Kid Nation contract released CBS from “emotional distress, illness, sexually transmitted diseases, H.I.V. and pregnancy”

Parents of the 40 kids who participated in Kid Nation signed contracts that agreed, among other things, to not hold the producers responsible if their kids contracted STDs or got pregnant.

The contract said that parents and kids were responsible for “emotional distress, illness, sexually transmitted diseases, H.I.V. and pregnancy” if the participant “chooses to enter into an intimate relationship of any nature with another participant or any other person,” according to the New York Times, which obtained a copy of the contract.

Kid Nation‘s contract also addresses what would later become a point of controversy: child labor laws. According to the paper, “[t]he contract also specifies that while the children could be paid for their participation, those payments or the agreement to be fully under the producers’ direction did not constitute employment under the producers’ interpretation and therefore was not subject to any state or federal labor laws.”

The 22-page agreement contained many standard reality show clauses, however ridiculous they may seem. For example, “Violating the confidentiality agreement carries a $5 million penalty. CBS and the production companies, Good TV Inc. and Magic Molehill Productions, retained the rights to the children’s life stories ‘in perpetuity and throughout the universe.’ And that right includes the right to portray the children either accurately or with fictionalization ‘to achieve a humorous or satirical effect,'” the Times reports, quoting from the contract.

In addition, the Times says their “contract also specifies that the children are able to leave the production at any time, but that in doing so they will lose their right to receive payment and will still be bound by confidentiality provisions.” That payment was $5,000.

‘Kid Nation’ Parents Gave Show Free Rein [New York Times]

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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.