Pennsylvania state law allows children under the age of 7 to work in film, but not on television shows such as TLC’s “Kate Plus 8.,” according to Philadelphia lawmaker Rep. Thomas Murt (R-Pa.).
In other words, Aaden, Alexis, Collin, Hannah, Joel and Leah — who turned 6 in May — would not be allowed to participate in the show.
Yesterday, Murt questioned the legality of the children’s work permits in a series of letters to the state attorney general and labor secretary.
“It appears those permits were granted even though the law does not provide for them,” Murt said in a statement.
TLC’s ”Kate Plus 8″ is filmed in Wernersville, Pa. In April, Murt conducted a legislative hearing on the importance of updating child labor laws in the age of reality TV. At the hearing, Kate Gosselin’s estranged brother said he worried about the psychological effects of constantly being filmed might have on his nephews and nieces.
An investigation found that TLC producers sfailed to obtain work permits for the original “Jon & Kate Plus 8.” But no penalties were imposed as long as the producers obtained permits for future filming. Also, a portion of the show’s proceeds were placed in a trust fund for the kids.
The producers then obtained six-month work permits for “Kate Plus 8″ that limit the hours and conditions of filming the children. But Murt says that current regulations apply to film productions and not TV shows. Last month, Murt introduced a bill to reform child labor laws in the age of reality TV.
Other reality shows which involve underage kids such as “The Real Housewives of New Jersey” have also faced scrutiny over child labor issues recently.
“Clearly something needs to be done when it comes to policing children on reality shows. With many of these programs, kids do not need to obtain permits and child labor laws do not apply because the programs are labeled as documentaries,” wrote Maralee at Famecrawler.
Even if Rep. Murt gets his way, the Gosselin’s 9-year-old twins Cara and Mady would still be able to appear on the show. But the shows ratings are already way down this season. Who would tune in to watch Kate Plus Two? Not to mention – how will Kate Gosselin’s show depict her life as a mom when six of her children aren’t shown onscreen?
Personally, I hope this means the Gosselins will just go away. But, that’s just me.