A record 9.6 million people tuned in to watch the fifth season return of the TLC hit, ‘Jon & Kate Plus 8.’ Kate Gosselin’s brother and his wife were not among them.
Jodi and Kevin Kreider went on CBS’ ‘Early Show’ and didn’t hold back.
“They’re being exploited!” Jodi Kreider told anchor Harry Smith.
She implied it was child abuse.
“It’s time for America to see the situation for what it really is,” she said, “which is, unfortunately, there are no laws protecting children in reality-TV shows.”
Kate’s brother, Kevin Kreider was equally outspoken.
“I think we’re speaking out now because we want to be the voice of our nieces and nephews.
“And we’re seeing it turn the tide that [the children] are being viewed as a commodity.”
Read the entire interview transcript below:
JODI KREIDER, KATE GOSSELIN’S SISTER-IN-LAW: Good morning.
KEVIN KREIDER, KATE GOSSELIN’S YOUNGER BROTHER: Good morning.
SMITH: This is very interesting because over the weekend a lot of people were saying, I don’t even know who these people are, and suddenly they have really exploded into the American consciousness. And years ago, when this reality show started, you all were sort of involved in it, weren’t you?
K. KREIDER: yes, we were.
J. KREIDER: We were.
SMITH: And what was the idea initially? Here’s this family. They have eight children. We’ll do a reality show. Was it almost like a — sort of a documentary process?
J. KREIDER: Exactly. It started out that way. And that was a really neat thing to be a part of, thinking that, you know, the children are — a little bit of their life is being captured, but it quickly — we thought it was very innocent at the time.
And it — the first season started, I think, eight episodes. And it quickly turned into more and more demand from Jon and Kate from the network, and it turned into 40 episodes in a six-month span. And also it — there were cameras in the children’s bedrooms at one point. And they were filming all year around. And these were very huge concerns for us.
J. KREIDER: We spoke to them about that. And…
SMITH: You talked to Jon and Kate about it?
J. KREIDER: Yes, oh, of course. And their response was, you know, this is our choice, this is what we want to do, just respect that.
SMITH: What do you think changed as those demands grew, as the camera time grew, as the sort of visibility grew? What was the change that concerned you the most?
K. KREIDER: Well, I think 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, that — I’m sorry. That they…
SMITH: This is clearly an emotional issue for you. Do you want to go ahead?
J. KREIDER: They’re being exploited. And it’s time for America to see the situation for what it really is, which is unfortunately, there are to laws protecting children in reality TV shows. And it’s time for the public to be aware of this.
And that these children are very aware of the cameras in their homes. Their home is their workplace. And this is not a healthy environment for kids to be raised in.
SMITH: When you tried to broach this subject with your sister and her husband, what has their reaction been?
K. KREIDER: We have talked to them many times about, you know, about the subject. And they have often said, you know, hey, you know, this is kind of our lives, this is what we chose, this is how we’re going to provide for them. And we feel that they have chosen this path with disregard to their children’s safety, security…
J. KREIDER: The effects it’s going to have. Now there are effects already being — you know, signs already. And the life…
SMITH: Like what?
J. KREIDER: Like they don’t want the cameras around. They have told me personally, I don’t like…
SMITH: Your nieces and nephews.
J. KREIDER: Of course, yes. We watched them quite a bit about a year ago and further back. And, you know, they would say, Aunt Jodi, I don’t like the cameras on every vacation with us. I don’t like them, you know. And, too, you know, kids have bad times, bad moments, they cry, and having the camera zoom in on a crying child. I mean, this is just — this is — this should not be a form of entertainment.
SMITH: Are you estranged now from your sister and her husband?
K. KREIDER: I do talk to Kate and Jon. We haven’t seen the kids in a while, which is hard. But, yes, our relationship has definitely been strained now. What we hope is that they will kind of come around, see the effects, see what’s most important and…
J. KREIDER: They’re very lost right now. They’re very blinded by all of this media and this — you know, the fame and the fortune, and…
SMITH: Every time you go to the newsstand, there’s another cover and another cover.
J. KREIDER: Of course, of course. And it is time to really put priorities first, which is they say their children, but clearly their actions are showing something completely…
SMITH: You say that they say their children is a top priority.
J. KREIDER: They say their children is their priority, but clearly it is not.
SMITH: This must be so painful for you to have this — what seemed to start so innocently spill over into this kind of national sensation.
J. KREIDER: Yes.
SMITH; And it can’t be easy, I imagine, for you to come here and say…
J. KREIDER: No.
SMITH: You’re almost begging your family members to walk away from this.
J. KREIDER: It’s hard to — yes. As hard…
SMITH: Could they walk — do you think they could walk away?
J. KREIDER: No. No. No.
K. KREIDER: I think our focus is that laws do need to be passed that protect children.
J. KREIDER: Protecting children in reality TV shows because these shows are popping up all over the place.
K. KREIDER: For the future.
J. KREIDER: And it’s time for people to see that.
SMITH: All these subsequent rumors, though, that this has also had an effect on their marriage. Do you have any sense that they’re together or not?
J. KREIDER: Well, in their season premiere, you know, it’s very clear that they are not. And it is tragic. It is — just about nine months ago, they went to Hawaii and did a vow renewal and that was for ratings. But, you know, the viewers felt that it was, you know, true.
And here, you know, their marriage…
K. KREIDER: You can’t imagine as a child realizing that my birthday party, that all the outings that my parents took me on were because, you know, ratings, for ratings, and all organized by production companies.
SMITH: And last but not least, do you think the television company has any responsibility? Does TLC, is that about the cash register, or is there any part of them that is sitting there thinking, what is good for these children?
J. KREIDER: 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.
SMITH: Kevin and Jodi, we thank you for coming on this morning.
J. KREIDER: Thanks for having us.