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« The Truth About the School Situation ~ Two Expelled, Not Suspended | Main | What It Was Like Inside the Corn Maze Sat.10/30/10 »

Interview with Eric Roberts ~ Gosselins, Reality TV, & More

Monday a sharp-eyed reader informed me of a tweet by actor Eric Roberts, about Kate Gosselin.  It read:

I know she's fading from the news, but hopefully someone's still got their eye on the well being of her kids. Kate Gosselin is a child abuser.” (11:17 PM Oct 31st via web)

I met Eric and his lovely wife Eliza years ago, briefly,  at a red carpet event in NYC and he seemed very nice.  He wasn't one of those celebs who didn't want to mingle with the Little People.  He was as courteous and respectful of those of us working the event as the "talent"  who were there to be celebrated.  Based on this brief impression of him, I decided to email him and see if he would be willing to be interviewed about his tweet.   Eric was in Europe but was game, so I sent him some questions and he responded via email.  The following is our interview. 

Small Town Gosselins:  Your tweet about Kate Gosselin was quite passionate. What exactly precipitated it?

 Eric:  Simple, really. Thank goodness there is footage of Gosselin hitting her kids, and apparently feeling fine about it. I say thank goodness, because behind closed doors makes it that much tougher to stop.   All I ask is that any caring parent or non-parent take a few minutes to read material from Alice Miller's FOR YOUR OWN GOOD, or visit this site, or listen to the audio book THE NATURAL CHILD, or review materials from Prevent Child Abuse America and then decide. 

STG:  The Gosselin children have literally grown up in front of the cameras, with private moments such as having their diapers changed, tantrums and vomiting being displayed for entertainment. These moments will be available to anyone for the rest of their lives in medium such as YouTube and DVDs. You have been in the public eye for many years and have had your own ups and downs, along with all the usual public commentary. How do you think the public display of their lives is impacting the Gosselin kids or may impact them in the future?

Eric:  This trend to document life as it happens, and to have the documentation studied by strangers, is not going away any time soon.   I don't think it's inherently bad. I think the Gosselin kids' private lives are their problem, not the fact that their private lives are public.  They have an awful mother, and a father who doesn't stop her. 

STG: TLC states that it has earned $200 million in the past five years from Gosselin-related shows. TV Guide reports that Kate Gosselin is paid $250,000 per episode. The eight children split 15% of that income, so each child gets 1.875% while the mother gets 85%. Comments?

Eric:  The number of kids Kate and Jon have are the reason Kate and John have money.  It would be awful if financial stress was added to those kids' problems.  But the money should be divided 10 ways. 

STG: According to IMDB, your daughter Emma has been acting since the age of nine. Did you sign contracts on her behalf and if so, what safeguards did you insist upon in order to ensure her safety and fair treatment?

Eric:  Never signed a contract on Emma's behalf.  Her mother and her manager handle her career.  Emma is extremely fortunate to be successful at such a joyous job. 

STG: In dealing with acting contracts involving your daughter, have you ever had the right to stop the filming and take back your authorization of consent if the production involved scripts or activities that you hadn't anticipated and felt were inappropriate for your child (like the old script switcheroo, for example)?

Eric:   I'm sure the parents of some working minors have those rights, and hopefully those parents know the business and know the needs of their kids.

STG:  The parents whose children participated in the reality TV show Kid Nation signed contracts stating that the producers would not be responsible in the event of their children dying as a result of being on the show. In your experience, how common is it for parents to neglect carefully reading the fine print before signing acting contracts involving their children?

Eric:  I think some parents know what they're signing and some don't .  Most have lawyers who know these contracts quite well.  People who are popular with audiences are considered commodities and products.  There are death clauses in most management, label and studio contracts. 

STG:  The film Bruno has a scene where real parents agree to have their babies be in all sorts of outrageous dangerous situations, just so they can possibly become stars. Some people seem to think that almost anything would be worth having their children be stars. Why do you think this is?

Eric:  People equate fame with immortality. That's as ridiculous as equating anything else with immortality. There is no immortally.      I think endangering a child is an obscene crime. 

STG:  A Minor Consideration, the group advocating for children in entertainment which boasts over 600 former child star members, is working on drafting a national bill to end the federal child labor exemption for child actors. As an adult actor you have unions and laws to protect you. What do you think about legislation that would put similar laws into place for children?

Eric:  I love what Paul Petersen does. 

STG:  Are you a member of A Minor Consideration, and if not, good grief, why not?

Eric:  I'd like to be.  Thank you for reminding me!

STG:  About Reality TV. All actors experience the challenge of being confused with their characters, but this is especially true with reality TV participants. In reality, Reality TV characters are sometimes created by the producers eliciting certain responses, setting up fake scenes to create drama, and of course the magic of editing. I worry about how this might impact children who are too young and immature to understand differences between acting and reality. What are your thoughts on this?

Eric:  I do think this is unfair to children, as they are not fully willing participants.  But kids are not fully willing participants in anything during childhood. 

STG:   Over the summer you filmed the VH1 show “Celebrity Rehab.” Just how real was your reality TV experience?

Eric:   Pretty real. 

STG:  As a society we want to believe that all parents have their children's best interests at heart, but many of us know that unfortunately this is not always the case. You have probably been exposed to all sorts of stage parents over the years. How common is it for parents to overlook their children's best interests in the field of entertainment, in your experience? (For example, allowing their children to be exposed to adult situations, having their children work when they don't want to, not ensuring their children will be adequately financially compensated upon reaching adulthood, not allowing their children to have normal childhood experiences because they are too busy acting, having the children be financially responsible for supporting the family, etc.)

Eric:  Most parents love their children very much, just not very well.  The home is an unregulated place to work.  This should change. Parenting should be earned and licensed.  Violence, emotional or physical, against or around a child or an animal (or anyone) should be a one-strike situation.  Kind people have to step up to take care of the children who are being raised by unkind people. 

STG:  I have always had the impression that the prevalence of addiction and child abuse is higher in former child stars than in the general population (and we know they're epidemic in the general population.) Have you found this to be true? Why do you think this is the case?

Eric:  On my website, there are some of my thoughts about that.    Quote:  I think people who are drawn to acting and music tend to be very emotional, and people who are emotional tend to be easily intoxicated by intoxication of all kinds...including love. 

STG:  I have a theory that being a child star imposes codependency on children because it forces them to think about how they can be marketable rather than allowing them to naturally become their own authentic selves the way other children are allowed to. It forces an unnatural self-consciousness that is necessary for financial success. Thoughts?

Eric:  Well-Said and very valid!

STG:  Jon Gosselin has stated emphatically that he does not want his children to be filmed anymore, that they have said they don't want to do it, and that they are now having behavioral problems as a result of having grown up in front of the cameras. Yet Kate Gosselin refuses to stop the filming. What do you think this is all about?

Eric:  I think Jon is being unrealistic. How is that family going to live?

The kids could have a great time doing the show if their mom wasn't a cruel horror who is clearly repeating generational abuse.  Jon's got his eye on the wrong ball.  The kids, however, should not be forced to do anything. 

STG:  Do you feel differently about the Kate Gosselin than you do other reality TV parents, and if so, why?

Eric: Can't stand Kate. Most of the other reality TV parents seem gentle and loving.  I have a feeling David Charvet's wife, Brooke, isn't all that nice either, unfortunately. 

STG:  What advice would you give Kate Gosselin, and why?

Eric:  My advice to Kate Gosselin would be to get out of denial and receive anger management with Dr. Richard Green in Woodland Hills, California.   Next time she feels herself lifting a hand to harm one of her children, she should instead make a call to her local 12-step program. Those programs help with patterns of violence, among the more expected things they treat. 

STG:  What advice would you give her children?

Eric:  I would want the Gosselin kids to know that their parents' rage is not their fault, and to please do therapy to keep themselves from continuing the pattern. 

STG:  Advice to Jon?

Eric:  Make a legally binding arrangement whereby Kate loses her financial security any time she hits those kids.  She's playing the role of good mom. When she stops playing the role as it's written, she should be fired. 

STG:  Thank you very much for taking the time out of your busy schedule for this interview. We actually met briefly several years ago at a red carpet event at Radio City Music Hall and I always remembered how nice you were. I appreciate your sharing your thoughts for my readers today. It has been a pleasure interviewing you and I wish you and your family the best of everything.

Eric:  Thanks for asking!  Important subject.

Be well,


 *     *     *

One of Eric's views is that the show is the lesser problem and insensitivity to the children and their needs is the larger issue.   Yet when children in entertainment are managed by insensitive parents who are dependent on those children for their livelihood, can those issues be separated out?   I look forward to your comments on that as well as your other observations.

~Special thanks to Cindy Leong, Eric Roberts and Eliza Simons for making this interview possible.~

Reader Comments (94)

Count me in as one more who will not turn in tonight under any circumstance. I have boycotted TLC since before the fake vow renewal.

I have always been uncomfortable with the manner in which Kate spoke to people - be it adults or childen and have said that if the roles were reversed and Jon spoke to Kate in that manner people would have called it emotion abuse (rightfully so). With all the attention being placed on bullying and the number of children who have taken their own lives as a result, Kate Gosselin should be known as "Mommie Dearest" of the decade. Instead she is given carte blanche. Maybe as the parent of a special needs child, I have seen my fair share of how hurtful words can be to a child. ... Getting of my soapbox now :)

November 7, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterTereska

Great that there is yet another person speaking out against K8, but it did seem as if Mr. Robers only knew , and commented about, K8's horrible treatment of her children. Unfortunately, for Mr Roberts, that doesn't seem to include exploitation, her pathological lying, the deceit, her treatment of others, etc.

I also think that his responses about his daughter seemed very aloof. Just speculation, but it doesn't seem like he is very involved in her life or her career. ("her mother and her manager handle her career")

And he most definitely gave a roundabout response here:

"STG: In dealing with acting contracts involving your daughter, have you ever had the right to stop the filming and take back your authorization of consent if the production involved scripts or activities that you hadn't anticipated and felt were inappropriate for your child (like the old script switcheroo, for example)?

Eric: I'm sure the parents of some working minors have those rights, and hopefully those parents know the business and know the needs of their kids".

And finally, although I totally agree with him, I thought his comment about Brooke Burke ( DWTS host, David C's wife) was odd. Where did that come from ?

In any case WG, thanks for always fighting the good fight !

November 7, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterLordy Bee

Here you go Mickey:

BTW, I will NOT and haven't watched anything with Kate Gosselin since last year. TLC seems to be moving on. They have a whole new lineup headed by Sister Wives (good grief!) that seems to be a big hit. Along with a few others, they look to be heading in a new direction. Let's face, Kate is old news and after trips and screaming and screeching and more trips, it's all been done and people are getting sick to death of her drama. But even if by some fluke she stays around, I will never watch her again.

November 7, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterBarbara

I read the interview. And? Kate Gosselin says her children enjoy filming and you don't take her at her word, yet you expect me to take Eric Roberts word about his daughter? Sorry, no can do.

Jon Gosselin did not state that his children don't want to film. The only one stating that as fact is you. I have no idea if the children love or hate filming. Since there are eight of them, I would imagine that opinions vary. I would never presume to know the feelings of children I do not know.

As for your pseudonym remark, I don't see you blasting other posters who are not using their real names. Let's get real -- the problem isn't the pseudonym, the problem is that I don't agree with you.

November 7, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterFacts Please

Reply to facts please: What 6 year old child should be required to state they
want to work? Do you have children? Are you a mother? No 6 year old
knows what they want to do - maybe their parents are telling them they
want to work unless they get a spanking as we have all seen Kate
documented doing to Leah!

November 7, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterLynn

Also not watching. I certainly hope that the article on Myfoxphilly is correct and that this is Kate's swansong.

Werny Gal - I'm curious. What is your take on the report that one of the sextuplet girls was suspended from school for 2 weeks for behavioral issues? Can you add to or elaborate on that a bit?

November 7, 2010 | Unregistered Commenterreaderlady

FactsPlease, there's a list of concrete evidences the kids don't want to work any more right here, and it's also plastered all over the Internet for those who are open to becoming educated.
But is there anything that could convince you, and why should we respect your opinion anyway? We don't even know who you are or anything about you. And why should we take Kate's word over Eric's? It's very sad when someone who doesn't even know the kids (but who happens to be an expert on what it's like working in the entertainment field) is more concerned about some children than their own mother is. And it's sad that given the entensive evidence presented it is more important to you to defend Kate, who has always had a choice in all this, instead of being concerned with how all this is effecting the children, who haven't and don't.

Here's a link about the Brooke Burke thing.

November 7, 2010 | Registered CommenterWerny Gal

Hi Reader Lady, I am saddened as well as horrified that such a story was plastered all over the Internet and I have heard it is out in magazines as well. I also have heard some things about it living locally, with some commonalities and some differences than what has been reported. However, I chose not to post about it because I think doing so cannot do any good and can potentially do more harm to the children. All I can say is that if it is true it is not surprising, and in fact was predictable, and I am saddened by it.

Facts Please, this is what most people commonly refer to as a "red flag moment." To see the red flag most clearly, it is imperative to first remove one's rose-tinted glasses.

November 7, 2010 | Registered CommenterWerny Gal

I have no idea if the children love or hate filming. Since there are eight of them, I would imagine that opinions vary. I would never presume to know the feelings of children I do not know.

So if 7 children don't want to film and 1 children does, should they all have to film? Of course opinions vary but since when do children make the choices about what's best for them? Jon is their father and he sees behavior issues. Just because Kate says 'they love it' doesn't make it true. Kate also looked them in the eyes and said, "mommy and daddy will be together forever and ever."

November 7, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterDani

Thanks for the link WG. I had no idea about this . And, in the famous words of Hamlet " The lady doth protest too much, methinks". I am not a fan of Brooke's.

Facts Please : even if Jon didn't say the kids don't want to work anymore, which he absolutely HAS, doesn't your common sense indicator think that maybe, just maybe those poor kids DON'T want to be schlepped all over NYC in record breaking heat to film an episode of K8 deep throating a lollipop in front of the Statue of Liberty ? Or how about when Mady puts a sign on her door that says "no cameras" ? Or how about the many pictures of Colin with his hands over his face ? Do you think the kids had fun "playing" during the Good Housekeeping Thanksgiving photo shoot while they wore heavy winter clothing when it was over 90 degrees in PA that day ?

I truly do not understand the resistance to acknowledging the very, very obvious.

November 7, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterLordy Bee

WG, I thought I was on topic, you interviewed Eric Roberts. He has never met Kate or her children. That's like me saying I interviewed you without ever meeting you. Now, I could ask questions, you answer, done deal. I don't feel Kate abuses her children, they are old enough to say things on camera or in school. I want the children to have a good life, many adventures, and the support and love of both parents. If we boycott every show on TV that has children on them, we could never watch anything but news.

I just want to state my opinion WG. I am not here to pick a fight with you at all. I know many children who have been on TV in their younger days and have gone on to own their own business and are very succesful in life.

November 7, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterFreedom to Make a Living

Freedom, I think your standards of what constitutes abuse is different from that of most of my readers. This blog and plenty of other blogs and articles online and in magazines give many examples of what many consider abusive and explotative treatment of the kids. It is the kind of thing you have to be educated about and sensitive to, and no one can make you "get it" until you get it on your own.

November 7, 2010 | Registered CommenterWerny Gal

Freedom could you please tell us if you have children or how old you are. Your statement "I don't feel Kate abuses her children, they are old enough to say things on camera or in school." Abuse has such a stigma attached to it that the children would be humiliated or afraid to come out and tell anybody they are being beaten. Abusers tend to control them not only with physical abuse but verbal as well; the "If you dare tell then you'll really pay". In Nova Scotia schools and any other organization are obliged to report any form of suspected abuse. We social workers investigate each and every claim presented to us to determine if the child is being abused.

November 8, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterLinda in NS

Freedom : if you don't think K8 abuses her children, I shudder to think about what she would have to do for you think otherwise.

November 8, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterLordy Bee

Werny - your Eric Roberts interview and website made Radar Online this morning. It was an interesting take on the whole interview but I'm glad they had a link to your blog. Wow, do you think the tide is really turning for Kate? I don't think a year ago that interview would have been posted.

Also most of the reviews I've seen were... negative is the wrong word but it's all I can think of. Definitely a lot of reviewers commenting that yet again it's another boring episode of the kids being cute and Kate playing up her 'neuroses'. Bored I think aptly describes what the critics are feeling. Any news on the numbers yet?

November 8, 2010 | Unregistered Commentersilimom

I wonder whether, as a last episode, in a combination of desperation for ratings and Scorched Earth Policy, TLC could take all the crap from the cutting room floor and show us that what we've been shown over the years is nothing like what it's really like - with a focus more on the bad parental behavior, child abuse, neglect, etc, that on TLC/Figure 8's editing or the fact that it was all scripted.

When the goose that lays the golden eggs stops laying, is it really wrong to eat it for dinner? Based on the big divorce reveal eps, the ratings would be enormous.

Could Kate sue? Or would her contract prevent it? Would it kill her showbiz "career"? or would it make the more sleazy tabloidy programs want to exploit her some more, for pay? (new show, new contracts, no kids) Would she care if they were portraying her badly, or would she just be glad to be seen on TV? (she's a star!)

Just a thought. The only backlash I can see (other than Kate suing them - and they won't be paying for her lawyers) is that people might stop believing their reality shows are real... but perhaps either that's already happened or people are too oblivious to get it.
Oh yeah, one more downside - the kids left alone at home with Mad Mom. But it's like that now...

(Jon and) Kate Plus Eight - The Real Story. Could be a big hit.

November 8, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterPamelaJaye

Wow......Eric Roberts, huh......To call someone a child abuser is regretful....I am thinking he has no personal knowledge of this Mother and her children....What would people think about him if we believed everything that we had read about him in the press? Did he even raise his own child? I love when absentee fathers have so much to say about how a a Mom raises their kids. it must be so much easier to have a quick opinion when you are not involved in the day to day raising of them. Has she ever been so aggravated and maybe lost control ? i am sure of it. It happens. If your a mom and you have little ones, you know it does. But to say that she is a child abuser....please. He needs to be much more careful about what he says about people...I think I will turn the channel when one of his old B movies is on....

November 8, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterLaura W

Kate Gosselin is a child abuser. Worthy headline if ever I saw one. Episode after episode the abuse goes on unchecked because some warped people find this entertaining. There are even child abuse episode highlights featured on youtube, how sick is that?
Thank you Mr. Roberts for shining the spotlight on this abusive woman once again. Paul Peterson, get busy.

November 8, 2010 | Unregistered Commentermama mia

Eric Roberts is a known child abuser. He has huge anger issues. So, it's not a very credible interview, maybe you should have done a little digging. When people come out of the woodwork and make statements like that, you need to look at why...he is talking about himself. I cringed while reading it, knowing what he has done to his step kids.

November 8, 2010 | Unregistered Commenterknowing

I don't understand Eric Robert's implication that the Gosselins will be destitute if they stop filming. Over the past five years, Kate has made millions off the TV shows (Jon and Kate Plus Eight, Kate Plus Eight, DWST) as well as her books, personal appearances, interviews and more. Unless she has squandered that money, she should have a tidy nest egg which, if properly invested, could support the family for years to come. Of course, she'd had to downsize somewhat (a house instead of a mansion, no more weekly spa sessions or luxury vacations) but they could have a very comfortable lifestyle.

November 8, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterBarbara M.

Laura, Eric has seen what many of us have seen. We don't need to go inside the home to witness abuse. Many instances are preserved and replayed and sold as entertainment. We have made excuses for it and minimized the severity of it. Eric asks us to cut through our denial and acknowledge the truth of what life is like for these children.

Knowing, Eric Robert's acknowledgment, ownership of, and transcendence of his problems makes him an expert. Kate's hiding and denial of her problems makes her a candidate for further abuse.

Thanks for writing, everyone, and special thanks to Laura for posting a comment here rather than just writing to me privately as many have done. Great discussion as usual.

November 8, 2010 | Registered CommenterWerny Gal

Yes, I do have children, all college educated. I just don't feel like I can judge a person's life or tell them how to raise their children. I don't have to get it, this is a free country. I read the posts here, some of you have had personal issues of you own, which I am sorry for you. That does not make it right for you to put what happened in your life, onto another family. I feel everyone has a right to make a living, whether I agree with it or not.

There are plenty of kids that have issues also, not just kids on TV. I feel like if we are to help the child advocates in the world, we all need to stop the bashing of the parents. See, when you bully the bully, they fight back. I have also hoped Jon would get a job an help support the children in a quiet way. Until then, Kate has to support the children. I don't get to sign the contract for Kate with TLC.

Wishing you all well~~~~~~~~~~~~!

November 8, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterFreedom to Make a Living

Freedom, it would be great if all parents were loving and did a wonderful job with their kids, but we all know that is not the case. Abuse is an epidemic in our society, and when responsible citizens sees the helpless being hurt, it is their social and ethical obligation to step forward and make sure the hurt get help. This is not to blame or shame the oppressor. It is an acknowledgment that mistakes are being made and need to be corrected. If this were not the case we would have no need for social services agencies, and as we all know, workers in these agencies are overworked and underpaid because despite all our rhetoric and tear-inducing Hallmark Card commercials, we do not value the helpless, such as animals the elderly and children, in our society.

We do not know if Jon has a job or not but we do know he has been actively looking. Kate does not support the children. The children support Kate. IMO it is wrong for parents to make their children work to support the family. IMO people should be responsible and only intentionally have children they know they can afford.

November 8, 2010 | Registered CommenterWerny Gal

I just have a few questions. Has Eric met Kate, Jon or the kids? Does he watch the show? I am wondering what he is basing his opinions about the abuse on (not that I disagree with him). He says her physically beating the kids is captured on film? Does he have the film or access to it? It would make his case much stronger.

I am afraid his opinions on the abuse will be discounted because of his own history of domestic violence. However, if he can just show the film to back up his comments, I think it would blow everything out of the water.

November 8, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterAnne_in_NY

Knowing. Do you live with Eric? Maybe, if he is an abuser he can recognize another one when he sees her.

November 8, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterFenwick

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