Brat Camp participant involved with racist graffiti incident; psychiatrist criticizes the show

One of the cast members of ABC’s Brat Camp was busted last week after spray painting racial slurs at a preschool teacher’s house. Isaiah Alarcon “reportedly admitted to Merced County Sheriff’s Department deputies that he used spray paint to scrawl ‘spook’ and ‘Ners live here”‘in front of preschool teacher Angelic Royal’s home on Palomino Drive early Friday morning,” The Merced Sun-Star reports.

Although Isaiah’s mother “told the Sun-Star last week that his behavior had improved since he returned from ‘Brat Camp,'” local law enforcement doesn’t think he was helped by the reality TV show. Merced County Sheriff Mark Pazin told the paper, “Reality TV has taken the place of long-term rehabilitation. These kids had some real serious issues that needed to be dealt with in a long-term process, not a multi-week TV program for entertainment.”

Elsewhere, a Harvard psychiatrist says that while these sorts of camps can be “a positive experience,” lying to the kids and then filming their experience probably wasn’t the best move. Dr. Steven Michaelson tells the Mass. Sentinel & Enterprise, “These kids were tricked. That’s probably not the best way to negotiate with an adolescent. … They’re fighting the betrayal and the lie. You set yourself up for a possibility of more problem behavior,” he said. “To be tricked and then to be taped is really demeaning to these kids. You’re saying, ‘You have no voice, and we’re going to exploit you.'”

‘Brat Camp’ teen is slur suspect [The Merced Sun-Star]
Local teens against ABC’s ‘Brat Camp’ [Sentinel & Enterprise]

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about the writer

Andy Dehnart is a journalist who has covered reality television for more than 15 years and created reality blurred in 2000. A member of the Television Critics Association, his writing and criticism about television, culture, and media has appeared on NPR and in Playboy, Buzzfeed, and many other publications. Andy, 36, also directs the journalism program at Stetson University in Florida, where he teaches creative nonfiction and journalism. He has an M.F.A. in nonfiction writing and literature from Bennington College. More about reality blurred and Andy.