also had a rash that had caused scarring, and sunburn on her face and hands, Miles wrote.
    This really sounds like a disgruntled parent, which probably means her child didn't win. The tune would probably change had won.

    Miles complained to a sheriff in Georgia in June, and her letter was forwarded to Santa Fe County Sheriff Greg Solano, who said his office investigated and found "no prosecutable evidence of neglect or abuse."
    I'm glad they did an investigation, but I'm sure there will still be some kids and parents unhappy because this didn't turn out how they had envisioned it.

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