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TLC’s Toddlers & Tiaras has long been at the center of controversy, though Wednesday’s episode, featuring a 4-year-old Dolly Parton impersonator, sparked even more flare-ups than usual.
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On Thursday, Sept. 1, the New York Post noted that viewers had flooded the show’s official Facebook page, taking the network to task over its controversial subject matter. In the episode, mom Lindsay Jackson dressed up her 4-year-old daughter Maddy to look like country-music legend, Parton. As part of the outfit, Maddy donned a blonde wig, plenty of makeup and even fake breasts and butt-pads.
“It was an outfit made for me when I used to compete in pageants,” Lindsay explained. “When she wears the fake boobs and fake butt, it’s an added, extra bonus. It’s really funny when she comes out onstage. Everyone thinks it’s hysterical.”
Maddie walked away from the competition with the “Sweetest Face” honor.
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“It is extremely disturbing the things these parents are allowing their children to wear,” wrote Marion A. Vail Pollak on Facebook. “Where is child protective services when you need them?”
Questioned Buffy Smith, “Isn’t this child pornography?”
The New York Post also reported that a select number of fans posted comments of support on the page, though they were few and far between. As of Friday, Aug. 2, TLC had disabled the option for users to post new comments and previous posts could no longer be viewed.
Opinions continued to be shared on Twitter, however, with one user writing; “‘Toddlers and Tiaras’ is hands down the most disturbing show on TV right now.”
Another suggested, “Toddlers and Tiaras? They should do a follow up series on the mothers called ‘justifiable homicide.’”
“I hope someone will document at least one girl’s evolution from ‘Toddlers & Tiaras’ to ‘Teen Mom’ to ‘Intervention’ to ‘Hoarders,’” tweeted author Caprice Crane.
When reached by The Hollywood Reporter, a representative from TLC had no comment.
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