It makes good
sense that there should be a law to keep sexual predators from working
with children in general but given what we now know about the
underbelly of Hollywood, a law specifically focusing on the
entertainment industry seems justified.
Jerry Brown signed one into law in 2012. It may be one of the least
dunderheaded things he’s done. The problem is that the law isn’t
working. Without enforcement, you can pass all the laws you want but
as we often argue with regard to gun laws, the only people who are
going to abide by the law are not the people the law was written
reporting that the reason why the California law protecting kids in
the entertainment industry isn’t working is that Hollywood
is basically ignoring it.
One of the key
California laws designed to protect child actors from sexual
predators has gone largely ignored and unenforced since it was
enacted five years ago. The law requires publicists, managers,
acting coaches and headshot photographers who work with child actors
to be fingerprinted and pass an FBI background check to screen out
registered sex offenders. Only then will they be issued a Child
Performer Services Permit.
sense. When I signed up to teach religious education at my church in
the late 90s, I literally had to do the same thing. Nobody in
Hollywood is doing it according to Deadline.
investigation, however, has found that not a single Hollywood
publicist who represents child actors has obtained a permit. Dozens
of managers, acting coaches and photographers who work with child
stars have also failed to comply with the law, which is punishable
by a year in county jail and a $10,000 fine. And yet, no one has
ever been charged with breaking it.
going to get away with things that you let them get away with. It is
astounding that no one has ever been charged while so many flagrantly
ignore the law. Clearly enforcement mechanisms weren’t established or
if they were, they have been run by incompetents.
The law, AB 1660,
prohibits registered sex offenders from “representing or providing
specified services to artists or performers under 18 years of age.”
Fingerprints and FBI background checks are required to ensure that
registered sex offenders don’t skirt the law by working under
also loopholes easily exploited by creepy individuals.
At the time, the
bill’s author, Assemblywoman Nora Campos, said that “Under the
existing law, talent agents are regulated; however, casting
directors, managers and photographers are not. This loophole makes
it very easy for a predator to gain access to children working
within the entertainment industry.”
AB 1660 was
passed in response to specific cases where pedophiles found their way
back into the business after being convicted. As seems to be the case
sometimes with laws passed while politicians are in “we have to do
something about this” mode, there was no follow through.
This is at
least in part a result of the inherent problems with centralized
government. They’re good at making rules but not good at enforcing
them. Elected officials are usually hidebound to the idea that making
more rules will somehow correct the problem with the existing rules
not achieving the desired effect.
The only real
way to solve this sort of problem is for the parents of child actors
to step up and refuse to allow their kids to work with anyone who
doesn’t obtain the proper certifications. The lure of money and fame
probably makes that unlikely in a lot of cases though.