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Scott D. Pierce: Tori Spelling's new show constitutes child abuse

Published April 28, 2014 1:02 pm
This is an archived article that was published on sltrib.com in 2014, and information in the article may be outdated. It is provided only for personal research purposes and may not be reprinted.

It would be nice if Tori Spelling would think a lot more about her four young children and a lot less about herself. Involving them in her latest reality show borders on child abuse.

Actually, it's crossed that border. It is child abuse.

In case you were lucky enough to miss it, the former "Beverly Hills, 90210" star has been in the tabloids of late because her husband, Dean McDermott, cheated on her.

Yes, that's terrible. Yes, it's easy to feel sympathy for Spelling. If you've been in a break-up of any kind you know how painful it can be, let alone when the other person cheated on you.

But you don't have to make a spectacle of yourself on TV. You certainly don't make your children part of that spectacle.

That's exactly what Spelling is doing in her latest reality show, "True Tori." And it's appalling.

Utterly oblivious to what she was saying, Spelling actually told viewers in the series premiere, "I didn't want this to define me. To define [the children]. I wanted their lives to stay as normal as possible."

Normal? Really? Normal is putting their personal family tragedy on TV?

Apparently, if you grew up the daughter of TV producer Aaron Spelling and have been around show business all your life, it warps your perception of reality.

Which may be why Spelling hasn't given a second thought to putting her children — ages 7, 5, 2 and 20 months — on television while she turns them into ratings fodder.

There's something more than a bit off about a woman who complains repeatedly about the paparazzi following her children at the same time she's having them filmed for "True Tori."

It may be cathartic for Spelling to let cameras follow her and her children, It may feel good to throw her husband — however deservedly — under the bus.

You don't doubt her sincerity when she says, "Everyone told the story of my life except me, so that's why I wanted to do this."

But it's not fair to the children. This is going to follow them forever. No child should be exposed to their parents' marital meltdown, let alone have it (and them) documented on TV.

Remember "John & Kate Plus Eight"?

"True Tori' is odious. And Lifetime shares the blame by airing this series (Tuesdays, 8 and 9 p.m.).

Spelling and McDermott have done this before. They were both married to other people when they got together, and they gave no thought to what they were doing to his children from his first marriage when they did their first reality series.

Those kids got to see their father on TV with the woman for whom he left their mother,

McDermott's first wife didn't put their kids on TV. She put her kids first. She's not Tori Spelling.

If you're not a parent, you can embarrass yourself any way you want on TV. If you have kids, it should be about them, not you.

Scott D. Pierce covers television for The Salt Lake Tribune. Email him at spierce@sltrib.com; follow him on Twitter @ScottDPierce.




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