Players: Melissa Henson, communications director for the Parents Television Council--a group that "advocates responsible entertainment"; Lindsay Jackson and Wendy Dickey, mothers whose young girls appeared on TLC's Toddlers and Tiaras.
The Opening Serve: On August 31, Toddlers and Tiaras featured a 4-year old wearing fake breasts and butt enhancements, dressed as Dolly Parton. "It was an outfit that was made for me when I used to compete in pageants," said Lindsay Jackson during the episode. "When she wears the fake boobs and fake butt, it's an added bonus and it's really funny...they all of a sudden realize she is Dolly...we tend to score really well with it." Facing viewer outrage TLC pulled the show's Facebook page, but that didn't stop the show from featuring a 3-year-old dressed as Julia Roberts's Vivian Ward, a prostitute, in Pretty Woman. "We have a serious problem when The Learning Channel features a toddler, who probably hasn't even learned to read, dressed as a prostitute showing off her sexy strut," Melissa Henson, director of communications and public education for the PTC tells The Hollywood Reporter. "There's no question, TV executives are complicit in robbing these small kids of their childhood," she continues. "For years we've seen adults sexuality being inappropriately and aggressively foisted on innocent young children, but children today are being sexualized at younger and younger ages. All available data suggests they will suffer for it later in life."
The Return Volley: Lindsay Jackson took to her own Facebook page to battle the criticism. "And so it begins...withou