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Too Sexy Too Soon?
Aired August 21, 2012 - 21:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
DR. DREW PINSKY, HOST (voice-over): Five-year-old Maddy (ph) is a living doll. So why does her mother want her to look like a grownup Dolly? Dolly Parton, that is, including all of her assets.
Here`s what she said on TLC`s "Toddlers & Tiaras."
UNIDETIFIED FEMALE: When she wears the fake boobs and fake butt, it`s like it`s an added, you know, extra bonus. And it`s really funny, when she comes out on stage, everybody think it`s hysterical because they all of a sudden that not only is she Dolly, she has the enhancements just like Dolly has.
PINSKY: Winning pageants is one thing, winning custody is another. Maddy`s dad is using this against her mother in a legal battle for the child.
Wendy Dickey dressed her little one as a prostitute. Here she is on "Toddlers & Tiaras." She claimed it is all in the name of fun for her and her daughter.
Plus, a Senate candidate says, quote, "legitimate rape," unquote, rarely results in pregnancy. Really? We`ll get into why people say mindless things and more importantly, how we respond to them when the cameras are rolling.
PINSKY: Now, that congressman has apologized many times, yet it has raised a firestorm of controversy. We are going to get into that and the issues of free speech and how we respond to people`s gaffes, let`s say.
But, first, on to the "Toddlers and Tiaras." What caught our attention today was the fact that a father has stepped up and is saying that the mom is being sexually abusive and using it as a means to try to get child custody. I`m concerned that if indeed "Toddlers and Tiaras" we decide is exploitative, we have another exploitation going on here with the dad using the child as a pawn because of the exploitation. I`m concerned about all of this.
Joining me, attorney Lisa Bloom, legal analyst of Avvo.com and author of "Swagger".
And the mother of the little girl who dressed as a prostitute on "Toddlers and Tiaras", Wendy Dickey.
All right. We saw a mom might lose custody of her daughter over having participated in these pageants. What are your thoughts?
WENDY DICKEY, STAR, "TODDLERS & TIARAS": I think that is really crazy. And from what I have heard about this case, this is not a situation where we are dealing with father of the year trying to take his little girl away from a mother who is sexually exploiting her. This is a case where the dad has served time in jail, has gotten a DUI with the little girl in the car and Maddy is in a position to possibly make money and do some other things now.
And I think it`s possible that he may be more interested in having custody of the little girl to possibly get out of paying child support or to possibly have access to money she could make in the near future.
PINSKY: Wendy, you have just raised my concerns to a peak level, which Lisa, that maybe this is exploitation of these kids. And now we have another level of exploitation going on, the criminal dad`s going to come in and exploit the kid for money.
LISA BLOOM, ATTORNEY: I don`t know what`s going on with this dad, I applaud him for standing up for what is right it is wrong to sexually exploit little girls like this, to pad their breasts and their rear ends and make them little sexual objects.
PINSKY: What do you think that does to the girl? What does that do to a girl that puts that stuff on?
BLOOM: Well, I`ll tell you, right now, girls in America, 3 to 6 years old, 50 percent of them worry about being fat. Girls under the age of 12 are using makeup at record numbers. Teenaged girls are getting plastic surgery in stratospheric numbers.
I mean, we are teaching little girls that what they look like is the most important thing about them. And that has very damaging implications for girls. But when you take little girls, toddler age and sexualize them, I think we can all agree, that is sick and that is wrong.
PINSKY: Now, Wendy, I may have spoken about the dad. This is -- allegedly he is doing these things. I don`t know the fact that he`s a criminal for a fact. Those are allegations.
What do you say to what Lisa is telling us? That women --
DICKEY: Well --
PINSKY: -- young little girls are growing up to worry about their bodies and face more than anything else?
DICKEY: Well, OK, people are under the assumption that pageant moms and pageant families live in this pageant world. Paisley competes in pageant and she may dress up once a month, that she may get cold up in makeup, tans and the fake hairpieces. But for the most part and any other time, Paisley does not wear makeup. She doesn`t dress like this.
She is a very normal, well-rounded little girl. We pick her up on Sunday school, on "Sunday mornings and singing "My God is Good." We`re a very normal family.
PINSKY: Let me ask you this -- tell us how you got involved in all of this. What motivated you -- a lot of the moms go, oh, my girl loves. Well, 4-year-olds don`t. You know, they don`t use these things, or seek these things out. The moms put them in it.
So, what caused you? What motivated you to put your girl in this?
DICKEY: When Paisley was 6 months old, we had a pageant in our town and we decided to put her in this one pageant just for a scrapbook page. Well, she won the pageant. We had a good time, our whole family was there. So, we had such fun that we decided to put her in another pageant. So we did and she won.
And it came to be a family event. She did more pageant and more and I think she is at 65 right now over the last four years. And of course, when she was six months old, she didn`t have a clue what she was doing. I had to carry her out on stage.
But as she has gotten older she loves competing in pageants, she enjoys entertaining, she loves being on stage, she loves to sing, she`s recorded a single on iTunes. We do it now because that`s what she likes and she enjoys it and she also enjoys sports and she plays baseball. She just finished a season of T-ball.
BLOOM: OK. Of course, the children like it, because they get tons of love and attention and trophies and awards. Kids would also love to have sugar for breakfast, lunch and dinner. But we don`t allow that because we have better judgment. And we certainly wouldn`t put a little girl in fake breasts and fake rear end and send her off to school or any other public context because we all know that this is wrong, doesn`t pass the smell test.
DICKEY: Right, but this is a pageant. We are not sending them to school like this.
BLOOM: How does that make it any better?
DICKEY: We`re not sending them to town like this.
What is the difference in this and dressing your kids up on Halloween, sending them --
BLOOM: I would not dress up a 4-year-old in fake breasts for Halloween either.
DICKEY: I want candy.
PINSKY: Hold on, ladies, let`s take a call. Bobbie in Oregon. Bobbie, what do you got?
BOBBIE, CALLER FROM OREGON: Hi, Dr. Drew and panel. Oh, my heart is beating so fast. Lisa Bloom, I love you very much.
BLOOM: Thank you.
BOBBIE: You said everything that I feel. I think these mothers are not only sexually exploiting and abusing but in my view and I`m very judgmental, I think it`s mental, emotional --
PINSKY: I actually thought you were sort of choking up, Bobbie. This is really an emotional thing for you. Why?
BOBBIE: I`m telling you these girls will not know who they are. They`re not learning from their moms that they are wonderful, pure and beautiful, and they think they have to perform all their life.
BLOOM: I mean, the bottom line is no 4-year-old should have her eyebrows plucked, should have a spray tan or a fake tan, should have her hair colored, should have her body wedged into uncomfortable shoes, tight little skirts, you know, little cutoff tops that sexualize them, make them look like a prostitute from the movie "Pretty Woman". It`s just not appropriate for any little girl.
DICKEY: When you compare Paisley`s costume, you put her side by side of a little girl taking dance, which she does, her "Pretty Woman" outfit covered up more than the dance costumes. The move she made in the "Pretty Woman" costume was less provocative than what she does when she`s taking dance.
PINSKY: Wendy, it`s an interesting point. I was going to ask that very question. Is it different than dance, or ice skating? Or even gymnastic or some of the other thing --
PINSKY: Ladies, I got to take a break. Wendy, we got lots of time with you, hold in there we got lots of calls. We`re also going to add to the conversation a pageant director who defends dressing up.
And later, we`re going to switch topics and talk about some of these public gaffes, where people are saying these crazy things. Don`t go away.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Maddy is in outfit of choice is going to be Dolly Parton. It was an outfit made for me when I used to compete in pageants. So, it makes it special for Maddy because she knows it was moms.
MADDY: My mommy was also Dolly Parton when she was in pageants.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
PINSKY: That was Maddy getting dressed up as Dolly Parton from TLC`s "Toddlers and Tiaras". Now, there are questions whether her mom could lose custody as a result of having done so. The Ed was stepping up and raising these issues.
Wendy, I want to go back to you. You had your daughter dressed up as a "Pretty Woman." What was the comment you were going to make before we went to break?
DICKEY: Well, it infuriates me for people to sit back and judge me and tell me what kind of mother I am and how I`m raising my children based on a 15-second segment from a reality show. This is an edited show. They did not show the entire routine that Paisley was doing. She was doing a skit, she walked behind this prop that you see. She made a real quick change into Julia Roberts from the brown and white polka dot and came out, and that was the entire purpose of the skit, to show the change.
But that is not -- that is not our lives.
PINSKY: Let me ask you --
BLOOM: She is still dressed as a prostitute. You just can`t get around that.
PINSKY: Do you regret putting her in a reality show, Wendy?
DICKEY: I regret the way the show was edited. I regret the way people perceived her. I have caught more slack about it because she is dressed as a character of a prostitute.
But when you look at this little costume, the costume is not revealing. At best, it`s ugly. The boots are hideous. I made them myself. They are made out of cheap vinyl. The outfit is just ugly.
The problem are having with me, I think, is because she was mimicking a prostitute.
PINSKY: Well, right. That`s right. That is the problem.
BLOOM: This is a pedophile`s paradise, these pageants.
PINSKY: A pedophile`s paradise?
BLOOM: It is. Can you imagine?
DICKEY: People dress their children as Marilyn Monroe, as Elvis Presley on costume. People dress their children as devils and witches.
PINSKY: You`re talking about Halloween?
DICKEY: But does that mean that you want your child to be that? Do you want your child to be a devil?
BLOOM: I don`t want anyone to sexualize their child. That`s the problem.
PINSKY: Hold on, I want to bring in a pageant director. He is director for Little Miss Perfect. His name is Michael Galanes.
And, Michael, talking about Halloween versus putting on fake breast and butts and going out there and strutting your stuff -- isn`t it a little bit different?
MIKE GALANES, PAGEANT DIRECTOR, "LITTLE MISS PERFECT": It is very different for me at Little Miss Perfect. I have been doing this pageant for 20 years. And as a former cast member of Walt Disney World and former state director of Miss Universe, I have met thousands of little girls and what I learned is that every single one of them would love to be a princess for a day.
In my doing this 20 years, I have never had a "Pretty Woman," I never had a costume like that. And I think a costume like that, there is a need for a pageant intervention. I don`t think it was a good call on the mom`s part, and I don`t think it projects a positive energy and good feeling for the child.
PINSKY: Mike -- but let`s be clear, Mike, this is on a reality show. Do you think the producers have something to do with amping things up to that level? Maybe it isn`t a pageant. Maybe it`s the reality show.
GALANES: You know what? I don`t -- yes, I don`t agree with tiaras and toddlers at all. They asked me to be part of that show. I don`t think it reflects little girls really competing.
And doing this for 20 years, two weeks ago, we had this huge reunion in celebration. Every single one of the girl has such fond memories. And now, the point in my career these girls are bringing back their daughters - - very humbling and emotional time for me. I think these pageants are teaching little girls life lessons that they couldn`t teach -- they can`t learn --
BLOOM: I don`t know about that.
PINSKY: Or, Lisa, is this a cycle of abuse playing itself out?
BLOOM: Well, you know, I think they are unhealthy. But what Mike is pointing out is, we have to have a bright line. You mentioned children`s dance program, most dance programs for little girls are very careful not to sexualize those little girls in terms of how they move their bodies and how they dress. And these pageants, if they are going to continue, have to have a bright line, no sexualizing period.
PINSKY: Let`s take a call --
PINSKY: Hold on, guys.
Rachelle in Indiana, Rachelle, you ring in here. Go ahead.
RACHELLE, CALLER FROM INDIANA: Hi, Dr. Drew, this is Rachelle. I have to say I`m a little shocked by the whole sexualization for the pageant. My daughter has been doing pageants since she was nine months old and now she is 3 years old. I saw positive changes in he from when she was first competing until now.
We are careful about the different concepts and ideas we have her portray but I have seen her develop into a little girl that enjoys going on stage. She`d just do like a routine for a minute and 30 seconds.
PINSKY: So, you think it`s positive you think it`s positive as long as it is not sexualized? Would that summarize what you`re saying, Rachelle?
GALANES: Dr. Drew, may I say something?
PINSKY: Go ahead, Mike, go ahead.
GALANES: It is completely positive. I have a little girl right now who`s on Broadway, a little girl doing commercials, major films, who become doctors and lawyers.
And I think one of the components not shown that we showcase at Little Miss Perfect is the interview portion. These little girls are asked a question on stage about their hopes and dreams for the future and I think that in costuming, it`s the parent that has to decide what`s right for them. We have had Disney princesses. We`ve had dancers. We`ve had Olympic champions. And costumes like that.
And I am in agreement. If I had a little woman or "Pretty Woman", excuse me, or a costume like that -- I actually think aid stop the show and I think I would talk to the mom.
BLOOM: Hear, hear.
GALANES: Restructure her. That`s my point.
PINSKY: Wendy, go ahead. Wendy?
DICKEY: OK. I think a big part of the problem here is that what we`re doing, we are calling pageants. If we dress our child up in a costume and send her out on stage to go dance or to go do gymnastics or to go do something else, then it`s different. But when we put them in a costume like this and we call it a pageant, that`s why we are getting so much slack over this.
Again, Paisley`s costume does not compare to her dance costumes. If you watched Paisley in her "Pretty Woman" outfit, what did she do? She walked across the stage and she waved. When she dances, she is doing splits, she`s doing cartwheels, she is kicking her legs up, you can`t compare the two.
If I was a pedophile, I would go to a dance studio before I would go to a pageant.
PINSKY: Adelayde in Texas -- Adelayde.
ADELAYDE, CALLER FROM TEXAS: Yes. But when you are talking about pedophiles, et cetera, I was not looking at "Toddlers & Tiaras." On January 12, 2011, I saw an advertisement for a Lexus being waxed and broached screaming in the chair. My CPS, my Child Protective Service alarm went off for those kids on "Toddlers & Tiaras."
BLOOM: There`s an important point here. It`s not just the one and a half minutes of walking across the stage, it was the whole preparation of their bodies being completely transformed from their natural, healthy, beautiful --
PINSKY: Hold on, guys. More on the "Toddlers & Tiaras" drama and reminder what we are talking about here is girls having ownership of their own body and destiny and not feeling --
BLOOM: And you know what? Focusing on what`s in their heads and not what`s in their closet.
PINSKY: I get you.
BLOOM: Spend the time reading, playing outside, looking after their own --
PINSKY: After the break, we`re going to introduce you to honey boo- boo.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
PINSKY: One thing controversial about your success is this, right, the GoGo Juice? And I tell you, I would like to try it.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Tell him what it tastes like.
UNIDENTIFIED GIRL: It tastes like apple juice.
PINSKY: Tastes like apple juice.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Is it working?
UNIDENTIFIED GIRL: It is going to have him bouncing off the walls.
PINSKY: I`m kind of starting to sweat a little bit.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Working on you.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
PINSKY: And then I wanted to throw up for about an hour afterwards. That was Honey Boo Boo child from my daytime CW program "Lifechangers."
Wendy, sugar, pixie sticks, caffeinated drink, is that commonplace on the pageant circuit?
DICKEY: I don`t know of anyone else who drinks Go Go juice besides Honey Boo Boo. I can say that Paisley may get a little more sugar on pageant day. The most part, at home, she eats healthy. A lot of what you see on this show is exaggerated, you know?
So this is not a normal -- yes, a lot of pixie sticks floating around on pageant day, but it`s pageant day, it`s a special day.
PINSKY: Yes, and I don`t mean to take aim at reality shows.
GALANES: Really not reflective of what is going on. Come to Little Miss Perfect, we slice orange, we have water. This is not reflective of what goes on in pageants.
And for me, a guy who has dedicated his whole life to this, this is not reflective of what goes on. These little girls are going to be Miss America. They are going to be doctors and lawyers. And this is not indicative of a healthy lifestyle and we do not promote that.
BLOOM: How about all that -- hey, hey, Mike -- Mike, how about --
GALANES: Hey, Mike. Yes.
BLOOM: How about all that thick makeup on a 6-year-old girl, you know, the full face makeup for a little kid? Did they do that in the normal pageant circuit?
GALANES: They really don`t. Have you ever been to a pageant, ma`am? I don`t know who you are but if you`ve never been to one.
BLOOM: Hi, I`m Lisa. And no, I don`t go to pageants with little children in them. I don`t think it`s appropriate activity for children.
GALANES: Well, don`t respect your opinion because you`ve never been there.
BLOOM: That`s why I`m asking you the question.
GALANES: I don`t really respect your opinion.
BLOOM: So they don`t change their body, they don`t spray tan. They don`t --
GALANES: And Little Miss Perfect, I would love to you sit in the front row and they are precious little girls that all want to be a princess for a day. And these little girls, now 20 years later, fast forward, are loving the memories, are putting their children into these events and for you to sit there in judgment of anyone --
BLOOM: I`m asking you questions.
GALANES: That would be like -- that would be like you asking to score the Olympics.
BLOOM: I can`t ask questions?
GALANES: They do not wear the heavy, heavy makeup at age 6.
BLOOM: Honey Boo Boo did.
GALANES: I would invite you to judge.
PINSKY: Caller Robert in California. Go, Robert.
ROBERT, CALLER FROM CALIFORNIA: Hey, how are you doing?
PINSKY: It`s good, Robert.
ROBERT: OK, here is the deal. I see going on, parents who may have been prom queens and all these high status people growing up, got knocked up, had kids, now the dreams are dead, now they are trying to squeeze them into their children. That`s true abuse, they are not taking care of their own desires and ambition, they have no hobbies. Their hobby is their kid.
And that`s tragedy.
PINSKY: OK. Hold on, Robert.
Wendy, you responded to that I saw you open your mouth. Go ahead.
DICKEY: And, you know, that is so typical of these judgmental people. People have not been in my home. They don`t know how I raise my children. They don`t know the values that I instill with my children.
They want to base my entire parenthood on the show. I was never prom queen. I never competed in a pageant. I didn`t do gymnastics. I didn`t do anything but academics.
PINSKY: Did you want to?
DICKEY: No, it never crossed my mind. That was not something that I did.
GALANES: It`s funny when in my pageants, when we`re sitting and having an open house with all the girls, if there is a little girl that doesn`t want to be there, it`s obvious. And at that point, the director could have a conversation with the mom. But 99.9 percent of those little girls enjoy the experience.
BLOOM: Because little children want to please their parents and 4- year-olds aren`t making their own choices.
PINSKY: Wendy, say this, go ahead.
GALANES: They`re having fun and they`re making amazing memories for the future.
PINSKY: Wendy, close it up, here we go.
DICKEY: Paisley competed in 65 pageants, out of those, eight or 10 have been "Toddlers & Tiaras" panel gent. There is a huge difference in pageants when they are filming and when they are not. I will say that. People go to extreme when the cameras are on, and that`s what you give, perceived through the TV. Don`t judge me --
BLOOM: That`s why we shouldn`t have kids on reality shows. You shouldn`t sign your kids up for a reality show.
PINSKY: I got to take a break. Ladies and gentlemen, hold on. Mike, Mike, Mike, I got to wrap this up, I got a little more to say. Take a break. Finish this up after the break.
PINSKY: Welcome back.
A reminder, we are taking your calls at 855-373-739 -- 7395, that is.
I`m here with attorney Lisa Bloom, author of "Swagger".
Michael Galanes, pageant director for Little Miss Perfect.
And the mother of a little girl who dressed as a prostitute from little -- what was it -- "Pretty Woman" on "Toddlers & Tiaras," her name is Wendy Dickey.
And, Wendy, I don`t want to take aim at reality shows. I think TLC does a good job. I go -- on my own programs, I make sure producers don`t monkey with the patients at all. My question, to you is, would you do this again? Would put your daughter on a reality show if you had the opportunity?
DICKEY: Yes, I would. And again, this would not have been such -- her entire routine had the skit been shown. But I feel like this was definitely a case of bad editing, possibly a case of bad idea. But don`t blame it on the costume.
PINSKY: Lisa, you agree with that -- not have little kids on reality shows?
BLOOM: I don`t think kids should be on reality shows period. I don`t think they`re old enough to consent to it. I think it come back to bite them later on in their lives and embarrass them. I don`t think this little girl --
GALANES: Have you ever been on a reality show, Lisa?
BLOOM: If I could finish my sentence, I don`t think she`s going to want to look back at the time --
GALANES: You seem to have a lot to say about things you never know something about.
BLOOM: Well, I hosted my own show for eight years on court TV, sir.
GALANES: That you really have no say on that.
BLOOM: But I do have a say about girls and women and sexualizing girls. And I think everybody watching the show is entitled to have an opinion.
GALANES: I want to share this amazing story of a little girl who is taking voice lessons for three years. She was so afraid. We practiced and practiced and practiced. She did this Whitney Houston medley. She got a standing ovation for, like, 15 minutes. And that little girl`s life was changed.
BLOOM: That`s terrific. But that`s not what we`re here talking about today.
GALANES: And these are the isolated incidents that you know nothing about, Lisa, because you never been to a pageant. So, I want to invite the entire world to come to a pageant, a little miss perfect, sit front row, we`ll serve hors d`oeuvres and you can truly --
PINSKY: I`m afraid who is going to show up, Mike. I`m fearful --
GALANES: You can judge, but Lisa can take tickets at the door.
PINSKY: Jeanine in Illinois. Jeanine, what do you got?
GALANES: That`s about where she should be.
JEANINE, ILLINOIS: My question is, really rather a statement, but why are these mothers -- what makes them want to put their children in pageants?
PINSKY: All right. Let`s ask. Let`s ask. Wendy`s here. Wendy, what do you think? Not just for you but for the mothers you`ve met. What`s motivating that?
DICKEY: What makes dads want to put their little boys in football? What makes parents want to put their kids in anything? I enjoy seeing Paisley --
GALANES: It`s a moment to celebrate.
DICKEY: It is a moment to celebrate.
GALANES: You can go to Walt Disney world and everybody wants to be Cinderella. And this is her chance to be on stage, to have fun, to meet other girls from other states, to make life long friends, to be in front of the camera, and to shine and to sparkle. And that`s what we love and that`s what we nurture --
PINSKY: Go ahead, Wendy. Mike, respectfully, you`ve not been a mom, to use your own defense against Lisa. So, what is the deal, Lisa?
BLOOM: That`s right, Michael.
GALANES: I know a million moms.
DICKEY: I would love for a camera to come in my house for a real day with my family, even a real week with my family to see what kind of life we live, how my children are. Paisley is incredible. She`s four years old. She`s very, very smart. People don`t see that. They`re just seeing, you know, the pageant, the reality, the scripted, the edited.
People don`t know what kind of life we live and the fabulous family that I have. My sons are incredible. They are straight A honor roll. People don`t see that --
PINSKY: Go to the wrap it up, guys. Lisa, last words.
BLOOM: Wendy`s right. That we shouldn`t criticize her as a mother overall --
BLOOM: Mike, if I may -- Mike, if I may speak without you interrupting me --
PINSKY: Go ahead.
BLOOM: This is not about personal attacks on Wendy.
BLOOM: To me, it`s about sexualizing children.
BLOOM: Wow, Mike, really, allow me to finish.
GALANES: You don`t know what you`re speaking about. That`s the sad thought. The pageant world is so beautiful.
BLOOM: I`m not going to be talked over like that. I think it`s rude, frankly. Sorry.
PINSKY: Shall we keep this conversation going? OK.
GALANES: I think that we should, with people that know the industry. We should --
BLOOM: Mike, you have an industry to promote and I understand that.
GALANES: -- but I have thousands of little girls, I have thousands little girls that are all competing that love this.
BLOOM: We`ve heard what you had to say that it`s a positive program for many girls. Do you allow other people to speak --
PINSKY: Well, I`m going to cut you guys both off. I`m not allowing either of to you speak, because I`m going to break, and we`re going to keep this conversation going. It seems to be a little bit more to be said here, and once we finish this conversation, Mike is still talking, show a picture of Mike, keep going, Mike, see, see him there we turned his mike off, but he`s still going.
BLOOM: I mean, I was actually trying to find some common ground.
PINSKY: We will. We`ll take a break. I think that`s right want to finish this conversation, because I think there is a common ground if we can get Mike sort of near it.
BLOOM: You got to turn his mic down.
PINSKY: Later on, I`m going to talk about why so many -- he`s still talking, show a picture of him. He`s just going and going and going. So, why so many public figures are speaking first and thinking letter. Their insert (ph) foot in mouth syndrome and our response to it.
And that`s what we will get into after the break is why we consume all this stuff. Really, it`s all about on us and how we respond to these things, after the break.
PINSKY: All right. We`re having a very spirited conversation here about the "Toddlers and Tiaras" show, whether or not it`s appropriate for children. And a reminder that the reason we started this conversation, something caught my eye in the news where a woman is actually potentially going to lose custody of her child because of how she presented this child on these programs in these pageants.
Now, Michael Galanes, you are a pageant director. Fair warning to you, my friend, I`m going to be turning your mic off if you continue to speak over my other guests, OK? Fair enough?
GALANES: Yes, sir. Yes, sir.
PINSKY: All right. Fair enough. Let`s go to callers. Danielle in Michigan -- Danielle.
DANIELLE, MICHIGAN: Hi, Dr. Drew, big fan. My question is, what`s going to become of these children once they are young adults and so forth after being sexualized for so long on these shows?
GALANES: Can I answer that question, Dr. Phil?
PINSKY: Dr. Phil? If you call me Drew, you can. Go ahead, Mike.
GALANES: Dr. Drew. Dr. Drew.
PINSKY: Go ahead, Mike.
GALANES: Coming at this -- coming -- being involved for 20 years, I can actually speak firsthand. There was nothing more humbling for me than when a little girl named Penny asked me to be at her law firm when they put her name on the door, because her involvement with pageant helped her reach her goal of becoming an attorney.
So, I know firsthand, these girls really succeed in life. They`re learning life skills. They don`t learn at home or in the classroom.
PINSKY: Got it.
GALANES: And their doctors, lawyers, been on Broadway, every -- every gamut of success.
PINSKY: Note taken, Mike. Now, to my other guests, Lisa?
BLOOM: But, the question was about sexualizing little girls. And Mike says they`re not sexualized in his pageant. So, I don`t know if that`s a good example.
BLOOM: We`re talking about the little girls with the fake breast, dressed as prostitutes, et cetera. And I think we can all agree that`s a very a dangerous message to give to a little girl that she`s got value if she present herself at age four.
PINSKY: That`s right. We worry about her having eating disorders, body image issues, and being able to conduct yourself healthily in a relationship. Wendy, how about those issues? You say you would do the reality show again in spite of our concerns.
DICKEY: You talking about a reality show period or the "Toddlers and Tiaras" again?
PINSKY: Well, we`re talking about what we see and what we see there are young girls being sexualized.
DICKEY: Yes. There are definitely cases. I have been at home and watched "Toddlers and Tiaras" before and have actually been appalled at what I`ve seen. Well, you`ve got to realize that there are extremist in every sports I have been flabbergasted at the ball field and at dance. You have extremist in every case. People will say I`m an extremist by dressing Paisley the way I did.
I feel like I`ve not been an extremist for dressing her as a prostitute. Character, again, not about the costume. But, you know, again, you`ve got to realize this is a show, the camera`s on, people just - - they do things that they probably normally would not do. But all I can say is hide and watch and watch what an incredible person Paisley turns on to.
PINSKY: OK. Wendy, Wendy, you bring up a really -- hang on, Mike. Mike. Turn Mike`s mic off, just for a second. I will let him talk maybe in a minute. But, Wendy, the thing here is -- you bring up a really interesting point. This is I want to get into my next segment is, how we then pile on and attack people?
You said you reconsider doing this. You think -- maybe I learned something, maybe I made a little gaffe there, and yet, people I`m sure if you check your Twitter today, people will be all over you and very hostile, aggressive in inappropriate ways, and I have a problem with that.
I have a problem with how we attack people who flub in the public, who misstep in the public, and maybe, you know, would think better of it another time. So, I think -- I appreciate your honesty, Wendy. Lisa, of course, I always appreciate you being here and bringing this conversation to an important point.
BLOOM: Thank you.
PINSKY: And Mike, any last comments for you? I know I`ve turned your mic off. Let`s turn it back on again. I`m giving you last words.
GALANES: Pageantry is a very positive -- yes. Pageantry is a very, very positive sport, and I encourage all of you to get involved because it`s just a really fun time. Things they can`t experience at home or in the classroom when done right.
PINSKY: Thank you, guys. And I would love to see the data on this. I think we need to study this and see if Mike`s impressions are, in fact, borne out in some objective way.
Up next, public figures making outrageous statements than saying I didn`t mean it. And the question then becomes is it OK then and how do we react to it and what about our free speech rights? And in this day and age of social media, are we losing some of that because of how people act out? After this. Stay with us.
PINSKY (voice-over): Here`s what a U.S. Senate candidate said just the other day.
REP. TODD AKIN, (R) MISSOURI: If it`s a legitimate rape, the female body has ways to try to shut that whole thing down, but let`s assume that maybe that didn`t work or something. You know, I think there should be some punishment, but the punishment ought to be in the rapist and not attacking the child.
PINSKY: And our vice president last week.
JOE BIDEN, VICE PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: He said in the first 100 days, he`s going to let the big banks once again write their own rules. Unchain Wall Street. They`re going to put you all back in chains.
PINSKY: Then, there`s the president of Chick-fil-A. He alienated the entire gay community and many others when he publicly endorsed a so-called biblical view of traditional marriage.
PINSKY (on-camera): So, what were they thinking? Have you ever said something you wish you could take back and then you try to apologize and it only gets worse? And my question really also is, have we, the consumers, become so angry and unforgiving as a society that we`re infringing on people`s right to free speech?
Joining me to discuss, John Phillips, radio talk show host on KABC in Los Angeles and staying with me, attorney, Lisa Bloom. John, what do you think? I mean, as much as anything else, I mean, these guys make these horrible gaffes, nasty things, but then we want to destroy people because of it and is that really American? You know what I`m saying?
JOHN PHILLIPS, RADIO TALK SHOW HOST, KABC: Well, I`m entirely in favor of people saying stupid things, because it`s like a stimulus program for talk radio. It makes my job much easier.
PHILLIPS: But I think there`s two issues. I think you should never have to apologize for something that you say if it`s an opinion. But if you get a fact wrong, that`s something that you should have to apologize for. What this congressman said was factually inaccurate, you`re a doctor, maybe you know better than I do.
PINSKY: It was ridiculous, but he did apologize.
PHILLIPS: -- some sort of doorman at the cervix to kill off rapist sperm then he`s right, but unless that happens, he`s wrong.
PINSKY: Lisa, I`d like to talk (INAUDIBLE).
BLOOM: You know, I think our congressional candidates should at least have a seventh grader`s understanding of how birds and bees, you know, get together and make babies, right? Is that too much to ask?
PINSKY: No, I think --
BLOOM: This was not a gaffe, Drew. That`s the problem. His belief is that abortion is wrong in all circumstance, and he lobbyists for that. When he`s asked what about in the case of rape, he`s opposed to abortion, even in the case of rape, but this was his solution to that problem. Babies don`t get made via rape.
So, this wasn`t a gaffe. It`s not as though he just chose the wrong word or had the wrong statistic. This was actually a deeply held belief that came to the light.
PINSKY: But John, to take your point of view, you`re saying that he should be able to offer that opinion and not expect his life to be destroyed as a result. We, now in the day of social media, we want to destroy people when they say things we don`t like.
PHILLIPS: Well, his opinion is that abortion is wrong even in the case of rape and incest, which might very well fly in Missouri. He`s been a congressman. He`s been elected a number of times. The fact that he can`t get the basic facts right is something that`s going to really hurt him badly, because he sat on the science committee.
How can you sit on the science committee for years and years and years and know less than an LAUSD graduate?
BLOOM: And it`s a slap in the face to the 32,000 women in America every year who are raped and who get pregnant if he doesn`t understand that that`s possible and it happens.
PINSKY: All right. Let`s get off right an abortion now. I want to show a video of someone going into a Chick-fil-A and videoing an employee and make -- you can take a look at this. A YouTube video where a customer confronts this Chick-fil-A employee for merely working at, quote, "a hateful" -- what he calls "a hateful corporation." Take a look at this.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: No, I understand. I believe that, too. I don`t believe corporations should be giving money to hateful groups. Totally understand. I`ll take my water.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: It`s my pleasure to serve you always.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Of course. I`m glad that I can take a little bit of money from Chick-fil-A and maybe less money to hate groups. Have a great day.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: We`re always happy to serve everyone.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I don`t know how you live with yourself and work here. I don`t understand it.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
PINSKY: So, here we have -- using the internet. This poor girl needs a job. She gets a job at a place where the boss says a horrible thing. And now, we`re going to destroy her. Doesn`t anybody else have a problem with that? I have a problem with that kind of aggression being acted out through the internet.
BLOOM: This was a bone-headed thing this guy --
PINSKY: Yes. But what`s happening to this poor employee at the window is my problem. This guy feels justified in taking her down because of what the bonehead says.
BLOOM: Because he`s an idiot. You know, Martin Luther King said you had little morally persuasive power with people who feel your underlying contempt. You`re not going to change minds by attacking people, especially after going against what was probably a minimum wage employee who`s just trying to make a living --
BLOOM: -- who`s not responsible for what her -- I mean, do we know what this guy`s bosses political views are? Does he endorse all of them?
PINSKY: That`s my point, John.
PHILLIPS: Well, this guy is a complete mental patient, because to be abusive to the help (ph), to try to send a message to the boss, and then posting it on YouTube, he ultimately lost his job over doing this.
PINSKY: The YouTube guy?
PHILLIPS: The YouTube guy, yes.
PINSKY: The guy who was showing --
PHILLIPS: The guy who videotaped --
PINSKY: So, not the kid at the window, but the YouTube guy?
BLOOM: She should get a raise.
PHILLIPS: Well, yes, he was the one that put it on the internet.
PINSKY: And he lost his job.
PHILLIPS: And he lost his job over that. Yes. So, he thought people would watch that and come to his defense. He`s that stupid.
PINSKY: Oh, that`s interesting.
PHILLIPS: He`s stupid squared.
PINSKY: Let`s take a call from, I believe, Myel in Indiana -- Myel.
MYEL, INDIANA: Yes.
PINSKY: Go right ahead.
MYEL: Yes. I just want to say, we live in America where we`re supposed to have equal opportunity, freedom of speech. And you know, this guy`s views of, you know, what he believes in that`s his choice to believe in that. You know, I think we`ve taken it too far.
You know, I have my own opinions, and you know, that`s the great thing about America is that we can share those views and we shouldn`t be, you know, critiqued or you know about those views.
BLOOM: What if it`s a congressman? We can`t criticize a congressman`s views?
PINSKY: What if it`s hate?
PHILLIPS: Yes. You should be (ph) able to be critiqued. You shouldn`t have -- you shouldn`t lose the ability to make a living, but you should be --
PINSKY: Yes, but in this day and age -- that`s a great point, John. But in this day and age, see, people worry about young people acting out in video games. Young people now are acting out through social media and harming people and feeling justified being aggressive like that. That`s the problem.
BLOOM: Some people sign up for this. If you`re a congressman, if you`re a lawyer, if you`re a talk show host, you sign up to get verbally attacked --
PINSKY: Lisa, after the "Toddlers and Tiaras" thing, who know what`s going to come your way?
BLOOM: I`m still recovering from that, right? But you know, we put ourselves out there and we can take it, right? If we`re going to make provocative statements, we expect to get some of that back. That`s different than a woman working in the drive thru lane at Chick-fil-A.
PHILLIPS: Now, you should see my e-mail what I get before noon and that`s just from Lisa.
PINSKY: All right. We have another call out there? I guess, Renee, Renee, you got something for us?
RENEE, NEW JERSEY: Yes, I do. Hi, everybody. Thanks for having me. I wanted to share a story that I had a boyfriend, probably about 17 years ago, got into it one night over nothing, he told me he loved me, I didn`t answer. He said it again. He said do you love me back, and I just (INAUDIBLE) said, no, I don`t, with some crazy false bravado and I don`t even like sex with you.
RENEE: Didn`t mean it. Didn`t mean a word. And I have no idea why that came out of my mouth to this day.
PINSKY: So, there`s a case of -- wasn`t a public gaffe but a private gaffe that had severe consequences.
PINSKY: But her point is I think what she`s making is that in public, people may say things they don`t really mean.
PINSKY: And we do -- we give people an opportunity to apologize? No.
PHILLIPS: Right. Well, my advice to her would be to not drink before you talk to your boyfriend.
PINSKY: Don`t drunk text people.
BLOOM: And that we should judge people on their whole record, right? Not just on one comment that may have gone awry.
PINSKY: That`s right.
OK. We`re going to keep this conversation going. Again, thanks to John and Lisa for joining me. We`ll be back with more calls after this.
PINSKY: I`m back with my guest, John Phillips, KABC talk show host and Lisa Bloom, attorney and author of "Swagger", and a story kept you guys here to talk about a story that caught my eye today. A young girl who was -- there she is here. She`s a valedictorian. She`s an A-plus student.
She`s going to go on to professional school. That is the name of her school`s mascot, the Red Devil, and she used the word "hell." She didn`t know what the hell she was going to do because she had so many interests in her life and because of using that word, they withheld her diploma.
John, I -- are we going too far with all this? Are we infringing on - - it`s like both ends are being infringed upon on our ability to speak freely.
PHILLIPS: Well, these school administrators are just out of their mind, because I used to teach high school, and I can verify to you that that is the cleanest thing ever said in a high school campus in the last ten years.
PINSKY: I agree with you.
PHILLIPS: It`s like a red fox album.
PINSKY: But what are they thinking, though? What could possibly motivate that, Lisa?
BLOOM: Well, I guess they characterize this as swear language. It`s ridiculous. It`s not sexual. It`s not obscene. You know, the devils are their mascot. Come on. This girl worked very hard. She became valedictorian. You`re going to take away her entire diploma because of that one word? That`s outrageous.
PINSKY: But do you guys share my concern that our ability to speak freely is being infringed upon in so many different ways, not the law, but by society? Alexis De Tocqueville when he wrote about America in 1822, that was his biggest concern, that the social pressure was going to infringe on people`s rights and here we are.
PHILLIPS: Right. But you can`t take away what people actually think. And people are just doing it anonymously. You read the comment section on newspaper articles. They`re really abusive, really nasty things, people on their Facebook page, because they can do it in the privacy of their own home because they`re so terrified of saying those things in public.
PINSKY: But I think that`s a problem.
BLOOM: Well, we have to be more respectful of each other in public discourse. No question about it. But the solution for bad speech is more speech, not censorship, right?
BLOOM: And if a congressman says something that`s outrageous, we`re all going to talk about it. I think that`s healthy. I think that`s a healthy part of the political process.
PINSKY: I agree.
BLOOM: And if a child, a young person is penalized because of one word, that`s ridiculous, because kids deserve a second chance.
PINSKY: But the whole phenomenon we`re seeing here is people`s lives, their actual ability to live their lives being affected by things they say, and that troubles me.
PHILLIPS: And that`s what happens with boycotts, that`s what happened with Chick-fil-A. After the war in Iraq, and people are boycotting French wine, French wine sales went down by 25 percent for the first six months. Really hurt a lot.
PINSKY: It`s another thing to get an individual and have an entire group focused on an individual with the intent of -- it`s a public sort of lynching.
BLOOM: So, if you own, a giant company like Chick-fil-A and you intentionally come out publicly and say I`m against gay marriage, you`re going to suffer the consequences for that. And I`m sure that they knew that.
PINSKY: But they should maybe commercially, but should they personally? Doesn`t that then --
BLOOM: But nobody is harming them personally. Of course, that would be wrong. But if they`re going to take a political stance and also run the company, and they have to suffer the consequences above people (ph) are saying, I`m not going to give them another dollar.
PINSKY: Got to go. You guys, thank you for joining me with this conversation. Thank you all for watching. I`ll see you time. Reminder, Nancy Grace begins right now.