TLC slams Jon Gosselin but suspends kids' 'Jon & Kate'' filming
By Christopher Rocchio, 10/01/2009
TLC is upset by Jon & Kate Plus 8 star Jon Gosselin's new demand that it stop filming his family, however the network has decided to follow his wishes pending further discussions.
"We are aware of Jon Gosselin's recent statements, and remain deeply disappointed at his continued erratic behavior. He and the family were shooting as recently as last Friday, without incident, and his latest comments are grossly inaccurate, without merit and are clearly opportunistic," TLC said in a Thursday statement.
"Despite Jon Gosselin's repeated self destructive and unprofessional actions, he remains under an exclusive contract with TLC. Direct filming of the children has been currently suspended, pending further conversations between both parents."
TLC statement was in response to the Jon & Kate Plus 8 star's demand that the network "cease and desist" any television production on his family's Wernersville, PA property or face potential criminal charges.
The demands were made in a Tuesday letter from his lawyers to TLC's legal team, a copy of which was obtained by The Insider Thursday morning.
"Effective immediately no production crews are to enter Jon Gosselin's family home for any reason," reads the letter from Jon's attorney, Mark Jay Heller, to TLC's lawyers. "In the event that anyone enters the marital property, Jon Gosselin will notify the local authority to effectuate Police action against any trespassers."
TLC has filmed at the Gosselin's $1.3 million Wernersville home since they moved there last October, however Heller contends TLC "never secured location permits" for the production company to film on the property.
While the Tuesday letter is dated the same day that TLC announced plans to re-launchJon & Kate Plus 8 as a Kate-focused series that will be retitled Kate Plus 8 and feature Jon on a "less regular basis," Heller and Jon told The Insider they have been in discussions to pull the plug on the progam and end the children's filming for weeks before the announcement.
"A new program known as Kate Plus 8 would certainly require the acquiescence and consent not only of Kate Gosselin but Jon Gosselin, who is the father of the eight Gosselin children, which consent Jon has not given and if necessary, Jon is prepared to seek Court intervention to make sure his children's best interests are protected," Heller told The Insider.
In addition, Heller claims that the original agreement between TLC and the Gosselin family "may very well be 'null and void' and unenforceable" since the network never secured the special permits required by Pennsylvania Child Labor Law as a "prerequisite" for the Gosselin children's involvement in Jon & Kate Plus 8.
Heller added that monetary compensation for the children's appearance on Jon & Kate Plus 8 is also an issue.
"[TLC] failed to designate the appropriate compensation to be allocated to the children," Heller told The Insider. "It may ultimately be determined that TLC has not provided for compensation for the eight children over the past four years."
Jon is now also contending that filming for Jon & Kate Plus 8 has become harmful to his children.
"Jon Gosselin unequivocally believes that his children's continued participation in your client's television production is 'detrimental' to his children," reads the letter from Jon's lawyers to TLC's legal team.
"Accordingly, Jon expects that your client will cease and desist from any and all further production which includes his eight children."
In addition, the letter alleges that TLC was already aware that any harm to the Gosselin children would be enough to end production.
"You state that your client has... 'stated many times in the past, the Company will not undertake any conduct that either Kate or Jon truly believes is detrimental or potentially detrimental to their children,'" reads the letter.
The new "detrimental" claim contradicts Jon's own repeated public statements about allegations Jon & Kate Plus 8 was exploiting the children.
"Exploited? I don't even want to use that word, because I think it's ridiculous," he told People in June after Kate's brother Kevin Kreider and his wife Jodi alleged the children were being exploited and Pennsylvania's Labor Department launched an investigation into whether the show was complying with child labor laws.
"Maybe people should look that word up in the dictionary and learn what it means before they use it in headlines. We're a family that happens to be on TV, not a TV family. We have healthy, happy, well-adjusted, educated kids. They're bouncing around and having a good time. Kate and I have worked our hardest to raise them that way."
Jon had also reiterated his support for the show in a September interview with ABC's Primetime program.
"I would stop it. I am not going to make them film. They're not being forced to film," he said.
Jon's lawyers sent the letters to TLC on the same day they also filed a document with a Pennsylvania court-approved arbitrator that -- if approved -- would suspend his pending divorce from Kate for 90 days.
The couple's divorce filing was originally slated to be finalized this fall, however Jon now says he wants to delay it for the sake of his kids.
Heller said the divorce delay and "cease and desist" notice to TLC are related.
"Jon realized his family was like a trainwreck, so he decided to put the brakes on the divorce and on the show," Heller told The Insider. "Because if he didn't the family would be in a mortal accident... the victims of a trainwreck."