'Jon & Kate Plus 8' relatives allege Gosselin children being exploited
By Reality TV World staff, 05/27/2009
Forget the paparazzi and their martial problems, Jon & Kate Plus 8 stars Jon and Kate Gosselin now apparently have a new issue to deal with: Kate's brother Kevin Kreider and his wife Jodi.
Kevin and Jodi, who occasionally appeared in Jon & Kate Plus 8's initial seasons, are speaking out and charging that Jon and Kate are exploiting their children and treating them like commodities by allowing them to continue appearing in the top-rated TLC reality series.
"We're speaking out now because we want to be the voice of our nieces and nephews and we're seeing it turn tide that they're being viewed as a commodity," Kevin told The Early Show co-anchor Harry Smith during a Wednesday interview on the CBS morning show.
"They're being exploited and it's time for America to see the situation for what it really is," Jodi added. "Unfortunately there are no laws protecting children in reality TV shows and its time for the public to be aware of this and that these children are very aware of the cameras in their home. Their home is their workplace and this is not a healthy environment for kids to be raised in."
According to Kevin and Jodi, Jon and Kate have repeatedly brushed off their concerns, leaving them no choice but to speak out publicly in an attempt to protect their nieces and nephews.
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"We have talked to them, many times. about the subject and they have often said 'Hey, this is kind of our lives, this is what we chose, this is how we're going to provide for them,'" Kevin said. "And we feel they have chosen this path with disregard to their children's safety [and] security."
"It started out [as a documentary process] and that was a really neat thing to be part of thinking that the children, a little bit of their lives were being captured, but it [changed] quickly," Jodi said.
"The first season started at I think eight episodes and it quickly grew into more and more demands from Jon and Kate from the network and it turned into 40 episodes and a six-month span. And also it turned, there were cameras in the children's bedrooms at one point and they were filming all year round. These were very huge concerns for us and we spoke to them about that and their response was 'This is our choice, this is what we want to do, just respect that.'"
According to Jodi, Jon and Kate's eight children are already feeling the effects of the show's cameras.
"They don't want the cameras around. They have told me, personally,' she said. "We watched them quite a bit about a year ago and further back and they would say 'Aunt Jodi, I don't like the cameras on every vacation with us, I don't like them.' And too, kids have bad moments -- they cry -- and having the camera zoom in on a crying kid, I mean this should not be a form of entertainment."
"Unfortunately I think it has come down to all about the ratings and no one is looking at these children as what they are going through and the life consequences they are going to have as they get older," Jodi added later in the interview.
While he denied he and Jodi are completely estranged from Jon and Kate, Kevin admitted the disagreement has strained their relationship.
"I do talk to Kate and Jon. We haven't seen the kids is a while, which is hard, but yeah, our relationship has definitely been strained now," Kevin said. "What we hope is that they will kind of come around [and] see the effects, see what's most important."
"They're very lost right now," Jodi added. "Very blinded by all of this media and the fame and the fortune. It is time to really put priorities first, which they say is their children, but clearly their actions are showing something completely [different]. They say their children is their priority but clearly it is not."
According to Jodi the couple's recent relationship problems are "tragic."
"In their season premiere it was very clear that they are not [together] and it is tragic," Jodi said. "Just about nine months ago they went to Hawaii and did a vow renewal. And it was for ratings, but the viewers felt that it was true, and here [they are now]."
"You can't imagine as a child realizing that my birthday party, that all the outings my parents took me on, were for ratings and all organized by production companies," Kevin added.
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