A mother of a little girl featured on a 2011 episode of Toddlers & Tiaras—in which she padded the 4-year-old's bra and rear end for a Dolly Parton routine—might lose custody of her daughter over the televised stage costume. Bill Verst has petitioned the court in Campbell County, Kentucky for full custody of his daughter, Mady Verst, accusing the child's mother, Lindsay Jackson, of exploitation.
And it doesn't look good for Jackson. A court-appointed psychologist wrote a 3,000-word report condemning the Mady's participation in pageants, specifically citing the Dolly Parton costume and photos of the little girl dressed as a "sexy police officer."
I never intended for it to be a negative costume—it was costume designed to represent our state. Dolly's from Tennessee, so that's what I did. As far as the police outfit goes, it's nothing more than a pair of shorts and a shirt that says, ‘Bad cop, no donut' on the back. You can buy it for retail as a Halloween costume – and it's more revealing than what Madisyn was wearing. That outfit was never intended on being sexualized.
The "bad cop, no donut" costume is actually popular in the child pageant circuit and has been seen on a different child on a different episode of Toddlers & Tiaras in the past. (More on that in a bit.)
And while Jackson's defense is that what she did was "not illegal," her case looks grim. "Nine times out of ten, judges will use the [court-ordered psychologist's] report verbatim," Beverly Hills-based attorney Evan T. Sussman told Fox News. Additionally, her daughter landed on the cover of People last year with the unflattering headline "Gone Too Far?"
However, the judge does have other factors to consider, like how the child's father, Bill Verst is a convicted felon who is currently on probation for a DUI and child endangerment. The case is important though, as it could set a precedent that participating in child beauty pageants equates to being an unfit parent. Proceedings resume on August 31.
In March of this year, June Shannon, mother of breakout star Alana Thompson (aka Honey Boo Boo)—who scored her own spinoff on TLC—was investigated by CPS, with the agency citing an episode of T&T aired in which Shannon gave her daughter a combination of an energy drink and Mountain Dew, that she called "go go juice," to help keep her energized for the pageant. (The case was eventually thrown out of court.)
Actually, it's surprising that it's taken this long for custody to be at stake or for CPS to look into any of the families from the show. Audiences have been enraged, during the show's three-year history, over some of the parenting techniques of pageant moms. Here's a very brief rundown:
The aforementioned "sexy police officer" costume was worn by a 4-year-old on a 2009 episode of the show. Unlike Jackson, however, this child's mother actually did recognize the sexual nature of the "bad cop, no donut" joke on the jacket, and even went so far as to spell it out for the television audience (donut = vagina) in a move that seemed even more misguided than the costume itself.
Of course there is the infamous Pretty Woman routine in which a mother dressed her 3-year-old up as a hooker, modeled after Julia Roberts' street-walking scene.
Who could forget the Madonna cone bra (you know, the one she wore while simulating masturbation during the Blonde Ambition tour)?
Maddy Verst's Padded Bra On 'Toddlers & Tiaras' Might Cause Her Mother To Lose Custody [HuffPo]
'Toddlers & Tiaras' mom could lose custody of daughter because she puts her in pageants [Fox News]
Convicted Felon Father to Toddlers & Tiaras Mom: You're Not a Good Parent [Gawker]
4-Year-Old Wears Fake Tits & Ass For Pageant Routine [Jezebel]