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The Magic Cafe Forum Index » » The little darlings » » Promotion and Paedophilia (0 Likes) Printer Friendly Version

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Tony James
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Whilst I agree with you Steven it's no use just praying and hoping. You've got to do something about it.

But what? Any ideas?
Tony James

Still A Child At Heart
MagicSanta
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Northern Nevada
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I find tarted up kids disturbing. I'm old fashion I guess, I don't like kids in make up or pierced ears etc.. I remember a cover of Psychology Today that ran a cover of a very attractive woman and they asked people to mail in (this was around 1977 so no email) their thoughts and what they guessed her age, the photo was just of her face. A few months later they ran a follow up. The average guess was she was 19 and a model, the youngest guess was 17 the oldest 23. She was eight. The article went on to show her being made up and it was very weird seeing this kid turned into, from the neck up, an adult in appearance. They also discussed how that causes confusion and problems for the mental cases out there who might be into kids or who may ignore the fact she is eight and only respond to the made up look. My point being that there is a bases for this type of 'dress up' making kids targets for even non peds. Hey, if you are okay with it then I guess that is on you, I find it disturbing and want kids to be kids.
TomBoleware
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Same here Santa, I want kids to be kids too. I don’t like seeing kids dressed this way out in public myself. Nor does the site suggest they go out in public, it’s a home party show. We like to think that we are safe at home.

We have to let kids be kids, and as sad as is may be, kids are different nowadays. They dress different and they look different. But other than each of us still seeing them as being anything except kids, there is nothing we can do. We can’t stop parents from dressing up their own kids. We can’t shut down all the costume shops, and we shouldn’t condemn a fellow magician for selling something that the parents want. And that’s all I’m saying really, that we shouldn’t be so quick to put down someone as nice as Dennis. He believes in looking out for the kids as much or more than any of us.

Tom
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Tony James
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This thread is about the differences and similarities between the UK and USA attitudes to child abuse as reflected in the way children’s entertainers promote themselves.

Just as I might have a girl wear an apron and chefs hat to do cooking or a boy in tricorn hat and black cloak as a highwayman.

Is this sort of wear and the promotion of it by magicians accepted as normal in the USA or is it the unfortunate consequence of ignorance?

I would hope it’s ignorance, ignorance of the effect on others.

Caused perhaps by the absence of consulting a third party who should have said ‘Hang on – just take another look and think again.’

The alternative – that this is normal and acceptable in the USA – would make me feel even more uncomfortable than those images.

Posted: Feb 4, 2007 10:57am
This is a cultural thing. Pictures of that sort do not cause discomfort in the USA. it's not a problem to you.

But as you can see it is quite a different perception over here in the UK.

They would be really unacceptable and your business would suffer if you used them. What's more, teachers and similar would be likely to report them to the local authority child abuse unit and that could cause you a lot of trouble.

So, it's a difference in perception. I'm surprised. I always thought the USA was in the vanguard of sensitivity, the safety of children and families being a high priority and therefore would be even more careful than the UK to ensure that the promotion of children's activities was executed professionally, in a wholesome and safe manner.

Not as one post put it as 'seedy.'
Tony James

Still A Child At Heart
Potty the Pirate
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I was thinking about what I posted earlier, and realised that in my days working in a processing lab, shots such as these would have drawn attention. We would certainly have made a note of the photographer's name, and checked future images. Obviously most photographs like this are actually innocent, in this case, the cheap promo images the costume company has had taken. But sometimes, the guys that first brought in "harmless" images like this, would get emboldened, as we never gave a hint that we even saw the photos. Then we'd have far more graphic images, and would copy them and supply the duplicates to the Police.
Subconciously, I think many folk are aware that these images would appeal to this type of person, and that causes a natural unease. I can see why the images have been used, they're simply the same pics the costume company makes. What's the big deal? Well, the images used in packaging on display in a store are one thing. The images an entertainer chooses to put on his website are another....
Tony James
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Seems these people trawl the internet for pictures of children. Children's entertainers are a first point of call. What they get out of it I don't know.

Most UK sites there'd be little there except very well covered up children laughing and pointing..

As you say these posed semi naked and tarted up pictures are probably what theu hope to find. There's not likely to be much worse is there? They'd have to go elsewhere for comprmising material.

I still find it difficult to believe that Americans find this type of picture normal and acceptable and not disturbing.

I thought our two cultures were closer than that.
Tony James

Still A Child At Heart
kenscott
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I don't think so Tony. More UK performers find that the fantasy magician ( tux around the kid and you put your arms through) is bad, where I have been doing the routine since 96 with 100% no problems.

I think the cultures are different.

Ken
Potty the Pirate
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When I lived in the States, I don't recall the issue of paedophilia appearing on TV that much, though of course, this might have changed. But in the UK, it's now a regular thing on the news, to hear of horrific cases of child abuse. Perhaps it's a media-driven thing. Being aware of folks' sensitivity is fine, but I think over reaction is not only unneccessary, it could actually cause unease among clients.
kimmo
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It is the hysteria surrounding these issues that is the main concern to entertainers in the U.K. For our American friends I'll provide a little background info:
In July 2000 a young girl called Sarah Payne was abducted and murdered while she was out playing with her brother. The British media were outraged and the editors of one tabloid, The News of the World, took it upon themselves to publish the names, pictures and addresses of known paedophiles. Almost immediately, vigilante groups attacked these people, and protest marches were held around their houses. In the hysteria, innocent people were mistaken for paedophiles and in one shameful incident a paediatrician was attacked. The simple fact that most child abuse occurs at the hands of relatives in the home was largely ignored. It was at this time that I received disturbing phone calls about having photos of children on my website. As I mentioned earlier, they were standard audience shots of laughing children at a performance. Given the media-driven frenzy, I thought it best to remove them. I think most people would have done the same.

The situation is nowhere near as bad at the moment, but I think most entertainers are naturally a little more wary in the U.K.
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Tony James
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Taken me a while to realise it Potty but there is a difference and a greater one than I'd anticipated. I expected greater sensitivity in America, not less.

Ken and magic Santa mentioned beauty parades. I'd forgotten about them so checked Google. There are so many of these events, babies, children and adults. Plenty of pictures of winning babies and adults.

But most of the childrens parades have no pictures at all.

That's interesting. The few pictures that are there are distance shots of mixed groupings including adults, like family groups with the children dressed like bridesmaids. Very well covered up.

Clearly some people are sensitive.

I presume like children's entertainment it's a big and profitable business which they are keen to protect.

Ken and Magic Santa.

Are we to assume from your comments these events are less wholesome than they wish to convey?

They obviously trouble you.

Posted: Feb 5, 2007 7:12pm
Kimmo, I don't think it is just being generally a little more wary. What punches it home is when someone locally goes to gaol. It has a bad effect on business generally.

A local clown has just been sentenced. Since that hit the local papers the phone has gone quiet.

THAT'S when it hits home.

Don't you experience this in America and Canada
Tony James

Still A Child At Heart
MagicSanta
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Tony, in the kids pagents they put make up on them, do the hair up all fancy (I'm far to butch to know the proper term, and put them in little outfits. I think the lack of photos is because it is found so disturbing by so many. The little girl killedi n Colorado, Jonbonnet Ramsey was put into those things by her parents and photos of her are scary since she was like six at the time. I think kids should be kids and not treated like pure breed dogs.
Potty the Pirate
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So sad, when we know what little kids REALLY enjoy. As the pirate I am, I can't accept that anything competitive is good for young kids, let alone a beauty pageant of all things! This is an example of how easy it is for adult enthusiasm to rub off on kids. We do pass on so many of our prejudices, and beauty pageants, whilst on the face of it, are to celebrate beauty, in fact, are really pandering to the insecurities of parents. BUT with my photographer's hat on, if those same kids had been encouraged to some modelling to help out with the family finances, I think that's fine, and can exploit the same qualities whilst maintaining the innocence of childhood. Just my perception, but I think there's a big difference.
Skip Way
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A question...how many of you have witnessed an entertainment peer, magician, clown, relative, friend, client, whatever ogle or comment about a teenage or younger girl or boy and then you merely tsk tsk'd and went about your business? If you can say that this has happened even once, then you are part of this problem. Friend or no friend, any open display of this type of behavior needs to be confronted...face to face...no punches pulled. Repeated events of this nature need to be reported. It isn't innocent "male banter" when the subject of such comments is a child...and anyone under 18 is a child.

I won't even tolerate such comments towards adult women in my presence as I find it disrespectful and unprofessional. I've called down several peers for that type of behavior towards other adults. Just this past New Years I ordered a local entertainer off of my stage when he continued to make very suggestive comments behind the back of our very attractive host. Aim it towards a child in my presence and I will go postal. Want to protect our profession? Confront the behavior...even the hint of such behavior...head on. If the fool can't take a hint, report his butt.

On the UK side of things, there's little doubt that this issue, as with most rabid causes on both sides of the pond, is media driven. True journalism died decades ago and was replaced worldwide with sensationalism...how can we arouse the people's ire and sell more of our slutty tabloids this week? You can't fight it...but you could prosper from it.

Promote your services through press releases as a concerned child entertainment specialist. Publish articles and appear on talk & news shows with tips for selecting a "safe" entertainer, what to look for in a suspect performer, how to safeguard our children at public and private functions, how to report suspicious behavior. Push proclamations through your local councils and representatives pronouncing the safe-child steps enforced through your Magic Circle, IBM, SAM, COAI, Kidabra and similar groups. Point out that these arrested performers were not a part of your protective and concerned entertainer's group and would have been reported promptly for such behavior...then back it up! Make your group's logo a beacon for safety-conscious parents. Along with your birthday party booklets and guides, publish a safe-child entertainment guide and offer it free. Include a free Safe-Child identification record similar to the one I designed and offer on my website. Present yourselves as the authorities you are on safe child entertainment.

Fight back! Don't just shake your head and wonder where it will all end. Don't allow yourselves to be the scapegoats for media and government foolishness. Proactive, not reactive!
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Potty the Pirate
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Skip, no one has ever made comments like the ones you suggest, in my presence. If an adult were to ogle and make suggestive comments about a child, even a teenager, they would find themselves in trouble around here. This kind of behaviour is absolutely unacceptable pretty much everywhere in the UK, and people know better than to voice such thoughts, if they have them.
I think the problem with starting a collective of "Entertainers against Child Abuse", will come when someone from within that collective is prosecuted for a child abuse crime. Then their membership of this group will draw attention to all the other innocent members, who will be tainted and suffer as a result. I think it's better that we each do our best to be as professional as possible, which includes keeping your professional life and personal life entirely separate. Certain grass-roots Christians believe that it's inappropriate for a man and woman to spend time together after about 9pm, not because they may be acting in an unacceptable manner (as far as the Church is concerned), but because if someone became aware they were together late at night, it might give the appearance of "wrongdoing". I think in a similar way, we should consider how and when we are alone with children, and whether what we do could cause someone to draw the wrong conclusion.
Smarty Pants
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It is good to see the return of this thread. I think what really needs our attention on this important subject is what should be allowed on a website, and what is unacceptable when it comes to pictures of children.
Tim Ellis
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How about adding this to your promo material:


"NOW WITH 50% LESS TOUCHING!"
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