Kiddie Contracts Update
So far this year Justin Bieber has extradited himself to authorities in Canada to face assault charges while out on bail for DUI. And then a scrum over a cell phone.
It’s been about two years since Whitney Houston passed away, after which I wrote a piece entitled “Kiddie Contracts.” Read for yourself but it hypothesizes the correlative effect between contracts signed by minors in the music and entertainment industries and self-destructive behavior exhibited by those entertainers in adulthood. Bieber was a passing reference in the article but, as a member of the Kiddie Contract Club, (KCC), I thought now would be a good time to revisit the topic.
Bieber is 19 and has been in trouble. Other than the assault, DUI and theft matters, there’s the destruction of property by egging. Yes, egging.
Given all of the high profile dives in recent years, it would appear as though former child stars, after having originally transcended their age to handle the demands of the entertainment business, eventually regress back to a maturity level to match the age when they signed their first contract. Perhaps this regression is necessary to complete development? With this, I make the disclaimer that I’m not a child psychologist. I also provide the caveat that not every child entertainer goes the way of Michael Jackson or Whitney Houston (i.e. Shirley Temple, Jodie Foster, etc.). And if my theory is susceptible to attack, it’s that we only hear of the tragedies whereas there’s nothing newsworthy about a healthy, former child star. But there are just so many KCC members grabbing our attention, from LeAnn Rhymes to Miley Cyrus, from Corey Feldman to Corey Haim, from Danny Partridge to Keith Partridge to...
The point of my first Kiddie Contract posting is that despite the fact that the law disfavors contracts with minors, we’ve found statutory work-arounds to facilitate the consumers’ appetite for entertainment and it has long become acceptable. While most of us would have a problem seeing a 10 year-old stocking shelves at Wal-Mart, we see her singing and dancing for us and we don’t give it a second thought. Why, because singing and dancing are not jobs, they are fun activities.
The most I could hope to accomplish out of writing on this subject would be to supplement the national commentary with a part of the equation that seems to be very relevant – the contracts. I don’t expect laws to change. Opinions however, can change. Our approach can change.