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Bill to protect child actors clears legislative hurdle

August 16, 2012|By Dawn C. Chmielewski
  • Todd Bridges, a former child star best known for his role in "Diff'rent Strokes," said he was abused by a musician and gospel singer who had been introduced to his family. He supports a bill to better protect young actors.
Todd Bridges, a former child star best known for his role in "Diff'rent… (Genaro Molina / Los Angeles…)

A California bill seeking to protect child actors in Hollywood has passed a major legislative hurdle.

The state Senate Appropriations Committee unanimously approved measure AB 1660, which would require criminal background checks for talent managers, publicists, photographers and others in the entertainment industry who would have unsupervised access to young performers. It also would prohibit registered sex offenders from representing minors.

The bill is similar to a measure proposed in 2006 that died in the appropriations committee, amid opposition from some in the entertainment industry.

Child actor advocates seized on two high-profile cases late last year to create momentum for legislative reform. One case involved a longtime talent manager who specialized in representing young actors, and who subsequently pleaded no contest to two counts of child molestation. Another involved a film casting associate who had been convicted years earlier of child molestation and abduction. Charges brought in connection with his work in Hollywood were later dismissed.

The current bill won wide support from industry trade groups, including the Assn. of Talent Agents, the Motion Picture Assn. of America, the Screen Actors Guild and the American Federation of Television and Radio Artists. It also received the backing of former child actors who said they were victims of abuse.

The measure moves to the full California Senate for consideration.

ALSO:

Two former teen idols back bill to protect child actors

Manager of young actors arrested in molestation case

Child sexual abuse cases in Hollywood attract attention

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