Entertainment

Christy Carlson Romano calls ‘Quiet on Set’ doc network ‘trauma tourists,’ slams treatment of child actors

Child actress Christy Carlson Romano is an advocate for child stars, but refuses to participate in a documentary similar to “Quiet on Set: The Dark Side of Kids TV” or even watch the bombshell series.

According to Entertainment Weekly, Romano will be a guest on “Mayim Bialik’s Breakdown” podcast this week and explains why she will not participate in a documentary about her experience as a child star. 

Romano was a Disney Channel star, appearing on “Even Stevens” as Ren Stevens and was a voice actress on “Kim Possible,” during the early years of her career.

Christy Carlson Romano on "Even Stevens"

“Even Stevens” star Christy Carlson Romano refused to participate in a documentary like “Quiet on Set.” (Getty Images)

“I’ve chosen not to speak about this with anybody, including ID, who originally came to me looking to see if I’d be interested in a doc like this,” Romano told Bialik, according to the outlet. 

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“I don’t know if it was this doc [“Quiet on Set”]. But I was approached when I first started advocating three years ago for my own YouTube channel with my own experiences that I did in different and separate episodes, so to speak,” she continued. “I started to be approached by many reality-show-type producers, and they were like, ‘Hey, how do we do this?’ and I would combat them with saying, ‘Hey, guys, the only way we would do this is if we talk about how do we fix it?'”

Romano continued, “[Fellow child actor] Alyson Stoner, who is a fantastic advocate in this space, has really impinged upon me the importance of understanding trauma porn.” 

Even Stevens cast

The cast of “Even Stevens” consisted of Donna Pescow as Eileen Stevens, Tom Virtue as Steve Stevens, Shia LaBeouf as Louis Stevens, Christy Carlson Romano as Ren Stevens, Nick Spano as Donnie Stevens and Steven Anthony Lawrence as Beans. (George Lange/Disney Channel via Getty Images)

“I actually have a degree from Columbia in film, and you know, we know that the art of montage and the collision of images is going to incite a certain kind of emotion,” Romano said. “That is what documentary filmmaking in social movements is meant to do. And so we’re so manipulated by media, and we have so many little cut-downs of misinformation and things being thrown, that the echo chambers, to me, are not helpful.”

Investigation Discovery and a representative for Romano did not immediately respond to Fox News Digital’s request for comment.

Romano explained that she refuses to watch the “Quiet on Set” documentary because “it’s extremely triggering” and she’s “made a choice for several reasons to opt out of watching that imagery.”

Christy Carlson Romano with Mickey Mouse

Christy Carlson Romano was a Disney Channel star. She posed with a 75th Anniversary Mickey Mouse in Aug. 2005. (Paul Hawthorne/Getty Images)

She believes “there’s no hope being inserted into the narrative.” Romano also reportedly said the documentarians were “outsiders,” according to Entertainment Weekly.

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“These are people who don’t belong to our community,” Romano said. 

“These are outsiders. And maybe they, maybe if they knew where to put money towards [fixing] a problem, they would, but again, a lot of this has been perceived in a way that’s — it’s outside baseball. It’s not inside baseball, it’s outside baseball. These are trauma tourists,” she added, per the outlet.

Romano said that the treatment child stars experience on film and television sets needs to be viewed by the industry as “a child labor issue, in that there is a union where the child laborers pay the same amount to be covered by the protections that an adult would have, with an intimacy coordinator on set, and if there’s guns on set, or if there’s animals on set. All of those things are called out.”

christy carlson red carpet

Christy Carlson Romano attended the world premiere of Disney Channel’s original movie “Kim Possible” in 2019. (VALERIE MACON/AFP via Getty Images)

Romano said that she works with the Looking Ahead program, which helps young child actors and their families as part of The Actors Fund.

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“It’s only 50% funded by SAG, which is, I think, they need more. They’re underfunded, right?” Romano asked. 

Christy Carlson Romano at Disney Expo

Christy Carlson Romano called documentary filmmakers that focus on child actors “trauma tourists.” (The Walt Disney Company via Getty Images)

“I had mentioned to one of the producers in the advisory committee, I said, ‘Why don’t we have all the [assistant directors] say, “Minors on set,” like we have a gun, when they say, “Guns on set,” and they say, “Alligator on set” or whatever it is, to phrase it from a top-down scenario to understand that, yes, they’re laborers, but they’re child laborers,” she said. “‘There is a difference.’ So I find, I do truly feel, and this may incite a little bit of backlash, but I do think they’re being under-serviced as union workers, personally.”

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Romano’s interview with Bialik’s “Breakdown” podcast releases on April 16.


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