Saturday, January 28, 2012

0 'Toddlers and Tiaras' Mom Sues TMZ for Sexualizing Her Daughter

Isabella Barrett attends Isabella Barrett's from TLC's Toddlers and Tiaras Reality Weekly Launch Event to benefit her anti-bullying bracelets at the Providence Marriott Downtown Hotel on December 29, 2011 in Providence, Rhode Island.
  Toddlers and Tiaras has come under fire in recent months for featuring little girls dressing up as prostitutes and engaging in a whole host of behaviors generally inappropriate for children who still drink out of sippy cups. Media outlets haven't shied away from covering the TLC shame fest, but now one Toddlers mom is fighting back.

According to the New York Daily News, pageant mom Susanna Barrett has filed a $30 million libel lawsuit against TMZ, Huffington Post, and the Daily Mail because the websites posted a video of her 5-year-old daughter, Isabella, singing LMFAO's "Sexy and I Know It" at a night club (don't try and ask yourself what a 5-year-old was doing at a night club, that path leads to madness). The websites described the child's act as "gyrating in a nightclub and singing about her sex appeal," which is a portrayal of the event that Barrett and her lawyers have taken issue with.

"(Isabella) did not understand the concept of sex, let alone 'sex appeal' and could not have been singing about her own sex appeal," the suit states. "It is the defendants who, through their articles, have thrust these false and vulgar characteristics on to Isabella. As a result, Isabella is now perceived sexually, erotically and pornographically, and (the stories) have placed Isabella in serious physical danger, attracting the attention of others who would seek to sexualize a child."

Having watched the video of little Isabella singing "Sexy and I Know It," the performance is, indeed, fairly tame. But one cannot argue that the act of putting a little girl on an exploitative reality program (in any capacity) potentially exposes her to a level of unwanted media scrutiny that can be drastically harmful, both to her psyche and to her reputation. Isabella and the rest of those little girls deserve better from everyone involved.

• Nerd alert! The Big Bang Theory beat American Idol in the ratings last night for the second week in a row. Does this spell the beginning of the end for the reality TV juggernaut, which has ruled the airwaves for a stunning 10 seasons? No, probably not. While the CBS sitcom beat the singing competition during the first half-hour, Idol and its merry band of wannabe warblers still averaged 17 million total viewers, so it's not getting canceled anytime soon. And as last year's winner Scotty McCreery proved when his debut album hit #1 on the Billboard charts in its first week, the show still knows how to churn out major music stars.

• Kim Kardashian has landed another television role, which means 1,000 more aspiring actors in LA officially want to kill themselves. The reality TV diva has signed on for a multi-episode arc in Lifetime's Drop Dead Diva. The Hollywood Reporter reports that Kardashian will play a love interest for one of the main characters. “In discussing the role of Nikki with her, I'm blown away by her smarts, sense of humor and passion," said Drop Dead Diva creator and executive producer Josh Berman, presumably while his nose grew two feet long.

• So apparently it's Gossip Girl Day. Not on the internet or on your DVR, but like in real life. New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg celebrated the very important occasion (sure to be a national holiday by next year) with a ceremony on the Gossip Girl set in Queens, NY, on Friday. Monday night marks the show's 100th episode, which will feature Blair's highly anticipated wedding day. According to GG executive producer Josh Safran, the final scene of the milestone episode will include a moment that will make fans "gasp."

“What we can say is that why we made that decision will become clear with future episodes because, obviously, you’ll learn more about why that has happened, how that has happened," Safran told Entertainment Weekly. "You see, it was such an easy decision… It wasn’t something we belabored over or had long discussions about. It really wasn’t.”

Well NOW you have us intrigued...

The Client List, the Lifetime original movie that starred Jennifer Love Hewitt as a mother of three who turns to prostitution to make ends meet, is being turned into a television show. As if that weren't enough good news, Hewitt has released a new music video to promote the series that features the actress belting out the classic sultry tune "Big Spender" from the Broadway musical Sweet Charity. Is it cheesy? Yes. Ridiculous? Yes. But is it also totally enjoyable in that shamefully-indulgent-watch-it-with-your-girlfriends-while-eating-bonbons kind of way?

DVR Watch: Chuck says good-bye with a 2-hour series finale (NBC, 8pm), Shark Tank has not one, but TWO cat-themed business proposals, Spartacus: Vengeance premieres season 2 (with Liam McIntyre replacing the late Andy Whitfield in the title role) (Starz, 10pm), and Portlandia has Fred and Carrie leaving Portland to escape a new DJ craze (IFC, 10pm).

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