PTC slams 'Toddlers & Tiaras' for 'Pretty Woman' hooker costume


A parenting group has opened fire on TLC’s Toddlers & Tiaras, criticizing the series for showing a 3-year-old dressed as Julia Roberts’ prostitute character from Pretty Woman. The child beauty pageant reality hit’s new promo (below) includes a scene of the girl, named Paisley, wearing a variation on Roberts’ hooker garb.

“We have a serious problem when The Learning Channel* features a toddler, who probably hasn’t even learned to read, dressed as a prostitute showing off her sexy strut,” says Melissa Henson, director of communications and public education for the PTC: “There’s no question, TV executives are complicit in robbing these small kids of their childhood. For years we’ve seen adult sexuality being inappropriately and aggressively foisted on innocent young children, but children today are being sexualized at younger and younger ages.”

The network had no comment, but the girl’s mother, Wendy Dickey, explained the outfit to EW:

“Well, at this pageant there was an option to do celebrity-wear,” Dickey says. “And we thought about what we could wear with her being a brunette and Julia Roberts is my favorite actress of all time. I thought it was real cute to do Julia. She’s 3, if she was 10 I never would have considered this. But as young as she is I thought it was very comical.”


Dickey adds that she made the skirt longer than Roberts’ outfit in the film and was stunned by the media’s response. She says that if people saw Paisley’s entire routine, which later has her daughter dressed as Roberts’ reformed character in a demure brown dress, they wouldn’t have quite the same outrage.

“I’m amazed it’s caused this much of a frenzy,” Dickey says. “The judges loved it. Everybody except one particular mom went nuts over it. It was the cutest thing ever. It was very innocent. A lot probably would have been different if they aired the whole entire routine instead of just the hooker part.”

Here’s the promo for the episode, which airs tonight:

*TLC changed its name from The Learning Channel in 1998.

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Comments (379 total) Add your comment
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  • Rob

    Yeah, because THAT’s the most disturbing thing about the show…

    • J

      Thank you, Rob.

      • Acaseofgeo

        Hey, Hookers are people too! Get OYK Paisley, cause this is the scene where Gere pays for a B*.

      • KLH

        I love this show for all the wrong reasons. It is sick. The moms are the sickest. My favorite is when they talk to the camera trying to look normal. Look, the kid’s name is Paisley. Shouldn’t that be reason enough for child abuse charges.

      • saline

        I love this show, I think I will make the above picture my wallpaper.

      • SCBR

        @KLH – I agree. These people named their child PAISLEY. That is a pattern, not a name.
        Also – this parents group has got it twisted. The SHOW isnt the problem. The PARENTS are! They would have done this camera crew or not. These people are sick.

    • DebLI

      My thoughts exactly.

    • wino

      ha, exactly. the whole premise of the show is creepy.

      • Captain

        I’m not going to deny that this show is completely terrible in every way but you guys have to admit that dressing your 3 year-old like a prostitute crosses a line, even for pagent moms.

      • Lala

        How come no one is even MORE disturbed by the fact that she WON the competition? So basically all those judges thought that not only was the outfit acceptable, but also so good as to win!

      • energysuck

        Probably for Brad Paisley… the majority of the people on the show are hillbillies

    • bob

      THIS. i mean, c’mon. a woman dressing up her 3-year-old as a julia roberts characters (alright, alright, a julia roberts STRIPPER character) is definitely not the first red flag on kid beauty pageants. those kids are being paraded around like little prosti-tots anyway.

      • dally

        Not a stripper, a prostitute.

        And last week, a mother dressed her 4 year old as Dolly Parton, complete with fake boobs. What are these mothers thinking?

      • Jo

        I found the Dolly Parton character just as disturbing. She had her daughter wearing fake boobs and fake butt implants. Doing a sexy strut across the stage. So my question is, where are they going to draw the line? When they start actually stripping on stage? Come on people, lets set some higher standards for these pageants, or ban them all together. Why do they have to have fake creepy teeth, fake tans, fake hair and now and now butts and boobs. What is that teaching these young innocent children? Mental development is most prominent in the early years of a child’s life. I am afraid that all of these children are going to have huge mental and self esteem issues when they finally reach adult years. And to the mom who dressed her child as a prostitute, hope your not dissapointed in the future when she actually becomes one, it’s what YOU taught her!

      • Wickeddoll

        @Jo – they’ve already had them stripping. One of them stripped down to a Madonna cone bra! SICK

      • Jo

        OMG Seriously? Wow…so I guess adults can now do whatever the hell they want to do to their kids and no one is going to do anything about it right? So sick…so sad. I just watched this episode (I DO NOT WATCH THIS ON A REGULAR BASIS!) All the kids are crying, biting their moms, telling them that they don’t want to be there…do these stupid parents watch this show to see how miserable their children are? They need a reality check BIG TIME!!!

      • wakeforce

        They are setting their kids up for their future careers. Instead of learning to be smart, and relying on their brains to get ahead, they are relying on their bodies. How sick does a mother have to be to get off on their little girls dressing like that? Don’t they know they are inviting pedophiles to look at their daughters?
        I don’t have a problem with adults going on tv for 15 minutes of fame, but to put a kid up to that ( Yes, that includes Kate Gosselin) is reprehensible!

      • Meg

        But does a four year old really have a “sexy strut?”

      • FA

        Little girls should only dress up as LITTLE GIRLS. Not some hooker or other grown up person. How will they ever have a normal childhood if their parents keeps dressing them up like this, & for what? A trophy for the parents to sit back & look at with pride, not knowing what they did to their child was wrong in the first place? Just something else to collect dust over the years

      • Z

        Fastest solution? STOP WATCHING THE PROGRAM!
        When TLC’s ratings go down then airing of this disturbing television show will stop. What I’d like to know is how to put a stop to parading young children around on a stage in order for them to be judged by complete strangers given the ludicrous power to decide which of these poor brainwashed children is special enough to wear a crown or not?
        How does this boost the other children’s self esteem? Where is the positive lesson a toddler gets to take home in all of this?

    • Carol Seaver

      Paisley won Grand Supreme!!! Paisley won Grand Supreme!!! Way to rock the thigh highs!!!!!

      • UrLunchLadyArms

        Really carol… Go back to your McJob and stop living your perverse fantasies out through children and their hideous gargoyle “mothers”

      • Anon

        I really don’t think Carol was being serious…

      • Mayson

        It is ok until u get that far

    • Jill

      The saddest part. PAISLEY WON the pagent! How sick is that?

      Mom seems to have noticed that when Julia Robert’s character wore the brown polka dot dress, SHE WAS STILL A HOOKER! A better “demure” dressed hooker, but still a hooker and the outfit didn’t reform her, Plus, she can’t deny that she had her daughter strut and little else for her routine as the street walker Vivienne..

    • bfd

      And they had her walking in front of the Beverly Hilton like she was a hooker! And the Judges voted for her to win! This pagent stuff is sick and the Judges are the worst culprits.

    • Linda K

      Ho, Ho, Ho. . . and it’s not Christmas.

      thanks for the mini – hooker look. Now for the creepy folks to come out from under their rock

    • sean

      These mothers are an embarrassment. Their justifications for exploiting their children are ridiculous. Can you believe that someone is married to these squawking hens? My wife and I have beautiful identical twin 2 year old girls and we would never dream of parading them like sluts. Thank God I have a normal wife.

    • mandy

      This show is sick ,these kids are just exploited who the hell thinks that its acceptable for young children to dress like adults and be provoctative…DISGUSTING!!!!!!!!!

  • Jennifer

    I hate to find myself agreeing with the PTC, but even for this show, which is pretty awful, this is a new low.

    • Mary-Helen

      This. Every parent on this show should have their children taken from them for exploiting them.

    • Amelia

      I agree. I usually do not agree with the PTC but I cannot see how someone can justify dressing their 3 year old child like a prostitute. Maybe it’s about time the PTC goes after this type of programming rather than dramas created for adult audiences.

      • Bob R


      • saline

        good point

      • Squishmar

        If they did go after shows like this, rather than regular programming aimed at adults, they could really justify their name. This show affects children *directly*.

    • molly

      I belong to the PTC and I find it interesting that you almost never agree with them when they “go after dramas created for adult audiences”. You mean like “Secret Life of an American Teenages” and “Skins”. Those were filthy and were marketed to teen audiences not adults. TV is pretty vulgar and without the PTC, God knows what it would be. Parents should be glad somebody is checking what young people see on television as it’s clear some parents don’t

      • @molly

        I agree that there are shows marketed towards teens that are hardly appropriate, but isn’t it the parent’s job to monitor the teen, not the television? How much responsibility can parents divest themselves of before it becomes too much.

      • Michael

        @molly, I hope you are only referring to parents who don’t care enough about their kids to monitor what they watch. It’s one thing for a parent to not care and be negligent; it’s another thing entirely for parents to agree to allow their kids to watch a show. If you think the PTC should decide what kids watch instead of the kids parents, then you’re a fool. If not, I apologize

      • jenjen

        I don’t need you or anyone else telling me what is appropriate and what isn’t in my own home. Parents need to do the parenting, not some group of holier than thou (and I am a Christian) busy bodies who do things via form letter and deception.

      • Amelia

        You make a good point about shows that are on ABC Family marketed to teenagers, but I’ve read PTC articles on shows such as The Walking Dead and Sons of Anarchy, shows that are on at 10 p.m., on cable, and marketed to adults. It’s up to the parents to turn the tv off if their children are watching. Thirty-two year old adults, like me, who have no children should be able to enjoy quality programming that I pay Comcast for.

      • Jo

        After watching a few episodes of Toddlers & Tiara’s…I think you can see first hand, that there are A LOT of parents who are incapable of healthy parenting, and that these innocent children need as much help as they can get. So we ban this useless show, and hopefully these stupid pageants. What would be the harm in that? The only people who would really be upset are the sick pedophiles out there anyway!

      • jj

        and it’s not just young teens that are watching ABC Family shows, I want to point out. I know people college age and older who watch some of the shows. Also, for an older teen, some of those shows are good talking points to start a convesation with a parent about what is or isn’t acceptable in the household and consequences for actions. I also know parents that use the blocking tools on their tv (shockers, ptc, i know) and that greatest blocker of all- not owning a tv in the first place!! (yes, there are people who do this. and that’s their choice). the only reason people are even remotely agreeing with the PTC on this particular one is that it blatantly speaks to pedophiles and places actual children in real danger by parents and adults who somehow don’t get that dressing like an adult and GYRATING (the parents want to say they are just doing pageant stuff, but REAL pageant girls don’t act like this unless they are in a wet t shirt contest at a bar!!!) is not cute and is invitation to perverts everywhere.

      • Captain

        Maybe you should let teenagers decide what they want to watch. If parents don’t mind their child watching Skins USA, that’s their decision. Chances are, they’re going to be exposed to inappropriate content elsewhere. Stop trying to make decisions for America and just change the channel. I watched movies I probably shouldn’t have at a young age (I had seen both Cruel Intentions and American Pie before I was 10) but at the end of the day, it didn’t screw me up. I consider myself an intelligent, well-adjusted young adult and if anything, it made me more mature. I was one of the few children that wasn’t rolling on the floor laughing during sex ed classes.

      • @Jo

        Jo, your generalization that only pedophiles would be upset if it is cancelled is fallacious. As repugnant as these shows are, they have a right to air. Canceling them because you don’t agree with their view tramples our Constitutional right to free speech. You are entitled to your view and to share it just as they are entitled to make their hideous show. Don’t like it? Don’t watch it. I don’t.

      • KLH

        We need to cancel the parents. I find a peverse humor and will continue to crings and watch :(

      • Katie

        The objection to “The Secret Life of the American Teenager” should be the insult to intelligence and assault on common sense that it makes. It is a show people watch solely for the snark factor. If any teenager I knew took anything other than a “WTF?!” attitude away from it, I would be sincerely concerned for said teens capacity to make it in life.

    • steph

      i NEVER agree with the PTC, and it weirds me out that I agree with them over this.

      • lor

        I also rarely pay any attention to what the PTC says, but I did agree with them on this, too. There was also an episode where the child was in “celebrity”ware, dressed as Dolly Parton, with fake boobs and behind. I don’t know why exactly I watch this show: often I have to rewind it to have my husband come in and watch what these crazy parents are doing now! When I heard one mother say she spent $4000 on a “glitzdress” I thought that’s a car payment, or a few mortgage payments. I hope these parents are also putting money aside for all the therapy these girls are going to have in the future.

  • keith

    Speechless. I want to punch that mother in the face.

    • Sammy


    • Lauren

      From the picture above, it looks like someone beat you to it! This is disgusting. Great show for pedophiles though…

      • Lauren

        oops, I guess she is not the kid’s mom. Sorry!

    • Lil Jo

      come on Keith… it’s not her fault. The contestants were supposed to dress up like a celebrity, the mother likes Julia Roberts… it’s a prefect natural progression to dress her like a prostitute. I mean it’s not like Julia Roberts ever played any strong female character to dress her daughter up as, other then this one.

      • wakeforce

        Erin Brokovitch (sp.) may have dressed like a tart, but she sued the same evil company responsible for the gas explosion that happened a year ago.

  • A.Rae

    Dressing your 3-year-old as a famous movie hooker is “very innocent”? Seriously?

    • Carol Seaver

      I blame the evil Julia Roberts for this. It is all her fault. I can’t believe she became America’s sweetheart playing a filthy sleazy character. Paisley was just trying to be just like her…..

      • Jane

        Are you serious? Upset at an actress PLAYING a part in a move, as have millions of other actors and actresses played parts in movies? The EVIL Julia Roberts? Huh? If that’s your argument, that she’s evil because of the role she played in a movie, then ALL actors and actresses must be evil because they’ve ALL at one time or another played a murderer, an adulterer, a thief, a conartist, etc. Your argument is so ridiculously flawed.

        All that being said, this little girl’s mother purposefully dressed up her little girl like the prostitute in “Pretty Woman,” one of the most iconic and recognizable roles in recent movie history. Really? You PURPOSEFULLY wanted your 3-year-old daughter walking in a beauty pageant, having everyone recognize that this little girl is dressing like a prostitute? This is appropriate for a 3-year-old little girl? It’s really disgusting.

      • Ace

        I think that was probably sarcasm, Jane.

      • bary

        Jane is in way over her head here.

      • Andrea

        That’s not even where she started. your just mad cause she makes 20 million a movie and you don’t! I don’t think Julia Roberts is concerned with what you think anyways

      • Sarcasm

        Jane, it’s me…..

      • Sarcasm Radar

        Obviously, ‘Carol’ is what is known as a ‘troll’ – someone whose sole purpose in life is to aggravate people, as shown here with Jane. If you don’t fall for her sloppily applied sarcasm, she will go away.

  • satchels of gold

    That woman looks like her parents were first cousins.

    • Mel

      I think that is a distinct possibility, based on her actions and comments.

    • Kat

      No no, give that woman some credit. If you watch the promo, she’s OPPOSED to the little girl dressed as the Pretty Woman character. She’s not that girl’s mother.

      • maggie

        She’s the mom of another contestant. She puts her daughter in these pageants too, so she gets the only the very smallest credit for objecting to the “Pretty Woman” costume.

      • KLH

        It’s just jealousy even is she is right. This show is hilarious. Especially when you see the 20 year olds who still are looking for that title, competing against 4 year olds. Oh and those 6 month olds who “love” pageants. hahahaha

  • Matt

    PTC has a problem with one costume? I would think they might have an issue with THE ENTIRE CONCEPT OF THE SHOW.

    • Kelly

      I surprised they didn’t say anything last week when a little girl was “Dolly Parton”, complete with fake boobs and a prosthetic bottom to make her look the part.

      • EMF

        What about the little girl who wore the Madonna outfit with the cone bra? I thought was an all time low.

      • jj

        i personally had problems with all of these. Don’t watch the show, but that’s what I watch The Soup for. Sick, sick, sick. These contest organizers should be ashamed, many (not all) of the parents should be, too, and TLC should be as well. But a network is not going to stop doing anything that gives it attention. So all of us commenting on this here are probably guaranteeing that we get at least two more seasons of this trash. Wait ten years and we’re going to be seeing these tots on Teen Mom: The Next Generation

    • Nancy

      This is a scary show! No one has mentioned the steady stream of Pixie Sticks washed down with Mountain Dew to keep them going.

      • Katie

        Yes, one girl asked for her “special juice” in the hotel room. The mom covered the can with her hand and was clearly trying to keep us from seeing what she was drinking. However, the camera man having approximately 100 more IQ points than the mom, just waited and zoomed in on it when they threw it in the trash. It was Red Bull.

      • Lala

        well, hiding it did no good. the mother stated that her “special juice” was a combo of energy drink, apple juice and soda. Those same parents later giving that kid candy and other sugar. And more special juice, of course. AND her baby brother passed out nearly the whole time, either on mom or on dad.

  • LG

    I think I’m more disturbed by the buck teeth that woman is showing in the clip above. Hayseed!

    • Darrin

      Exactly – she looks like a cartoon chipmunk, just from that still shot.

    • KLH

      I am seriously missing Mackenzie and her nini. That girl needs her own sitcom. So does the Hard working lady nini.

      • Zoie


      • Kim

        I agree. Gotta love Mackenzie rhymes with Lindsey. That’s what my daughter and I watch the show for. I understand what some people are saying. But these people are never going to stop doing these pageants, so we may as well point and laugh at their delusions. You’ve got to watch it with a certain mind-frame, I guess. I mean, c’mon, “you are driving me nuts” is still one of my favorite t.v. moments ever. That, and the interview with that crazy “16 year-old” Courtney Stodden as she tries to eat Percy from the Green Miles face off. As Jerri Blank would say, good times!

      • Kim

        I do, however, agree that the Julia Robert’s prostitute get-up is over the line. The Dolly Parton one really wasn’t that bad, though. If you’d seen the episode, you’d see it really came across more funny than anything.

      • zee

        I WANT MY NINI!!!

      • Mellissa

        Ni Ni will always be a hard workin’ lady, no matter what! So is MaKenzie rhymes with Lyndsey’s little grey mechanical cat that she “trained” to be in the pagent with her. MaKenzie is the only reason to see this show, and she never lets me down with the amusment.

      • Mellissa

        I also say, “You are drivin me NUTS,” just like MaKenzie.

  • Jen E.

    Shame on this trash for forcing me to side with the PTC. Shame on the trash that watches it too.

    • ikagirl

      I agree. I don’t like being forced to agree with the PTC, but this is disturbing.

  • tigger851

    that trash should be cancelled!!!!! disgusting to exploit children in that way!

  • Dawn

    The publicity from Jon Benet’s murder caused these “baby pageants” to explode in popularity. I just can’t believe that TLC (The LEARNING Channel!) airs this crap.

  • stickitinmyear

    that derp face screenshot in unfortunate

  • yesimrite

    Yeah, because if she made the skirt as short as the movie, the THAT would just be wrong.
    This chick has no business being a parent!

    • fish eye no miko

      Yeah, I loved that bit.. “I made the skirt longer! That makes it totally ok!”
      You… really just don’t get it, do you lady?

  • Vince from NYC

    I have to agree with the PTC on this one.. First time I ever have. This is wrong on so many levels. This whole show is just wrong. Little girls aren’t supposed to ware make up unless they are playing dress up at home in private, even then parents should refrain. This isn’t cute or funny, it is disturbing.

    • jj

      the make up is the least bad thing. that i could see being up to the parent. my mom let me put on a little lip gloss when taking a picture and put lip stick and eye shadow on when doing a ballet performance when 6. it’s the AMOUNT they put on, the gyrating dancing and prancing, the fact that one lady said she’s been having her kid at an auto detailing shop (yes, you heard me) by a grown man since the kid was 11 months old (if it was that important to have a dark complected kid, why didn’t she just have a baby with another racial group instead of poisoning the kid with who knows what chemicals at such a formative age?!?) The list goes on and on for what is inappropriate about what SOME of these parents do. And they are the ones that WIN. The parents that are just doing it for fun and don’t go too far don’t usually have kids that are winners. So you got to blame these contest organizers too for either being pervs or having incredibly bad taste and/or characters.

      • Sara

        “one lady said she’s been having her kid [tanned] at an auto detailing shop”

        I dislike correcting people, but the omission of that one word really changes the meaning of the sentence! :)

      • L

        That’s another gross part of this whole thing. These kids aren’t displaying any real talents or anything, it seems like half the time when I’m watching this show there isn’t much of a talent competition, they might have a couple of dance moves but this is just a beauty competition. There are pageants where the girls are judged by how good they look tanned and wearing half their weight in make up. And there are often swimsuit competitions. And it’s sooo creepy.

  • Kim

    Who is watching this garbage?!! It’s disgusting, and we viewers should boycott TLC until they pull this show. It’s a pedophile’s dream. It’s very disturbing what these so called parents are doing to these little girls!

    • benlinus

      Well that’s just it Pedophiles, I wouldn’t be surprised if Walmart didn’t set up an endcap with personal lube the day this show airs for their creepier customers.

      • Fif

        Ok, that was way too funny!

    • KLH

      Crap. I watch it :( I am not a pedophile. Just someone looking for a laugh after a hard day. And watching these delusional paretns (we won $5,000 (but I won’t tell you we have spent $50,000 already) makes me laugh. I do feel that almost every single one of them needs to have a case opened with CPS.

      • Mellissa

        I’m with you KLH. And of course, it we didn’t watch it, we would never know the joy of Ni Ni. Ni Ni works too hard for this!

  • Molly

    I think the video’s screenshot pretty much sums up the intelligence level on this show.

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