(Note: Parts of this post are graphic and may create triggers.)
We don’t pull our punches here.
Did you see it? Just weeks after the dancing little girls’ sexy viral routine to “Put A Ring On It”, we’ve got a new video to talk about: Baby Gaga.
Why am I so very, very white hot mad about this one? The “Put A Ring On It” 8yo video was a homemade movie put on YouTube for friends and family. I truly believe that. I believe the dance routine and costumes were raunch and completely inappropriate for talented young girls and that their parents are naive, but I truly do believe they did not intend for it to go viral. They were just very proud of their girls.
Baby Gaga is different. Baby Gaga was scripted and professionally shot and edited and fully intended to go viral. And although the video is offensive and exploitative, it isn’t illegal in terms of child pornography. Because of my former career in criminal investigations, I have viewed a lot of child pornography. And Baby Gaga REEKS OF IT.
IT BLURS THE LINE OF TABOO. Handcuffs. Gyrating. Costumes. Mocked drug use. Vacant look on child during forced performance. REEKS OF IT.
Jake Wilson wants to be famous. Really badly. Jake Wilson (www.thebatterysdown.com, @jakewil) directed a little three year old girl named Keira in a “spoof” of Lady Gaga’s song “Telephone” and it went viral in three days. All the while Pigtail Pals was tweeting and posting about it to raise a GIANT red flag and asking people to flag the video on YouTube and have it taken down. I started hollering about it on June 4, when it had around 64,000 views (Thanks @kklausser for the good looking out). By June 8th it was viral and Jake Wilson and Little Keira’s mom Heidi Ladrow sat on the couches of CBS’s The Early show looking confused and uncomfortable as psychotherapist Heide Banks explained the long term effects and why maybe this wasn’t such a great idea. Jake Wilson did take the video down from his account around 9:15am EST on June 8th, probably as he was walking out of the CBS studios…but not after using media tags and promotion from his twitter account to make sure thousands and thousands and hundreds of thousands of people saw it.
Here’s what I saw: A sexualized and disturbing forced performance done by a very small child wearing handcuffs, sexually provocative clothing and heavy make-up. Images of the small child simulating drug use with a pipe and bottle in a bathtub, along with a dance troop of scantily clad women, and a bar scene finish out the video. I didn’t see a happy child. I saw a child who seemed annoyed, uncomfortable, and seriously confused be used as an exploited prop so that Jake Wilson could make a name for himself.
Did you see the completely redonkulous interview given by the child’s mother and Jake Wilson on the CBS Early Show? Here’s the clip.
In the interview, Maggie Rodriguez treats Little Keira’s mommy with kid gloves, asking how the video came about. Keira’s mom gave a scripted answer that the video was a result of Keira’s “energetic and playful personality”. She states the child has known the director since she was an infant, and felt very comfortable with him. Heidi Ladrow (Keira’s mom) says, “It was perfect because she is so animated.” That’s not what I saw in the video, did you? Well, I guess Maggie didn’t see it either because then she delicately asks Jake that it didn’t seem like Keira was enjoying it, so she asks what it was like on the shoot. He says, “Every child likes to play dress up, that is kind of the joy of being a kid.” Except that the kind of “dress up” Keira was forced to do is nothing that would come naturally to a child. Sexualization took place during the making of this video.
Heidi Ladrow and Jake Wilson claim to CBS’s Maggie Rodriquez that the video only took three hours to make and that it was made for family and friends (I call shenanigans). It was from the START intended to go viral. There is NO WAY that video was professionally shot in just three hours. The make-up and costume changes with a three year old would have taken that long alone. The amount of editing in final production makes it pretty obvious that was a long day of shooting. Hey Jake, just wondering, what is New York state’s law on child performers and the number of consecutive hours children under 6 years old can work? To contradict the claim it was made “for family and friends and we didn’t expect it to get this big”…..
From June 4-8th where he several times over promotes the video and congratulates himself when Ryan Seacrest retweets it, when it hits the Huffington Post, AOL, ABC News, CNN, E! News, etc…
And of this morning, June 11, he is STILL promoting his #BabyGaga video: “wait, so if Jason Stackhouse is on the cover of Ent. Weekly, he must have seen #BabyGaga, right? which means he MUST want 2 meet me!”
Then we get to the good part where Heidi Ladrow says it was all okay because her three year old is self-actualized and you really can’t make a three year old do anything…..
And here’s where we’re going to stop and I’m going to get angry. First, let’s just get out of the way that considering “self-actualization” sits at the tip top of Maslow’s heirarchy of needs and is achieved only at the highest level of psychological development, I find it highly unlikely anyone’s child has climbed that high in three years of life. I’ve gotta be honest here, I think that not even the Dalai Lama himself was self-actualized at three years old. Second, if Keira’s mom meant to say “self-confident” (which I could go for at three years old) then what she and Jake did is all the worse because early sexualization breaks down and destroys a young girls’ self-confidence.
I am SO VERY ANGRY because what Jake and Heidi did with Little Keira, ignorance not withstanding, is prematurely sexualize her. I heard from many, many people who were completley disgusted by the video. As well they should be. But you know who wasn’t disgusted? The people who partake in the $3 billion annual trade of child pornography and child sexploitation. The people who abuse children over and over and over again, and get huge amounts of pleasure while doing it. The people, who thanks to Jake and Heidi, don’t have to work very hard to have the predilections and fantasies of having sex with children satisfied. Jake saw this as a way to get famous. But there are thousands of men, like this one, and these guys, who saw it as condonement for their viewing children as sexual objects for molestation and rape. Baby Gaga told the people who look at children in this way that this mainstream thinking, that it is okay. And horrifically, it tells these men that the children want it. This is the danger of blurring the line of taboo.
“Viewing the material does motivate you to do other things … the more I saw it, the more I long for it in my heart. I really wanted to have sex with a child and that was all-consuming.” – comments on online child pornography by Michael Briere, serving a life term for the abduction, sex assault and murder of 10-year-old Holly Jones in Toronto. http://cnews.canoe.ca/CNEWS/Crime/2010/06/05/14278636.html?cid=rssnewslast24hours
There are not child predators lurking around every street corner. Unless you are online. Feeding that industry in any way in unconscionable. Unconscionable. I don’t think that was Heidi’s or Jake’s intent. But they’ve done nothing to stop it. He’s still promoting it. And I cry foul.
Children have the right to be children. They have the right to play dress up and explore through role play. Using a child in a sexualized spoof of Lady Gaga does not protect this right. It degrades it. It desensitizes the public to become apathetic towards ideas of children and sex. And for those who have fetishes and fantasies about touching, molesting, raping, and torturing children….it tells them they that possibly they aren’t the perverse derelicts of society that they are. After all, the child’s own mother placed her in this video and defended the video on national tv as something that had to be outrageous, and that was okay because her daughter has a spunky personality.
There is no defense of the sexualization and exploitation of children.
If you feel you have come across child pornography online, please report to the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children’s Cyber Tipline.
If you think you have seen a Missing Child, please report to the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children 24-hour Call Center.
Any possesion, in any media form, of child pornography is illegal. If you know someone in possession of this, report to you local Police Department of Sheriff’s Office.
If you feel you or someone you know has been a victim in the making of child pornography, report to the FBI’s Innocent Images National Initiative.
This post was composed in honor of the memory of Dylan Groene.
Rest peacefully, Sweet Boy.