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« AUTOPSY SAYS HOMICIDE | Main | Houndog Director on Dakota Fanning Rape Scene At Sundance »

January 24, 2007


Ann Althouse

"To quote the titular song, 'You said you was high class/Well, that was just a lie.'"
The movie "Hounddog" -- about which such a stir was kicked up -- is a dog:

"Hounddog" is from the overheated and overacted school of Southern drama, filled with stereotypical characters, pseudo-poetic dialogue, and heavy symbolism ("Hounddog"'s biggest deviation from formula is that it features a killer R&B band that plays into the dead of night, presumably on call should 12-year-old girls need help with their personal problems). Fanning stars as Lewellen, a girl obsessed with Elvis who lives with her no-good father (David Morse) and her strict grandmother (Piper Laurie).
Piper Laurie! I'd be waiting for li'l Dakota to start making all the kitchen knives fly through the air!

Oh, sorry, I got distracted thinking about a time when movies were such great fun. And deep too!

Say it!!!

Back to "Hounddog," with its hangdog earnestness (and 12-year-old actress in a simulated rape scene):

Fanning plays the character as a cross between an innocent child and a wise strumpet; as a whole, "Hounddog" seems conceived simply to give her a role to flex her pre-teen acting chops.

The film has generated its share of controversy due to a scene in which Fanning's character is raped (it's handled without exploitation). Kiddie porn it isn't. Unfortunately, "Hounddog" isn't much of anything. It doesn't really resonate as a coming-of-age story, a family drama, or an exploration of the 1950s Southern experience, leaving precious little left but the controversy.

Ultimately, "Hounddog" is pretty mangy.
Well, I guess I'm glad the movie's bad and hope it goes nowhere. I would hate to see it get traction out of getting a rise out of social conservatives with something that good feminists should/used to care about. But the issue is still not dead. The fact that the movie isn't "kiddie porn" or that the scene as edited into the movie is "handled without exploitation" is no answer to the problem discussed at length in this post and its many comments. The problem was the use of the child actor to film the scene. The final cut of the scene and how it looks to movie viewers is a separate matter from how the child was treated on those days when she was filming the movie. This is a matter covered by statutory law and by moral principle, and there's no special exception for high-class films or overheated and overacted Southern dramas posing as high class.

MORE: Here's Orlando Sentinel critic Kathleen Parker:

[In Hounddog,] we witness a real 12-year-old portray a girl waking up as her naked father climbs into bed with her; "dancing" in her underwear while lying in bed; and getting raped by a teenage boy.

We are, in other words, voyeurs to a young girl acting out a sexual predator's fantasies. If we have a problem with that, we're told these are real issues that beg honest exploration. No, amend that. We're lectured -- by a 12-year-old, who, we're reminded, is a sophisticated actress.

"You know, I'm an actress," Fanning patiently explained to The New York Times. "It's what I want to do, it's what I've been so lucky to have done for almost seven years now. And I am getting older."

Does anything quite equal the ennui born of being scolded by a too-precious child?

Far be it for anyone to suggest that adults know more about such things than children. At least some of them do. Fanning's parents support their daughter's decision to play the rape scene, noting that this could cinch an Oscar for the child star.

Even Marc Klaas -- the ubiquitous been-there father of his murdered daughter Polly -- has given his nod to the film, vouching for its sensitive, supportive treatment of Fanning.

Only the actress' face is shown during the rape scene, which reportedly has been tastefully executed.

It's hard to get enough of tasteful rapes, I admit. Unless you're a real child rapist, the bunch of whom doubtless will be sufficiently stimulated by Fanning's rape-face, as well as her panty-dance and her little visit from bad Daddy.

But it's Art, so relaaaaax. And it's real, so get with it.

Ann Althouse

Does the new Dakota Fanning movie violate the federal child pornography law?
It's a serious question. In the face of cries that the filmmakers should be prosecuted, the child actress is put forward to defend their film:

“That’s not who Lewellen is,” she said, sitting in her agent’s office in Universal City, braces on her teeth and a small crucifix over her sweater. “Because that has happened to her, that doesn’t define her. Because of this thing that has happened — that she did not ask for — she is labeled that, and it’s her story to overcome that and to be a whole person again.”

“There are so many children that this happens to, every second,” she added. “That’s the sad part. If anyone’s talking about anything, that’s what they should be talking about.”...

She added: “Lewellen is still very innocent, she’s still a child, but she’s also a little bit wise beyond her years because of the things she’s seen and been through. So I think that I should be able to do what I feel is at the right time for me.”

Speaking of which... Dakota Fanning is 13 years old. The law is there to protect her, not to support her free choice. I think it's exploitative even to use her to voice these arguments.

The linked NYT article refers to the Minor Consideration website run by Paul Peterson. He has this essay there:

It now appears Dakota Fanning was wearing a flesh-tone body suit (or a two piece suit) when she acted out the rape scene in "Hound Dog." Defenders of the production company were silent for two weeks when the controversy erupted, and now offer up this "cover up," days later, as proof that they were, in fact, concerned about the propriety of wardrobe worn in this rape scene using the talents of a twelve year-old child. These same voices are silent about what Dakota was wearing when she filmed the mutual masturbation scene. I keep pointing out to these people that it wasn't what Dakota was wearing, but what she was doing!...

I am trying to tell you that for a gifted child actor asked to portray a difficult emotionally loaded scene that over time there is NO difference between reality and pretend. In order to convince an audience to suspend disbelief you must, internally, believe utterly in the character and event you are portraying. That's the gift…and the curse.
ADDED: Here's a nice "Talk of the Nation" segment about child actors. I ran across it as I was looking for some information about how they get child actors to cry. I wanted to know how, for example, Chaplin got Jackie Coogan to cry in "The Kid"? Actually, in the clip they talk about how Vincente Minelli got Margaret O’Brien to cry in "Meet Me in St. Louis." (He told her that her dog had died.)

MORE: There's a lot of heated argument in the comments, so let me say that I think it's important not to assume we know exactly what Dakota Fanning was made to do in the film. Here's the director's defense of herself in Premiere Magazine:

"I think to some extent what they're accusing me of is putting Dakota through some ordeal or a simulation of rape, but that's not the case," says [Deborah] Kampmeier. "The scene was never run through from start to finish; it was shot in increments, over and over, never in a single take. The construction creates the impression of the violence, but doesn't represent the feeling on the set or something that might have traumatized Dakota, especially since there had been so much rehearsal.

Despite her problems financing the movie, Kampmeier was surprised by the vehemence of the reaction to its plot details. "I was naive — I had no idea this would come," she says. "Our decision was to not respond to any of it 'cause everything that's been written or said about us is false. But at a certain point it was so upsetting to read lie after lie and be powerless to change the public perception. I finally had to stop focusing on that and get back to the film."
It's quite a confusing story. Kampmeier complains that people are lying about her movie, but she also says that as she was seeking funding "No one wanted to touch the material" and that "potential investors... would... ask to remove the rape scene." She says she's upset about the misinformation, but refuses to provide the truth. The fact that everything said was a lie is the reason she gives for deciding to say nothing at all. There's something quite odd about that. And I don't understand the way she's acting so wounded. Her critics are people who care about the welfare of children. Why give them the cold shoulder? I assume the movie is intended to show concern about victimized children, so why act as if you actually don't care?

jimmy prosky

I read not very long ago that federal agents arrested a person for writing fictional stories about child rape on the internet...there were no visual representations, and no audio representations.....why would charges not be filed against the film makers and the parents in this instance....dont tell me that a lot of viewers of this film are not wanting to view this for sexual gratification....what is the difference???

Tre Benson

Jimmy that is a great part of the argument Blue Line has had. Certainly we aren't saying that any picture of a nude child is kiddie porn. Or that any rape story is illegal. It is that the law leaves the discression of the severity of the offense up to the prosecutor basically. If the prosecutor wants to prosecute then so be it. Same thing if he doesn't want to prosecute. The law protecting children is honestly that vague.

One of the key elements to keeping law and order is the perception of justice. Is justice blind? Is it fair? If there is no respect for justice then there will be no respect for the law and I firmly believe that is what we are seeing when we look at increasing crime figures.

You can't arrest a man and sentence him to 15 years in prison for making up a story featuring a child rape when a best seller, Lovely Bones and a feature movie generating national attention are being praised as works of artistic value.

The same dilligence needs to be expended on a case such as Hounddog as you would a man who has little girls in bathing suits on his website or a report that a neighbor is molesting the soccer team he coaches. To wait five months for the "suspect" to turn over the evidence is a bit overly friendly for my sense of justice.


For all the christians and so called church people and anyone who allows there kids to read the bibles. stop bashing the film hounddog and dakota fannings family. here is some words from the bible.You must be warned this is “sick stuff”.

Genesis 19

19:32 Come, let us make our father drink wine, and we will lie with him, that we may preserve seed of our father.
19:33 And they made their father drink wine that night: and the firstborn went in, and lay with her father; and he perceived not when she lay down, nor when she arose.
19:34 And it came to pass on the morrow, that the firstborn said unto the younger, Behold, I lay yesternight with my father: let us make him drink wine this night also; and go thou in, and lie with him, that we may preserve seed of our father. The Seduction of Lot
19:35 And they made their father drink wine that night also: and the younger arose, and lay with him; and he perceived not when she lay down, nor when she arose.
19:36 Thus were both the daughters of Lot with child by their father.

Exodus 4

24 At a lodging place on the way, the LORD met {Moses} and was about to kill him. 25 But Zipporah took a flint knife, cut off her son’s foreskin and touched {Moses’} feet with it.”Surely you are a bridegroom of blood to me,” she said. 26 So the LORD let him alone.(At that time she said “bridegroom of blood,” referring to circumcision.)

“A flint knife wow that had to hurt her son real bad” “and then she touched moses with her sons removed foreskin”"sick sick sick” I would never allow a child to read this stuff.

these are but a few of the many graphic and sexual readings you may find in the bibles. Remember children are read and taught this stuff.HOW DO YOU EXPLAIN THIS STUFF TO KIDS.Mabey we should ban children from reading the bible and remove it from all public places where children can find it then never allow any one under 18 years old to read such things.Who is the sick people now.

Now keep your mouths shut before you promote those that seek to destroy good people like dakota fanning and her family.

Tre Benson

Tim my friend you are reaching. And you are also on probation with your last paragraph about keeping my mouth shut. You forget this is my site, I own it. I can say anything, you can't, not here.

A popular children's song in France is about plucking the feathers from a bird, a Mother Goose story about a starving widow with too may children, a Bible story about sacrificing a child are all history, all stories of our forefathers. These stories do not compare with Hounddog. What happened yesterday is beyond my control. I can control the future by enacting laws and seeing to it that laws are enforced. Fortunately it looks like the public has spoken by the lack of a distribution deal meaning the movie will basically be a money loser for those that invested in it, which means it won't create a copycat who capitalizes on the fame and fortune of a sexually explicit movie featuring children in sexual scenarios.

There's another Bible story in Ezekiel 23
about sister whores who create a problem with the Lord, now this one does remind me somewhat of Hounddog and the writer/director, monkey see monkey do. Well as you can imagine the Lord God put the word on them when he said, "Bring up an army against them and subject them to terror and plunder. 23:47 That army will pelt them with stones and slash them with their swords; they will kill their sons and daughters and burn their houses. 23:48 I will put an end to the obscene conduct in the land; all the women will learn a lesson from this and not engage in obscene conduct. 23:49 They will repay you for your obscene conduct, and you will be punished for idol worship. Then you will know that I am the sovereign Lord.”

Oh well you reap what you sow I suspect.


Does this passage effect you today.

17:13 He that is born in thy house, and he that is bought with thy money, must needs be circumcised: and my covenant shall be in your flesh for an everlasting covenant.
17:14 And the uncircumcised man child whose flesh of his foreskin is not circumcised, that soul shall be cut off from his people; he hath broken my covenant.

here is some links for you and if this is not child abuse then I dont know what is.Not only is this abuse but do a google search and you will find plenty of pictures and videos and drawings of naked new born boys haveing there penis shown and then being cut on with medical insturments.Who gives permission to cut off parts of a young childs sexual organ then be allowed to post it on the internet.Who does? parents and doctors.Is this okay for you.Its sick to me and they should be arrested.

Just follow these links then do a google search on circumcision you may give dakota and family a break.Sick warned...

Oh I forgot its okay because the bible says its ok.Nobody ask me and They done a bad job it effects me to this day.As its does thousands of others Thats real abuse.

By the way sorry for being harsh with the shut up thing.I was not intending it toward you.I just think people are judging others when they abuse without thought in the name of religion.Give Dakota and family a break.

Tre Benson

Tim my friend the only reason I am leaving your post up is that it gave be a laugh that I needed today. You and your penises.

For your information I have a son that I made the difficult decision of having him circumcised. I chose to do so not because of what the Bible says, I made this decision because it was what the doctor said to do. I researched it, talked with people and did what I thought best for my son. I even stood with him holding his hand while the procedure took place. And I can assure you not one piece of his penis is missing.

The question I have for you, as a psychology major, is how does the discussion of parental roles and legality of the filming of the raping a character played by Dakota Fanning bring up images of sliced penises? Tim are you trapped in a man's body?

Thanks for the laugh.


"Wow" where did you get your degree.Anyway last point.Remember when you attack people like dakota and her family on a public site with words like rape and sexual abuse without seeing the movie or having all the facts you should expect to get the same back.I feed you shit and you needed it.By the way lets break this down.

This is what you said

"The question I have for you, as a psychology major, is how does the discussion of parental roles and legality of the filming of the raping a character played by Dakota Fanning bring up images of sliced penises? Tim are you trapped in a man's body?"

First you put youself in the classic Im better than you mode with "as a psychology major"Then you end with " Tim are you trapped in a man's body?" As a psychology major I want you to tell me what this says about you.If you can answer this I may trust you are "psychology major".

Glad to make you laugh

your not the only one I have feed this shit to today.You where nicer than some of the others.But you needed it as I said before.


Tre Benson

Tim a nurse with psych 101 would be able to see the hostility those behind the film and those in a majority of the supporters have towards men. From the "historical" aspects of the prior Virgin to the group hug circle jerk confession of the director's own rape experience this "women's" movie is a candy ass attempt at restructuring a failed miserable life that has unfortunately been projected into a talented 12 year old. It is no less narcissistic than Paris Hilton's notorious home video.

And then you come up with some of your own castration anxiety.

Do you know that a lot of female children think someone cut off their penis?

The only warm fuzzy male in the movie is the stereotypical witch doctor who at the end tells Dakota she has a hole that needs filling.

I don't have to see the movie anymore than I need to come over to your house and look in your toilet to see your evidence of colitis. You tell me you have diarrhea and I'll believe you. I have friends that worked on the film, I have the script. I have talked with the producer. I know this movie much better than you do.

I also work in the business, have worked in it for the past 14 years. I know what a set is like, I know stage mothers. And I am of age to have experienced children. I have also studied child abuse clinically, worked with rape victims and domestic violence cases.

It is this experiential knowledge that causes me to be such a strong advocate for these children that worked this film.

Children rarely ever know they are being exploited or abused. That may be the only message I can tip my hat to in the Hounddog movie. Children, like Lewellen, do not complain because it is their way of life. Anal sex may be no harder to live with for some as being forced to eat spinach is for others.

This movie does nothing, was never going to do nothing but someone spending someone else's money had to try to force it upon American culture with its Judeao-Christian values. What lunacy! Frontline, HBO and many others do a remarkable job at informing and educating America to difficult subjects. Why not stand behind those proven vehicles rather than take the time and energy, not to mention money, for prideful, arrogant and selfish motivations.

It is the newest version of the anti-men rhetoric Valerie Solanas put out in her SCUM Manifesto.

This isn't something that has just popped into the world, it is an ancient story, herstory by a damaged human being to be exact.


I heard they filmed it not as "mutual masturbation" (your words) but simply kissing. Maybe that's why people think it was cut. Did you ask the producer if the mutual masturbation scene was cut? Did you ask if it was filmed as written in the script?

You guys have lost all credibility--claims on your site that "Dakota was clearly visible as she was groped, licked, pawed and humped by an actor take, after take, after take" have now been proven to be without merit by those that have seen the film. Oh, yeah--that means nothing because they must have cut that part too.

You guys aren't doing Dakota any favors.


Iwouldnt watch that movie if youpaid me. Daktoas one of my favorite people but she is nakd in the movie half the time and sexing up with little kids. Im sorry but it is gross.

get a life defan!! You dont know anything so shut it



Mr Benson

I have worked the front lines and seen all types of abuse first hand in the ER,nursing homes,and home health.Let me tell you when you direct verbal attacks on a child and her family in public like you and so many others have on Dakota thats public verbal abuse on a child.

I dont care what you think.I have read and followed this story for a week and "NO" Laws where broken.The people who seen the movie said its not even close to as bad as people think it is.Dakota seems fine with it.Her family and the social worker are ok with it.So whats your problem?.Here is the answer to the queston I asked you to answer in my last post:
"Narcissistic Personality Disorder"

Here is some reviews on your rape scene:

1.This scene has gotten a lot of attention, since the thought of it is pretty disturbing, yet it's not nearly as exploitative or gratuitous as it sounds. Wisely, Kempmeir doesn't show anything.

2.The scene that has led Fox News to retitle Hounddog the “Dakota Fanning ‘Rape’ Movie” is handled with discretion and taste and is doubtful to cause any real-world outrage beyond the usual cable news bloviation, at least among those who actually see the picture. This film’s problems aren’t moral — they’re aesthetic.

Check the reviews for yourself.There are several post and news stories saying now that the public uproar over this film has damaged dakota more than this film ever will.I dont know where you got your information but I would not go to that source again .Like I said those who attacked this film along with dakota and her family without seeing the film or having the facts need to get some help."I am not Kidding" get some help..


Tre why don't you tell TIM what Connie Jordan said on your show today? She said that the law in regard to sexual exploitation of minors DOES NOT apply to simulated acts depicting a minor acting in a sexual scene. She spoke to the crew members, minors, parents, and film makers and viewed the movie in NOVEMBER before Thanksgiving and determined at NO TIME WAS ANY NC LAW VIOLATED. There is also the question that I have continued to ask which has never been answered. Why didn't the crew members you claimed that walked off the set go to the proper authority to report that they witnessed sexual exploitation of minors as required by law. She admitted she didn't talk to them but you still have not told anyone who they are have you? Could it be they LIED because they were upset about the way they were treated?


That a scene missing? It should never have even been filmed! Ugh, I find it disturbing that it was even filmed in the first place.


I heard the show and i wonder if we heard the same one because what I heard was much different than what you say. But that's not why I am writing this.

My best friend took a guy home she barely knew 3 years ago and the guy who was a stranger beat her and raped her. After she got out of the house, she drove around a lot at first, then she told the police and they arrested the guy. He was drunk that night and she because she was sober she gave him a ride. Before court the DA's office allowed the guy to plea to an assault charge. He had probation. She still sees him at bars and even the grocery store. They told her it would be his word against hers and made it seem like everything else would be dismissed unless the plea was gone thru with. It was over in less than 30 minites. She told me that when she was little she told her mother that her uncle felt her up and made her touch him. The mother said she would talk with him and he won't do it again. They all eat Thanksgivng together and do other things as a family as if nothing ever happened. It was never brought up again.

This movie reminds me of my friend. Not the movie movie cause I haven't seen it but the movie mess, all the stuff about no one doing anything.

If a mother won't help her own daughter what makes anyone think the cops will.

Dakota's mother should have said no my daughter will not be used like that. But then so should a lot of other mothers. And to let people off all the time for doing shit like that is just not right.

I want to thank Mark and his brother for being that voice no one listens to or does anything about. Keep swinging cause one day you will knock one clean out of the ballpark!

Mark I know you don't remember me but you spoke at my high school and then when you ran for sheriff me and my step dad saw you at Riverfest and you gave me a tshirt that I still have. if I would have thought you would have had trouble winning then i would have worn that shirt everywhere and told people how good of a cop you were so you could have won.

I will send you an email with my step dads name and mine cause you know my step dad. I would put it on here but people might figure out who my friend is and thats not a good idea.

Listener number 22 or 23 I forget.

Steven Mark Pilling

Dear Tre:

What does it tell us when "Salon" (the internet equivalent of "Vanity Fair) hands out a review like this to a kind of movie that they'd normally adore? By the way, Bill Donohue, the president of the Catholic League and recently a frequent guest on TV talk shows, is making a personal appeal to Alberto Gonzales for action. Scene 39 is the sort of information he needs to pass along to make his case. Well before Mr. David launched his non-investigation of "Hounddog", I was of the opinion that only on a federal level were things liable to happen. Maybe the time has now come!

Also: Fox's Roger Friedman related that a publicist from one of Dakota's films, having met Joy Fanning, told him, "She's a real stage mother. The negociations go on and on!" Doesn't sound too complementary, huh? It's also completely at odds with the carefully crafted myth that The Kid cuts her own movie deals while Mommy Dearest waits outside in the lobby.

God knows, I never swallowed THAT one...any more than I did the attendant "12 going on 40" spiel. But in the wake of what I saw at Sundance- the rank posturing and the desperate use made of that child in blatantly rehearsed press conferences (Friedman and others noted that!)- I'm more convinced than ever that long-standing fairy tale had more sinister motives than mere publicity. Her handlers, including her own mother, were, in effect, using her like a human shield! They were dodging the bullets of their own stupidity and misdeeds by hiding behind a brainwashed little girl. I wonder how long it's really been that way on a smaller scale?

Now, having seen the naked faces of Deborah Kampmeier and Robin Wright Penn, heard their words and generally sized them up, it's apparent that the word "unprincipled" doesn't even begin to cover it. In fact, Kampmeier is one of the scariest females I've ever laid eyes on! If Lizzie Borden had gone to Jenny Craig, that's what she probably would have looked like afterwards!

Every time I see that publicity shot of those two with tiny, blank-eyed Dakota huddled between them, still wearing her cutsie sweater with the crucifix (!) prominent around her neck, with Kampmeier towering over her with that crooked, ugly and perpetual half-sneer, half-snarl on her face...

NOW I'm truely worried about that kid. They've exploited her sexually, spiritually and financially. In the process, they've defamed her personally and, in the wake of the Sundance disaster, very likely destroyed what was left of her career. And this was all done with the willing connivance of her own mother. What can Dakota expect now if she's no longer "bringing home the bacon"? Mommy the manager (and her likewise villainous agent) has to know that 10% of zero is zero.

If I was ever convinced that two children (Dakota and her sister Elle) need to be rescued from an unloving and even (God forbid!) perilous household, then I'm looking at it now. I've read of too many analogous situations that resulted in tragedy. A stretch? Maybe I'm still too sorrowful and disgusted from what I saw at Sundance, it's true. But it's evident from the course of this affair that Joy Fanning isn't a fit parent for a French poodle, much less two little girls... one of whom will become a multi-millionaire in five years.

To whom, I wonder, would that trust fund revert if something unpleasant should happen to it's owner prior to taking legal possession? Until now, I would never have dared to think along those lines. I'm no conspiracy buff. But Hollywood has set some disturbing precedents with parents of child stars. So has it been in other locales when big money was involved.

Dakota was quoted as expressing anger and dismay on the "attacks" made against her mother by critics. I can just imagine what she was told to get her to say that. Like any little girl, she loves her mother and probably couldn't conceive of her having anything less than loving intentions.

I can and do. After having given that woman every benefit of a doubt, I'm now squarely on the side of those selfsame critics. I should have listened earlier. I guess I just didn't want to think badly of a mother either!

Just some thoughts from the Dark Side!!Maybe, after six months on this case, I've just gotten too close to the problem. But it's in events like this, when evil, ambitious plans go drastically awry, that perpetrators do desperate things and tragedies occur. That's an ugly matter of fact. God grant there be no such repetition here!

Steven Mark Pilling

Dear Tim:

It doesn't matter if Dakota says she's "fine" with it. She's controlled, physically and mentally, by adults who ARE fine with it. What did you expect her to say? And if the social worker is okay with it, too, then it means less then nothing... because there wasn't one to begin with!

"Wisely", Kampmeier massively reworked the scene, as she doubtless prefers freedom to prison. And if you don't trust Fox News on cable, then watch "ShowBiz Tonight". They're on CNN (Communist News Network). Their hard-nosed approach to "Hounddog", so at odds with their traditional fluff, surprised the hell out of me. But pleasantly!

And yes, check those reviews. You really need to do that. Then you may start to comprehend the extent of the catastrophe that "Hounddog" suffered at Sundance.

And by the way, the film's problems aren't asthetic. They're moral. Like yours.

Steven Mark Pilling

Dear Deffie: Can't you even see what a terrible fool you're making out of yourself in your desperation to defend the indefensible? You're actually starting to embarass me! Please give it a rest. You too, "Me".

Dear Catch: It's too bad what Hollywood can do to a child actor's parents. But, like I've said, it's and old and very sad story.


"Can't you even see what a terrible fool you're making out of yourself"

IT IS YOU STEVE that is making a fool of yourself. Law enforcement officials in TWO states determined that no laws were broken. I'm really getting sick of your accusations that the local DA offices in New Hanover and Brunswick county didn't do their job by investigating this movie because that is a LIE. Both DAs interviewed the people who were on the set and determined that NO LAWS WERE BROKEN. It was a FULL investigation and they interviewed the people who were there. They didn't talk to the people the Bensens claim gave them all this information because they will not disclose who they are despite the law requiring these people to report to the proper authorities what they witnessed.

Bill Donohue, the president of the Catholic League is a JOKE and you know it. Google his name and look at EVERYTHING this guy has tried to petition, boycott, and get federal investigations on. He is a grandstanding publicity hound that will do anything to take attention away from the corruption and sexual deviants in the Catholic church. None of his boycotts have worked and none of his inquiries into legal action has resulted in anything. No one takes him serious but he gives the media lots of good sound bites just like Ted the wanna be reviewer. Not one of these groups has produced one shred of evidence of these film makers did anything illegal.

Tre Benson

"Both DAs interviewed the people who were on the set and determined that NO LAWS WERE BROKEN. It was a FULL investigation and they interviewed the people who were there. They didn't talk to the people the Bensens claim gave them all this information because they will not disclose who they are despite the law requiring these people to report to the proper authorities what they witnessed."

Nobody called to initiate an inquiry as to who it was I talked with regarding these allegations. It was only after the press release stating that everything was legit that I made a phone call and when I asked why I haven't been contacted the ADA then, and only then asked if I would disclose those names and I said I would have to ask.

I am 100% certain that even today, after all the media attention given to this story, that these people still do not think anything illegal took place. In their opinion the sexual exploitation of a minor involves an actual sex act between a nude minor and an adult. No one has stated that that ever took place.

I am not an attorney and have no right to educate witnesses as to what is and what is not against the law.

Since they do not think any law has been broken they are not required to report anything.

These are good people who just reported what they saw. They were concerned for the emotional well being of the children on set, particularly Dakota Fanning.

The investigation conducted by the District Attorney's Office using telephone interviews was after the November elections. Our official report of potential criminal harm committed against minor children was officially made in mid July. No one ever contacted us to even ask if we would name our sources until I spoke with Ms. Jordan nearly five months later regarding DA Ben David's press release about viewing "an uncut version" of the film and making a determination that no charges would be filed. The investigation by the DA was said to be complete.


"Never in feature films has a child been filmed directly with adult actors in graphic portrayals of sexual conduct."

"When you take children out in a field, surround them with a filming crew, have them strip naked and fondle each other (while another child holds a prop shotgun at them and drapes them with a snake!)... well, they're going to arrive at a few conclusions. They're also going to live with that degradation for the rest of their lives."

"I find the fact that Christoph Sanders is not in jail on mutiple felony indictments to be a pathetic reflection of the legal and moral abyss that this country has fallen into."

"However, the fact remains that Sanders was old enough to simulate sex on a fully lit and staffed movie set, for multiple takes and with violent abandon on the person of a twelve year old child."

This is just a sample of the 50,000+ post by Steve Mark Pilling who claims that this information came from deflecting crew members that you spoke to that proves these film makers sexually exploited these kids.

Are you telling me these crew members claim that minor kids were forced to strip nude in an open field and forced to act out a masturbation scene? That Christoph Sanders violently sexually assaulted Dakota Fanning on a fully lit set in front of an entire film crew? That these kids actually fondled each other in front of a film crew? That Dakota was in bed with David Morse while he was fully nude? That Christoph Sanders laid on top of her while she was partially nude acting like he was violently assaulting her?
That minor kids were in the presence of fully nude adult actors? That Cody and Dakota were involved in a fully sexual makeout scene in the shed while nude or partially nude? And that no one saw any of this except for the people you claimed walked and no one is willing to come forward?

The fact that these elements are in the script and part of the movie doesn't mean that it happened in real life. If in fact any of this is true then I would agree they sexually exploited the kids but I can't believe for one minute that these kids actually performed what is written in the script. It too easy to imply these things by showing bare shoulders, bare legs, and multiple scenes edited together. I also read on a blog site that the make out scene (scene 39) was in the movie and showed exactly what was in the script. The two kids removed their clothes and looked at each other (exploring their sexes). It didn't say anything in the script that they touch or masturbate each other. I don't know for sure because I haven't seen the movie but I have seen the scene referred to in a couple of the reviews but not like you described, just they strip and look at each other. Of course they didn't strip in real life.

What's the real issue here? Did the film makers force these kids to actually act out these scenes in real life as some have claimed (Steve) or that they are acting out these elements in a movie and you feel that it's just wrong to use kids to act out these type of scenes?

Steve has said a lot of things and claims to be getting his information from you and the deflecting crew members. Why hasn't anyone told any of this stuff to Connie Jordan?

Tre Benson

"That Christoph Sanders laid on top of her while she was partially nude acting like he was violently assaulting her?"


"I haven't seen the movie but I have seen the scene referred to in a couple of the reviews but not like you described, just they strip and look at each other"

They had to reshoot this scene. If it is in the movie it is in direct contradiction from the NY Daily News Film Critic and the 5th District Assistant District Attorney. But if this scene is in there then it may have been taken from the reshoot footage.

You know I have not seen the movie, nor have you. I have not read all the blog entries by Steve but 50,000? You sure there are that many? Never the less I may not be the only person in the world that has spoken to any of the crew members so information as to what some crew member said or didnt say is something that even I may not have any control over. Perhaps Steve, you, Aunt Bea may have talked with anyone on the crew list. All I know is what was told to me. The rape scene was disturbingly real and the make out session in scene 39 included a portrayal of mutual masturbation, i.e., fondling of the genitalia.

I just know what I'm told Bubba, when someone shows me the outtakes and video assist recordings then I might know different. But for now I'm living with what my friends told me how they saw the action on set.

Steven Mark Pilling

Dear "Me":

Back to the old hogwash and whitewash, I see. Full investigation? They acted long after the film's wrap- and only because of public pressure. Even the most dedicated D.A. would be daunted by the professional risks inherent in challenging the film community with all it's pervasive influence. The Wilmington one in particular. Wilmington, regrettably, is a safe-haven for over-the-edge filmation. That's a big reason why Full Moon Films went there. The other was the 15% rebate.

I see you're playing "attack the messenger" on Bill Donohue. You're also parrotting Deborah Kampmeier! During Dononhue's "ShowBiz Tonight" interview (22JAN07), she emailed the studio, quoting her own previous claptrap from her "Premiere" magazine interview plus the obligatory elitist attack on "pedophile priests".

By the way, it's physically impossible for me to have left 50,000 messages on the websites in the last six months! I only wish! Following what a detractor said, I Google Searched "dakota fanning steve" and found, to my initial surprise, many thousands of entries. It was a bit flattering and still is! However, it soon became apparent that a lot of those entries were repeats and many others the products of other "steves"... mainly Buscemi (actor) and Fanning (father). I am neither of them!


Someone posted that they read a gazillion post by Steve but I don't thing it was that many. 20-30k maybe. I may have exaggerated a bit.

South Carolina and Georgia as well as many other states also offer rebates. They could have gone to many other states but NC had a large experienced crew base.

If you listen the ADA comments from last Saturday she says that it was fully investigated. She spoke to everyone that was on the closed set, not every crew member but not every crew member was on the closed set. BTW this is required by SAG and they were not trying to hide anything. Nothing, nada, zip, not one person said they witnessed inappropriate touching which is required for it to be against the law. How was the DA suppose to take legal action? How was this going to go to trial? Not one witness to collaborate the claims of sexual exploitation, no evidence, just two guys that were not there with hearsay from people that will not name. Still to this day will not name. Don't say they are protecting their identity because if in fact these people dropped what they were doing and walked off the set everyone would know who they are. No evidence, no witnesses, nothing but speculation that there may be video evidence but not sure what is on it or where it is. The defense would put all three minors on the stand saying nothing happened, a long line of crew members saying nothing happened, adult actors saying nothing happened, a copy of the script saying the nudity and violence is implied, video from the movie showing no nudity, no touching, nothing illegal, a bunch of people from rape and incest groups saying they support the movie and the director, and testimony from the ADA from New Hanover County, DA from New Hanover County, DA from Brunswick County, and Sheriff of Brunswick county saying they found no evidence that a crime was committed. Who do think the jury would side with? The prosecution with no evidence or the defense with tons of evidence and witnesses that no laws were broken?

Just admit you and the media got played.

Tre Benson

YOU SAID: (there was no) inappropriate touching which is required for it to be against the law.

ADA Jordan was stumped on that one, remember my question to her about filming a child simulating masturbation?

Perhaps you have a link to that law you can provide?

Absolutely no touching, no nudity, no actual sex act need take place for it to be against the law...period. Basically if you see something and assume it is an explicit sex act with a child then it is against the law.

And while you are at it please provide me a copy of the law that excuses the sexual exploitation of minor children in films because it has artistic or educational value.


I have looked and looked and looked for websites that outline what can and can not be in a movie. There are no such websites. Basically it comes down to this: the movie can not violate pornography laws, be considered obscene, or violate community standards.

I'm not a legal expert but from what I have read and heard this is how "I believe" the law is being interpreted:

It is illegal to have a visual depiction such as a film if the viewer believes:

a) a child is engaged in an actual sexual act
b) a child is engaged in a simulated sexual act but the viewer is lead to believe it is a real act
c) an adult appears to be a child and the viewer believes or has reason to believe it is a child
d)It was filmed solely for sexual gratification of the viewer
d) It is advertised or promoted solely for sexual gratification of the viewer
e) It has no literary, educational, or artist merit

In the case of the child modeling sites there was no depicted sex or nudity but the pictures were taken solely for sexual gratification of the viewer and the websites were promoted solely for that purpose. There was absolutely no literary, educational, or artist merit and clearly could be considered obscene and violate community standards. No doubt they are against the law and every site should have already been shut down.

Now the movie:

a) No child is depicted in an actual sexual act and the viewer is not lead to believe that they will view an actual sexual act.

b) No child is depicted in sexual act that is simulated in such a way the the viewer has reason to believe it is an actual sexual act. Doesn't matter if they use special effects, CGI, or editing. In fact the viewer doesn't have reason to believe it's a real child being depicted, they are lead to believe it is a fictional character. Every viewer knows that what happens to a fictional character is not real. They are not really dead, not really having sex, not really driving through rush hour traffic at 100 mph, because the viewer knows it's fake.

c) A movie can not be released if it is considered pornographic, obscene, or violates community standards. At least not without some kind of legal action.

d)It was NOT filmed solely for sexual gratification of the viewer. These are elements of the storyline. A storyline that outlines what happens to the character set in the 1950's Alabama. A time when there was a lot of racial problems, Jim Crow laws, when people lived on dirt roads in back woods and kids were often abused. Before the internet when most people didn't have telephones, no organizations that deal with rape or abuse, and at a time when a child like Lewellen would have no one to go to for help. Her only option was to be taken away from her father and put into foster care or an orphanage. At the time there was no place to go for help.

d) It was NOT advertised or promoted solely for sexual gratification of the viewer. You people called it the "Dakota Fanning Rape Movie" not the film makers. They never once advertised, promoted, or spoke about the movie in a way so that the public would have reason to believe what they would see is a sexual movie that could be used for sexual gratification.

e) It DOES HAVE literary, educational, and artist merit. The movie teaches a lesson to parents how not to treat their kids, signs that something could be wrong, things to look out for in the child's behavior, lessons that need to be taught to a child that they should not willing be taken advantage of or used by other people, watch out for people that are older that offer you things in exchange for making you do things you know are not right, and that things have changed since the 1950's and now you have people you can turn to for help. It was also somewhat based on real events. The director claims this was part of her life experiences.

That being said I still have not seen one shred of evidence except your hearsay that anything even remotely considered to be sexually exploitive was filmed.

Steven Mark Pilling

All right, "Me"; let's take it from the top.

1b. "child engaged in a simulated sex act": It was all over the place! Child sex was what the film was all about and has always been about. Read the reviews! Read the script!!

1d. "filmed for sexual gratification": And you honestly think that wasn't a factor that they counted on?! Good God! The problem, as always in cases like this, is proving it legally. Intent is never easy.

1e. "It has no literary, educational or artistic merit": Or, as we said back in the "old days", No Redeeming Social Value! Of course the sex and violence against children had no redeeming qualities. It can't have by definition. That it was also gratuitous is a minor point in comparison to it's inherent immorality. Only a truely committed elitist would think otherwise.

2a. Who said it was? Irrelevant!

2b. It does matter. The fact that the sex and violence was faked is a given... jerk! It was a movie! It's ALSO irrelevant. What happened in the process of filming is not. And Dakota, Cody and Isabelle ARE children. Highly relevant!

2c. That's not so easy to do, thanks to the Supreme Court. It also requires a diligent and motivated local authority. Have you seen any dearth of porn in your home town?... or in any big city in America? Just try and stop it. I only wish we could!

2d. No one said it was SOLELY for sexual gratification... although who can doubt that it was a major factor? And motivation! Full Moon Films' and Kampmeier's previous works prove it. I also see that you've swallowed up that anti-Southern spiel from that cliched diatribe of yours. Whatever you want to believe! Nor was it any of us who called it "The Dakota Fanning Rape Project", accurate though it is. A reviewer dubbed it that.

2e. Here comes the mandatory "it'll raise awareness" blather. AGAIN: Depravity does not cure depravity. It never has. There is no merit to be found in the sexual degradation and traumatization of children on a film set. There can be no moral basis for the sexual exploitation of a child. Ever. To deny that there was such here is indicative of either rampant intellectual dishonesty or a complete disconnect with reality. Even the final "sanitized" version of "Hounddog" proves there was.

Why do you think all those financial backers dropped out of the project time and again... even in the middle of the filming? Why did the filmmakers go underground for months when their movie was unexpectedly outed? Why was it so soundly rejected by reviewers, moviegoers and distributors alike? Don't try to hand me that gibberish..."Me". All you're doing is making a fool out of yourself and expunging what little's left of your credibility.

Steven Mark Pilling

Dear "Booboo": Your remarks are well taken. Certainly, they are better taken than those of "some" others, for they were based in reason and common decency.


"All you're doing is making a fool out of yourself and expunging what little's left of your credibility."

My credibility? Steve you have NOT ONCE provided one shred of evidence to support any of your claims. Again with this statement that the film maker went under ground. Were you aware there was a bomb threat the day the movie first screened. The cops had to clear the theater and use bomb sniffing dogs to check everyone and their bags. Were you aware that the director has been getting death threats from wackos like you? The Fannings have been getting hate mail from people like you. It is highly understandable why they removed their websites and try to make themselves hard to find. Not because they were trying to dodge legal action but because they were trying to dodge a bullet from some over zealous whacko like you.


Let me give you an example. There are three women who have inspired me to tell their story. Deborah Kampmeier, Raye Dowell and Jen Gatien have extraordinary courage. At least one of them experienced rape as a child. It is not something she talks about, it was a very personal experience that she chose to use to help stop further abuse. It took these women ten years to get this film made. Imagine the difficulties of trying to get something done for 10 years!

Even when they were on the set, the troubles didn't end. They had to stop shooting and start shooting again. The money never came in enough to where they could settle in and finish the project. It came in drabs, just enough to finish another week of shooting. In the midst of shooting, a disgruntled member of the team, decides he wants sole producer credit. Angry, he leaks a story to the press about this "very graphic sexual scene" in the movie. The news source (they know who they are) tells the story. No fact checking. The news source wanted a titillating story. They got it. The Circus begins.

After the film shooting was complete, the editing process began. At this time the Wilmington, North Carolina district attorney, Ben David was getting 10-20 calls a day to prosecute the director and stop the film. The team got so frustrated that they actually took the film to the District Attorney office for him to watch. Not only did they determine that there was no wrongdoing, but he thanked them for making the film, "Hounddog". Mr. David felt that it was a subject that needed to be addressed. He also mentioned a recent front page story about a young girl raped and impregnated by her father. He did not get a single call about that real story. Not one.

So here you stand, finally at The Sundance Film Festival, premiering your movie. For most of us this moment would be the pinnacle of achievement in the independent film world. A chance for these women to celebrate the culmination of all their combined efforts.

Ooops, can't really celebrate because they were too busy fielding death threats. They received death threats from people who could not possibly have seen the film. They had to hire body guards. In your audience is State Attorney General from Utah, Mark Shurtleff.

Incidentally so is the FBI. Dakota Fanning is there with her father. Her mother can't be there, because she has been so attacked by the media she is in bed, too sick to come to her daughter's premiere.


I'm not even going to argue your talking points this time because it's pointless.

1) THE MOVIE IS LEGAL TO DISPLAY, DISTRIBUTE, VIEW, TRANSPORT, and OWN and nothing you do will ever change that.


3) You can make up all the rumors, speculation, theories, and lies all you want because no one is buying it and no one cares.

4) The American people have moved on and this is no longer on the radar screen. All that effort you put into this and still nothing was achieved.

5) Get a life man, get over it, no one walked off the set, no kids were nude, no kids acted out sex scenes, no laws were broken, no legal action will be taken, and it's a done deal that can't be changed. You can't go back in time and make things better.

Tre Benson

"Get a life man, get over it, no one walked off the set, no kids were nude, no kids acted out sex scenes, no laws were broken, no legal action will be taken, and it's a done deal that can't be changed. You can't go back in time and make things better."

Posted by: Me

I know for a fact that 3 people walked off the set. One of the three is a close personal friend of mine. All left because if was extremely uncomfortable for them to stay because of what was being filmed and how it looked when Wooden's Boy was raping Lewellen.

And I know for a fact that Scene 39 portrayed Lewellen and Buddy acting out a sexual scenario involving mutual masturbation.

The District Attorney's office assured me that if I was to bring them evidence that a crime took place then they would open the case back up. However I am not a law enforcement officer, it is not my duty to carry out criminal investigations and I am certainly do not have the power to issue a search warrant which will be required to gain access to all footage, script notes and video.

But there is no statute of limitations on Felonies and I have already been contacted by a representative of one of the other children's parents and suspect that since the District Attorney's Office never spoke with any of the other victims or their parents, there could be more contact being done down the way very soon. Especially now that this movie tanked and their child is not going to have the fame they were promised.

It is a long way from being over. It is just a matter of time that's all.


"I know for a fact that 3 people walked off the set."

Since it was a closed set with only about six or seven people then you are saying that half of the crew walked off the set. I think the director and producers would notice half of the crew walking off the set. I think you are saying that three crew members not directly involved with the filming left the location. Got in their cars and drove away from Orton Plantation and I'm willing to bet no one noticed they were even gone. Crew members come and go all day long.

Tre Benson

I've been in the film business for over 14 years. I've been on many closed sets. The term "closed set" has about as many meanings as orgy does. Most of the time "closed set" means anyone not working needs to go. And in intimate situations were a sex scene or a nude scene takes place the action might be curtained off from the rest of the crew and talent.

I'll have to go back and look at the call sheet but let's just say 50 people are being fed, 20 of those crew members may never be on a hot set because they are prepping or wrapping other sets. But in this rape scene there are many workers on set. You have lightning strikes, rain gags, special effects, props, set dressers, camera, assistant camera, still photographer, wardrobe, makeup, their assistants maybe, on set PA, or two, assistant camera, loader, key grip, dolly grip, riggers, gaffer, Best Boy, electricians, second AD, the list goes on. Plus you have a monitor or two elsewhere linked up to video assist for those that physically cannot fit onto the set but they can watch the action from the set.

Unless there has been some monumental changes in set needs "closed set" has no specific meaning to me at all, and wouldn't for any other film professional either. To me it just further incriminates the production. Why have a closed set if there is nothing sexual or sensitive in nature? It doesn't excuse anything.


It is absolutely anyone's guess what too place. But I tell you what. Something is definately fishy to me when it takes 5 months to investigate by telephone serious charges of abusing minors.

The entire country was talking about it and the DA waited until the movie was finished to take a look at it.

If it wasn't for all the attention that you guy smade who knows what kind of movie this woman would make next. My guess is it would make Hounddog look like a Disney movie!


"Why have a closed set if there is nothing sexual or sensitive in nature?"

Because a 12 year old girl was wearing a body suit? I don't think there were 30 people crammed into this little shed or even crowded around the outside watching the action. I would expect about a half dozen people were inside the shed directly involved in the shooting. Prop guy, set dressers, key grip, dolly grip, riggers, gaffer, still photographer, wardrobe, makeup, their assistants, Best Boy, electricians, second AD, the list goes on would not need to be present during the actual filming. I'm sure her mother specified that only certain people would be present and everyone else had to leave.

If so many people were there then it would be a well known fact exactly what happened. You wouldn't have been told she was nude because everyone close to the action would know she was wearing a bodysuit. Every person would know if the boy was on top of her during the filming. They would know if she was being groped, pawed, and humped. So why are so many saying it didn't happen?

It just doesn't add up. Again, again, and again investors tell the director that rape scene will kill the movie commercially. It will be too hard to market. Despite what everyone was told, despite what was in the script, she just decided at the last minute to change everything and make it more sexual and violent and no one said anything, just watched and did as they were told? Afterwards none of them was willing to come forward and speak the investigators? Let's not forget THEY the film makers contacted the DAs office and asked them to view the film, interview the actors and crew members, and prove to everyone no laws were broken. If they were hiding anything why didn't they just keep their mouths shut, edit out the scenes and out like nothing happened? It was clear there wasn't an active investigation. They have been straight forward offering multiple interviews to media sources, answering questions, and denying the rumors every chance they get. Why haven't these crew members been straight forward and unwilling to be interviewed or answer questions? Why didn't they go directly to the DA and tell what they saw and why are you unwilling to tell the DA who they are if they have eyewitness accounts of what happened?

Tre Benson

"If so many people were there then it would be a well known fact exactly what happened. You wouldn't have been told she was nude because everyone close to the action would know she was wearing a bodysuit. Every person would know if the boy was on top of her during the filming. They would know if she was being groped, pawed, and humped. So why are so many saying it didn't happen?"

This is exactly what happened ahem... they said it did happen. What they do not know is that what they saw is against the law. I've gone over this before so don't make me do it again. The crew does not know the law, the director does not know the law, the AD does not know the law, the set tutor does not know the law, even Connie Jordan is confused about the law. Most people think there must be nudity and touching. Dakota looked nude and looked to be being raped.

Production went into hiding during the initial outcry. It was only when the edited version of the film was presented to the DA that they became available. That was nearly 5 months after the fact.

Keep your spin for those Dakota fans on IMDB it's beginning to piss me off here.

Hey I'm curious about something, why would you suppose the scene was shot on location and not on a stage? It was a built set. I thought you were plugged in with someone on the crew? I also thought you sort of had a knowledge about how movies were made. Don't tell me I've given you too much credit for your skills when all this time you've been pulling crap out of your butt.

You might need a vacation, this is all too much wasted time for someone who should be out looking for work.

Steven Mark Pilling

Dear "Me":

Obviously, your ideas of "evidence", unrealistic as they are, and mine are in considerable variance. I've encountered this argument before and I answer it thusly: This is not a court of law and I am not a lawyer. I'm not here to present a legal brief. I follow the evidence to establish chains of events and evaluate them as dispassionately as possible (categories: probable, possible and improbable) to obtain an idea of where the truth lies. Ideally, this picture expands in detail and accuracy over time... and I've been at it for six months.

As in all worthy investigative procedures, one must approach the problem as free as possible from preconceived notions. In fact, if I had any to begin with, it was my heartfelt hope that this story, as first presented on July 20th, WASN'T true. My only agenda, if you can call it that, is my natural wish to protect children from harm. This is my sole motivation for pursuing this case... and a worthy one. I do, indeed, "have a life". You might well re-examine yours. As for the rest, you can accept or reject my conclusions as you see fit.

As I see it, your objections stem not from any true rejection of my case pertaining to any facts. Rather, it is one of philosophy. You're a progressive (aka: liberal) and therefore don't believe in the traditionalist (i.e. "conservative") attitude toward children and family values. I do. I believe that a moral adult has no higher calling than the protection, nurturement and moral guidance of children. You do not. And, like most of your peers, you're prepared to use any argument or statement, repeatedly and however intellectually corrupt, to further your cause. I reject this concept profoundly. Therefore, we will never see eye to eye.

I've come to observe one new factor in your tactics. You and yours have taken to using pathos (ironically!) as a weapon by essentially blaming the anti-Hounddog movement for bomb threats and alleged death threats. "Me": Christian people don't do such things. People motivated by their care for children do not endanger them by yelling "fire" in a public building. And, if the Fannings are getting "hate mail", then they aren't getting anything that any other celebrity hasn't. Besides, the liberal definition of "hate" usually amounts to any statement that expresses an anti-liberal sentiment.

If you want to find the perpetrators of true crimes of this nature (which you likely don't), then I suggest you look in the "punk" category. These are the people who delight in the distress and downfall of others, regardless of justice or reason. They are not us by any means. They're also ones who tend to vote your way. If you actually want to find these odious creatures, I suggest you look in your own backyard.

By the way, I've read the "Huffington" article already. It was an ambitious diatribe full of factual inaccuracies and moral ambiguities that well typlifies their ambient mindset. If you can take it at face value- virtually any of it- and then quote it here as being worthy of note... then I can't help you.

And, to be frank, if Mother Fanning DID stay away from Sundance because of nervous prosratation, then I can only say this: She brought it on herself.When she made a pact with evil- when she consented to the sexual exploitation and desecration of her little daughter's heart and soul- she committed one of the foulest crimes a mother can perpetrate. I'm afraid that any sympathy for this woman is entirely misplaced. Maybe- if this woman has any soul left- the underlying cause of her "sickness" was a guilty conscience. All you can do is pray for her.

One last. If you think that we're going to drop this issue; get over it. It can't undo the terrible wrongs that were committed on the set of "Hounddog". I can, however- with diligence- see to it that those who attempt to profit by such despicable means (now, with "Hounddog", or with other such efforts that WILL follow it) will not go unchallenged.

For me, "Hounddog" was a wake-up call to the immoral and physically dangerous environment that children now find themselves in; one so graphically different from that in which I was raised. As with many, I long insulated myself from the depraved popular culture and it's ultimate propogator; Hollywood. No longer. I've gotten my life, "Me". I've taken up the most important calling of all. My own personal shame is that I did this so belatedly.

Steven Mark Pilling

Dear Tre:

I used to think I was wasting too much time in countering the endless, disingenuous repetitions from "Me" and others. Instead, I find they serve a purpose. They expose their own moral failings to other readers and, in the process, strengthen the resolve of good people.

You previously mentioned something that needs to be remembered. Dakota was not the only child actor on that set nor was she the only one of them at Sundance. Cody Hanford was also there to "share the spotlight". What does that say of HIS agent and parents?

Isabelle Fuhrman, however, was nowhere to be seen. If it's she and her adult supervisors who are contemplating coming forward, then the trend of future events becomes ever more intriguing! I had considered trying to contact the agents of those other, largely forgotten children. After all, they were exploited, too. I never found the time. Let's see what happens!

P.S. You mentioned the message boards on IMDB. I used to go there, but haven't now for more than a month. Again, no time. Although I had registered to post there under my own name, somehow my remarks came to be posted under my old email name: Geneos. I wonder if that "Dakotanator" guy misses me?!


"blaming the anti-Hounddog movement for bomb threats and alleged death threats. "Me": Christian people don't do such things."

ARE YOU JOKING? Just like they don't bomb abortion clinics? I suggest you rent the movie "Jesus Camp" starring none other than Ted Haggard. This is a prime example of where the religious movement is heading. It's nothing more than a modern day Hitler youth camp. Hitler thought of himself as religious also and wanted to rid the world of the christ killers.

I don't consider myself a part of any political party, religious affiliation, or part of any kind of movement. A lot of the information is the same stuff you guys have been reading but the only difference is you discredit anyone with opposing views and choose to believe only the stuff that suits your needs.

I've seen thousands of movies and tv shows that have the same, similar, or even worse stuff than what is in Hounddog. Where were you when these movies were released. Why all the focus on just this one movie? Where was your concern about REAL kids being abused, molested, and raped? Why are you not outraged at the churches, not just the catholic churches but all of them that have allowed members to abuse real kids? The problem is across the board in every denomination and not just the leaders but it includes Sunday school teachers, bus drivers, counselors, coaches, mentors, ect. The most sexual deviant people I've ever met were also the most religious people I ever met. I personally hate hypocrites that claim to be morally superior to everyone else while hiding skeletons in their own closets.

The vast majority of the people attacking the movie, actors, parents, director, and film makers have been the morally superior religious types. This is evident by the large number of religious based blog sites. I understand it and expect this to be the case but the stuff these people are saying, the rumors, the lies, and the personal attacks just shows their true nature. These people just want to feel superior and think they are better because they stood up to a movie they didn't agree with. These are the same people sending bomb threats, death threats, saying they are going to throw eggs at anyone that goes to see the movie, they will boycott the film, what ever. They were saying this before anyone saw the first frame of the movie.

I've been sitting on the sidelines waiting for the overwhelming evidence that proves they did something wrong but all I see is rumors and speculation based on nothing. Claims that they are in hiding, claims they destroyed evidence, claims they removed their websites, changed the movie's name to distance themselves, blah blah blah. When they do talk it's just a PR campaign, talking points, blah blah blah, if they don't talk they are hiding something, trying to avoid attention, blah blah blah. They are damned if they do and damned if they don't.

This is what I know:

Most of the crew members supported the movie. I have a great deal of respect for Ron Hewitt because Tre knows he is a ass kicker but he didn't seem too concerned. Heard great things about Rex Gore and he didn't find anything. Ben David looked into the matter and didn't find anything. Connie Jordan looked into the matter, watched the movie, interviewed people involved and didn't find anything. The NC SBI was alerted and I'm sure they looked into the matter and didn't find anything. The FBI was alerted and looked into that matter and didn't find anything. Utah Attorney General Mark Shurtleff watched the movie and said the finished product didn't violate any laws.

Almost ALL of these people said that the movie was good message for people on the subject of child abuse. Numerous organizations like RAINN, First Star, Carousel Center, and others have supported the movie. I read numerous reviews of the movie saying that it does bring awareness or at least will get people talking about abuse. The film makers, Dakota, Robin, and the director have been very up front in numerous interviews releasing tons of information about how the movie was financed, how it was shot, and how they are been attacked by so many who have never watched a single frame of the film and have no idea of what they are talking about.

On the flip side of the debate is Steve who comes up with a new theory everyday without providing any evidence other than speculation, angryelvis on IMDB who is nothing but a troll and I'm sure somehow connected with blue line, Ted Bearhl who gets paid to promote "christian" movies that bomb at the theaters, Bill Donohue who is nothing but a publicity hound that boycotts everything, Lloyd Groves a gossip columnist, Sean Hannity who was looking to pump up his ratings, and a small town radio show. I give Paul Petersen a little respect because this is what he does but he also didn't get his facts straight. Oh and Regis said he didn't agree with the movie. Who else you got? What else you got?

Remember Michael Jackson? They had the man on a nationally televised show saying he sleeps with little boys. Had dozens of people testify that the boy was seen in bed with him. Blood test showing alcohol in the boy's system. Past victims that were paid millions to keep their mouth shut. His own employees testified against him and the boy's family. Tons of evidence and he still walked. You really expect to take down a movie production with just rumors and statements from people unwilling to come forward? Get real.

"Keep your spin for those Dakota fans on IMDB it's beginning to piss me off here"

Am I making you mad? I'm having way too much fun poking holes in your statements. Hell you guys are my daily entertainment.

Tre Benson

A few things, you do have my respect for your dogged protection of this movie because I believe your fight is bigger than just this one movie. I can relate because when the Last Temptation of Christ came out I was one of the first people in the Country to buy a ticket. Back then I was a huge film nut and was pumped full of zeal to defend the movie. I walked thru picketers, people actually spit on me, I was searched when I entered the theater. Me and about 6 other people were in the theater, up front was a line of maybe about 4-6 Raleigh Police Officers facing away from the screen the entire time the movie played? When the movie was over and the doors opened to the late afternoon sun, I was faced with 4 TV cameras and reporters, and a barricaded group of 100 or more shouting "Christians." What was funny was that the message compelled me to read the Bible and understand more about Christ. Funny huh?

The reason I don't get involved with posting on other blogsites is that I see the same arguments going around and around whether it be about the war in Iraq or Hounddog. Most of the bandwidth is catered to one poster taunting another.

I've said a hundred times all I wanted to do was report what I heard and I did that, that's it. That was my entire agenda. The rest of it has been in response to the lies and innuendoes spread about me, Marc and the Blue Line. Push get pushed back, maybe more.

One thing that particularly disturbs me is when someone says "Why don't you care about other kids, the real kids being raped?" I guess that is the thing that most ticks me off because my education background is predicated on the basis that I was going to work with children. I ran for City Council and my platform was children. I personally have dealt with on a clinical and heart charged basis 16 different child sex rape victims. I have heard the stories out of children as young as 4 that make Lewellen's abuse look like a walk in the park. Our radio show has done our fair share on bringing awareness to child abuse. One of our first child victims we worked with was the murdered 7 year old Kayla Allen. Google our connection with that case and you will learn about half of all we have done. The case Connie Jordan brought up was a case we had plastered on our website for months, we receive emails from friends and acquaintances of the family that we passed along to the authorities. The Newells were our Hounddog for nearly 2 months. So don't say we don't do anything because it just isn't true, in fact I honestly don't personally know of anyone, not on a payroll, that has done more for victimized children than I have done over the past 30 years.

Lastly Angry Elvis is not connected to the Blue Line, in fact he is one of only 3 others with the distinction of being banned from ever posting here again. I'm surprised you missed that little happening.

Enough of the defense. I get it. I understand your points but I don't agree because of what I know to be true. But honestly if this is so much fun for you don't blow it and become number 4 on my shit list.

Thanks for playing.


I really didn't intend that comment towards you in regards to not doing anything about real abuse. That was more in general to all the people that jumped on the attack bandwagon. I had no idea there were child modeling sites until I saw it on this site and can't agree more that something should have been done a long time ago. Clearly you care and if I was in the same position and heard the same stories I would have probably did the same thing. I just don't believe it was a bad as reported and it really comes down to just a moral issue. Maybe if I spoke to these crew members and heard first hand accounts I would feel different about this whole thing.

In the last few days I have gotten several google alerts attacking Phil Berger's plan to change the incentive bill because it would amount to censorship of movies. Who decides what can and can not be in a movie? The government? Religious groups? The moral police? Steve Pilling? Bill Donohue? I think the people should decide. They make their decision heard when they pluck down their eight dollars at the theater.

We all know the movie is a joke. What did anyone expect from a low budget film maker who has only made two movies? I also watched her first movie and unlike Steve I got the movie. It wasn't about sexual depravity and promoting rape. The movie had a message and a lesson to be learned but fell short at the end because she ran out of money and couldn't complete the movie as intended. Yeah it's artsy fartsy chick flicks and not everyone will agree with movies like this but that doesn't mean they shouldn't be made.

Your right this is about more than just a movie. I see a cultural war coming and the morally right are trying to control books, movies, music, video games, the internet, free speech, free expression, and anyone with an opposing view. Watch the movie "Jesus Camp" and you will know what I'm talking about. If we did away with all movies like this, got rid of all pornography, burned every sexually explicit book, and destroyed everything that might influence a pedophile there would still be kids getting abused. Nothing would stop that because it's human nature. It's been like this for thousands of years.

Steven Mark Pilling

No, "Me", I'm not joking! Bombers and hucksters like Ted Haggard are universally condemned by Christians for their actions. And to call Hitler a Christian only reveals the extent of your self-inflicted degradation. I might remind you that Hitler once said, " One can be a German or a Christian. You cannot be both." Your diatribe here can only be considered as grotesque.

Nor am I surprised to see you resort to the old "pedophile priests" outcry. That was just what Deborah Kampmeier said when attacking Bill Donohue, her having nothing viable to say in her defense! As I said above, perverts who hide behind the Cross to commit their unspeakable crimes are the lowest of creatures. They are NOT Christians. If you think that we, in any conceivable way, condone such things, then you only reveal the depths of your own prejudice.

And how does any of this justify child sexual exploitation? This is not the only threat to children, as good people are only too well aware. It is, however, one that has been neglected and underrated for too long. Again; "Hounddog" was our wake-up call. Like Kampmeier, you deliberately seek to divert attention from the central issue. The hypocrite, sir, is you.

And now you seek to classify us with those who are said to have made threats against those decadent moviemakers. They are not us, "Me". Long ago, I warned you about the new, emerging "fan base" for Dakota. Progressives, punks and perverts; the "P3". Look for your perpetrators there, "Me". Look for them among those who have no sense of morality and therefore no moral qualms about saying such things. Look for those who have no God. You're liable to find them in your own backyard.

The rest of your commentary is the same hysterical drivel that you've repeated over and over... and that I've refuted over and over. Everytime I read these kinds of arrogant, dishonest, amoral and anti-Christian-pro-degeneracy ravings from you and others, I'm reminded of how important this work and this issue are. You keep me motivated, "Me". Thanks for being there to define the nature of the enemy.


Steve you can sugar coat it all you want but the truth is the truth:

Hitler wrote: "I believe that I am acting in accordance with the will of the Almighty Creator: by defending myself against the Jew, I am fighting for the work of the Lord.." As a boy, Hitler attended to the Catholic church and experienced the anti-Semitic attitude of his culture. In his book, Mein Kampf, Hitler reveals himself as a fanatical believer in God and country. This text presents selected quotes from the infamous anti-Semite himself.

My feelings as a Christian points me to my Lord and Savior as a fighter. It points me to the man who once in loneliness, surrounded only by a few followers, recognized these Jews for what they were and summoned men to fight against them and who, God's truth! was greatest not as a sufferer but as a fighter. In boundless love as a Christian and as a man I read through the passage which tells us how the Lord at last rose in His might and seized the scourge to drive out of the Temple the brood of vipers and adders. How terrific was His fight for the world against the Jewish poison. To-day, after two thousand years, with deepest emotion I recognize more profoundly than ever before in the fact that it was for this that He had to shed His blood upon the Cross. As a Christian I have no duty to allow myself to be cheated, but I have the duty to be a fighter for truth and justice.... And if there is anything which could demonstrate that we are acting rightly it is the distress that daily grows. For as a Christian I have also a duty to my own people.... When I go out in the morning and see these men standing in their queues and look into their pinched faces, then I believe I would be no Christian, but a very devil if I felt no pity for them, if I did not, as did our Lord two thousand years ago, turn against those by whom to-day this poor people is plundered and exploited.

-Adolf Hitler, in his speech in Munich on 12 April 1922

“If someone tells me that there’s a statue of Martin Luther King with an erection receiving oral sex, I don’t need to see it.”

"Well, look, there are people in Hollywood, not all of them, but there are some people who are nothing more than harlots. They will do anything for the buck. They wouldn't care. If you asked them to sodomize their own mother in a movie, they would do so, and they would do it with a smile on their face."

-William Donohue Catholic League

Steven Mark Pilling

Dear "Me":

If you had undertook a more than cursory study of Germany between the wars, you would understand why Hitler said that. Politics, "Me"! Deceptive, amoral politics and right out of the Clintons' handbook... except he did it first!

Hitler was not a dictator in 1922, but the head of a tiny, vocal socialist movement in the chaos of post-World War I Bavaria. The Nazis were desperate to increase their membership amid much competition... including the communists. Bavaria was a deeply religious and heavily Catholic state. To have come out openly as anti-Christian would have tolled the death-knell for the fledgling Nazi Party.

So, like other such political creatures before him (and since!) he "took up the Cross" to attract the populace. He was not alone in this. Even the communists tried it- to the point of renaming themselves "Spartacists"- to escape the atheist label.

What's amazing to me, "Me", is that now, after so many years and so much hindsight, you would still quote the speeches of Adolf Hitler and accept it all at face value. Only rarely did he divert from his script and divulge his true beliefs... not even in "Mein Kampf". I quoted one where he did. Liberals are so non-discerning!

Additionally; not only did a very young Hitler toy with the idea of the priesthood (Mommy Dearest wanted him to and Adolf blindly loved his mother... like Dakota!!), but the same was true for that other (and even worse!) atheist dictator, Josef Stalin.

By the way, I agree with Mr. Donohue's sentiments. He only told the very blunt truth. Would you like to see such a statue of Dr. King displayed... in the name of "artistic expression"? Do you similarly enjoy seeing little girls sexually defamed on a set or a screen for a filmmaker's profit? What's the difference... except that the latter is worse? Do you think that Dr. King himself would disagree? He was a Christian minister himself!

And to call such pandering producers "harlots" is to vastly understate their shortcomings.


You guys kill me going over and over all this.

Dakota was pimped into a role that shamed her and her mom. But no one faults them if the agent is replaced.

The director gets a new truck.

All the investors get screwed.

Everyone forgets about it by the end of the American Idol season.

Then what you guys going to fight about?

Steven Mark Pilling

I think you miss the big picture here, Lurker. This is not about some shallow Hollywood gossip, E! Network style. This is about a growing threat to American kids which reached a milestone with the making of the "Hounddog" movie.

Did you hear about the enormous child porn ring that was recently broken up? The one that spanned almost eighty countries on the internet? That sort of thing is expanding... and not just in cyberspace. Slowly, in increments, and over a period of several decades, the sexualization of children in the popular culture has increased.

The prime focus must always be on what was done with and to children in the making of films, photos, etc. and what the emotional and developmental impact will be on the children who, in our expanded electronic age, will invariably see them.

This is what makes "Hounddog" such a threat. What was done on that set sexually exploited those children and will expose them to derision, emotional problems and, likely enough, physical danger from stalkers. That the prime character was also the most loved child actress in the country makes the film a threat to the moral and physical health of the children who will want to see it just because she's in it. The "moral" part is obvious. The "physical" threat comes from the deviants who will see it too and be "inspired" by it.

This is not a matter of blind moralization. This is a matter of history. It's a matter of what you personally hold dear and what you're prepared to do when a real and apparent threat arises. This is an important part of the fight to protect children.

Steven Mark Pilling

In response to "Me's" reference to the Utah State Attorney General and his "review" of "Hounddog" at the Sundance Film Festival, let me share with you the letter I sent him dated February 2nd.

The Attorney General's Office
State Of Utah
The Honorable Mark Shurtleff


I read with utter dismay the short UPI article dated January 26th. Having extensively covered and researched the question of "Hounddog" and having come to understand what it portends for American children, I suppose I thought that the top legal authority of the State of Utah would see it, too.

I fully understand that it is beyond the purview of your office to consider the events and circumstances that occured in the film's actual making. That was the responsibility of North Carolina Attorney General Roy Cooper. He failed to move for political reasons- ones based on the state's economic outlook toward local filmation- and ignored the abundant reasons, both legal and moral, to launch an investigation.

I can confidently state the facts as this: For the first time in the history of American feature films, children were used DIRECTLY with adult actors (and even with each other!) in violent sexual enactments. No other film, not even "Taxi Driver" or "Pretty Baby", has ever gone that far. Indeed, in doing this, the filmmakers, in essence, crossed the line into territory where only rank pornography has gone before.

I have read the opinions and observations of the best of the reviewers at Sundance. I have also long since read the original screenplay; a document provided to a Wilmington radio commentator by technicians from the set. Because they trusted him with their anonymity, they likewise provided a story that can only be described as horrifying. Therefore, even after multiple edits and reworkings of the film (at least three, the last being just prior to the festival's opening) it's unsurprising that the "finished product", while it may be interpreted as being barely legal, is also revolting. You can only do so much with the raw footage from a film that is based solely on child sex and degeneracy.

If you had merely said that, while the film was darksome and a threat to the moral and physical safety of children (which it is!), but that you regrettably couldn't act on it in it's present form... that I could have understood, disappointed though I would have been. But when you made the stunning statement that, "As long as we keep it taboo, victims won't report it and perpetrators won't be prosecuted.", I realized that there was more than just a legal opinion being expressed.

Sir: What you have done here is to parrott a well-established and utterly deceptive Hollywood line and give it credibility. For the past third of a century, one of the staple excuses given for cinematic excess has been "It'll raise awareness". I can't even count how many times self-appointed elitists have come online and used that same phrase to uphold the immoral precepts of "Hounddog".

So; I'll tell you the simple and evident truth that I've constantly told those others: Depravity does not cure depravity. If it did, we'd be living in Utopia long since. Depravity- unchecked- only leads to more and greater depravity.

And now, after decades of the slow, incremental advance of what we call the "sexualization" of children, we have now arrived here. "Hounddog" represents more than just the latest outrage along these lines. It is, in reality, the first attempt to breach that final barrier to legitimizing child sex in the mainstream culture.

Mr. Attorney General: The real taboo (and one of the worthiest) is that which forbids adults from utilizing children in such a manner as to exploit them financially and corrupt them in their impressionable time of early life. This not only applies to increasingly abused child actors. It extends, through them, to every child in America. That the primary child actor used in "Hounddog" was likewise the most celebrated of her peers only deepens the concerns of many parents, child advocates and good Christian people in general.

To graphically depict the most loved child actress of our time as a drinking, smoking, cursing, exotic dancing, murdering and incredibly promiscuous nine year old will do no one any good but the filmmakers. If a film is made cheaply enough and filthy enough, it will eventually show a profit. Porn sells. It will here; even if only in the DVD racks of cheap convenience stores and "news stands" across the country... to where "Hounddog" seems destined. The only awareness it will raise will be with the punks (who will exult in the moral downfall of a once-loved child) and the perverts (for obvious reasons).

Here, sir, are your perpetrators. "Hounddog" has not led to their prosecution and now likely never will. The report was made and the threatening danger to children was brought to your attention. You did more than just ignore it or shrug it off. By your words and deeds, you have abetted it. And more; you have advanced the cause of children as sex objects in the culture. We might have expected better from you... and we should have gotten it.

Steven Mark Pilling

Dear Tre:

Several interesting developments have occured in the "Hounddog" story.

1. It turns out that, just after Sundance closed, the movie was featured for two showings at the Santa Barbara Film Festival. Nothing else was mentioned, so I presume it was received there in much the same manner as before... and with no distributor.

2. The Motion Picture Group president Scott Franklin issued a statement on February 6th. After cutting through the Hollywood-style wordsmithing, it comes down to this: Another major re-edit is underway. They're giving themselves a few months (for the heat to die down!) and try once again for a distributor.

3. I was incorrect in my statement that Isabelle Fuhrman was not at Sundance. In fact, she attended the "Premiere Dinner". There was one picture posted of her there... alone. I wonder if she and (presumably) her parents attended any other functions during Sundance's two weeks of infamy. There wasn't much there for decent parents to take a child to... including her own first feature film!

4. I found it VERY interesting to note that both she and Cody Hanford have the same agent, Joy Purvis of Atlanta. This is the same woman who discovered Dakota Fanning in 2000 and passed her on to her long-time Hollywood friend and associate... Cindy Osbrink! There's the connection between these three children and "Hounddog".

5. Dakota Fanning has been nominated for Best Female Movie Star in the 20th Annual Kid's Choice Awards (from Nickelodeon). Her primary competition comes from Keira Knightley (nude on the cover of last March's "Vanity Fair"... with disturbing photos of Dakota inside), Sarah Jessica Parker ("Sex and the City") and Halle Berry ("Catwoman"). This from the primary children's channel on cable! Make what you will of that! It will air on March 31st.

6. On February 12th, Deborah Kampmeier received the "Relentless Drive" award from the Volkswagen Company for her tenacity in bringing "Hounddog" to fruition. Apparently it was not a factor in asking why someone would be so zealous for ten years in making a film based upon child sex. Nor was it relevant, it seems, that the reason for all this delay was the continual bail-out of investors due to the film's content. Kampmeier, in her acceptance speech, emoted; "The silencing of this story (!), which is, among other things, about Elvis (!!), the Blues and finding one's true voice (!!!) was profound." Dear Deborah got a trophy and a free SUV.

7. On the same day, The Motion Picture Group announced it will fund Deborah Kampmeier's new project. It is entitled "Split". No comment.

8. Trevor Goth, spokesman for the Sundance Organization, characterized "Hounddog" thusly: "Innocent sexual games", "Dakota... tackles an immensely challenging role with an awareness and ferocity that will leave audiences shaken to their core.", and "Kampmeier... displays a delicate touch". You don't have to be a Hollywood insider to see through that rhetoric and become sickened by the mentality that spawned it.

9. On February 8th, it was announced that Dakota Fanning had been cast in a new project called "Hurricane Mary". In it, she plays a gifted (naturally!) child who is handicapped and denied admission by the local (Southern!) school system. Her twin sister is played by her real-life sister Elle Fanning... a child four years her junior. Elle turns nine in April (Lewellen's age!) and has already nearly caught up to her sister in stature. At last report, Dakota still stands well short of five feet. Makes you wonder. The article included the now-familiar jargon about "powerful caste" and "potential Oscar".

10. Her other new movie role was announced in "Variety" on February 15th. This grim picture is called "Winged Creatures". It is an "episodic" drama about four people and how they deal with the aftermath of a random mass murder as it's sole survivors. In other words; more trauma for Dakota. Only this time, it's violent and morbid child exploitation instead (presumably) of the sexual kind. Just what she needs! The production company is called "Unruly Films" (!!).

11. February 12th: The American Family Association reported that the National Endowment For The Arts (NEA) underwrote the Sundance Film Festival to an amount between 100 and 250 thousand dollars. The Public Broadcasting Service (PBS) added another 50 to 100 thousand dollars. AFA encourages citizens to write to their federal legislators. I'll echo that!!

12. David "Daddy" Morse's new film, appropriately titled "Disturbia", premiered at the South By Southwest Film Festival in Austin on March 9th. Look for it in theaters... it you must.

This is how it stands so far. It'll be interesting to see if State Senator Phil Berger gets anywhere in his anti-child sex initiative. I wonder if U.S. Senator Elizabeth Dole was ever made aware of this situation. She should be made aware, especially when you consider that she was head of the American Red Cross... of which Dakota Fanning is a member in a blatant P.R. ploy.

Best wishes.

Steven Mark Pilling

Oh, yes. Two other items of note.

First of all, Dakota Fanning turned 13 years of age on February 23rd. Where and how she celebrated is unknown... but it almost certainly wasn't at the "Pinz" bowling alley like last time. Several months ago, she was heckled out of that place; "tramp" being one of the kinder words allegedly used.

Dakota was featured in yet another questionable fashion shot for Mark Jacobs' Spring 2007 ads. Shot in November, the photo shows a frightened looking child (her) virtually cringing in a corner as she looks up in a pleading manner. The white garment she's dressed in looks a lot like a mussed-up petticoat. Jacobs had allegedly said that he chose her over Lindsey Lohan because he wanted an "air of innocence"!! It was further mentioned that the picture "caused a stir" in the fashion industry.

Well it might!! It should be remembered here that The Osbrink Talent Agency specializes in two facets: child actors and fashion models. This is the fourth that Dakota has been featured in fashion shoots of questionable taste. This latest was featured in March's "Elle" magazine.

Disappointed Dakota Fan


Marc Jacobs' Newest Muse May Be More Interested in Playing With Dolls Than Looking Like One; Is the Youth Trend Cute or Creepy?
Dec. 13, 2006— - In keeping with his definition of youthful, romantic chic, Marc Jacobs delivered a vivid, sprightly women's line for spring of 2007. Understandably, he saw it only fitting to accompany the line with an ad campaign featuring one of the freshest faces in Hollywood.

So whom did he choose to embody his latest line of women's clothing? Dakota Fanning.

Certainly Fanning is no ordinary 12-year-old. The petite actress has proven star power, already making about $3 million per film. She's been honing her acting chops since she had baby teeth. Currently, she's appearing in "Charlotte's Web." Next year, you can catch her as the star of "Alice in Wonderland."

And beginning this February, the child actress will grace the ad pages of edgy fashion magazines W and Vogue. Yes, that's grown-up Vogue -- not Teen Vogue, where she previously appeared in an editorial spread. And it's no matter that she recently got braces. She'll be wearing couture from the Marc Jacobs collection, in sizes made specially for the photo shoot.

"Marc loves her character and thinks she is beautiful and a great actress," Marc Jacobs president Robert Duffy was quoted as saying. "He loved the idea of having this young, small girl in the clothes, and we made them in her size to shoot her in."

Joining Seventh Avenue and Sunset Boulevard

Undoubtedly, consumers have become accustomed to seeing beautiful, young stars cavorting in beautiful, expensive outfits. It's a very deliberate partnership between Hollywood and the fashion world.

Teen starlets can be quite influential with trend-hungry consumers -- not only adults and the masses of teenagers, but also with the younger demographic known as 'tweens. Marc Jacobs may like Dakota Fanning personally, but as a businessman, he also recognizes a chance to expose a much younger crowd to his clothing and accessories.

A smattering of Internet pundits and bloggers have reacted with surprise to the ad campaign, images of which have cropped up on several fashion-related blogs. Celebrity blogger Perez Hilton has opined that the campaign "is wrong on so many levels." Another blogger commented, "I don't want little girls selling me clothes. This new kiddie trend is so wrong."

However, Bob Garfield, editor-at-large of Advertising Age, said the photos he's seen "don't strike me as remotely objectionable. It's not erotic. It's not sexual. It's dress-up. It's goofy."

Garfield has not reviewed the entire ad campaign and has only seen the online images, one of which shows a barefoot Fanning wearing an elaborate white party dress. The other has her making a funny face while clad in a white fur jacket.

On a hypothetical level, Garfield said, "if [another case] were overtly or implicitly sexual, that would be gross. Then it crosses the line." Continuing his broader discussion, Garfield noted, "It's hard to summon outrage on the issue of sexualizing children as long as the children are celebrities. They either are already so contaminated, or are demigods who cannot be harmed -- because after all they're not real people."

Calvins and Isaacs

This is not the first time a major fashion house has turned to a very young star for a bit of fresh marketing appeal. In 1980, Calvin Klein ads featured a rosy cheeked, 15-year-old Brooke Shields famously cooing "Nothing comes between me and my Calvins." Jaws dropped, but the jeans flew off store shelves.

In 1994, Isaac Mizrahi handpicked 14-year-old Natalie Portman as the new face of his women's line with the slogan "Every woman is a star." Some industry experts objected to Portman wearing Mizrahi's designs, and she was later replaced by Diane Lane, who was twice Portman's age. Mizrahi, however, said the switch was always intended.

The right young star modeling the hottest runway fashions can be such an effective marketing tool that Teen Vogue developed an in-house consulting firm to help fashion designers identify young actresses on the verge of stardom.

"Ideally for the marketer you want to select somebody who is on the rise, somebody who is about to break," said Jane Grenier, associate publisher of Teen Vogue. "That way the fashion brand will rise with the celebrity."

That's exactly what fine leather goods company Dooney & Bourke is banking on. They worked with Teen Vogue to select their newest spokesmodel, Emma Roberts, the 15-year-old niece of Julia Roberts and star of Nickelodeon's hit show "Unfabulous."

"Teenagers are seduced by famous teen identities. Especially stars that they like," said Elizabeth Kane, director of advertising and public relations for Dooney & Bourke. "Having that teen identity as a brand through a teenage spokesmodel holds a lot of cache."

Two years ago, Teen Vogue helped Dooney & Bourke select the then 18-year-old Lindsay Lohan as their spokesmodel. During that ad campaign she became a household name and Dooney & Bourke enjoyed an increase in sales among younger women.

"It's a combination of forecasting who's next, who's on the rise," said Tracy Monahan, executive director of creative marketing for Teen Vogue. "But they must be appropriate for the brand. You wouldn't cast a girl who is hippy chic for a brand that's edgy and modern. You want them to mesh."

Dakota Fanning is hardly on the rise -- the actress has the career trajectory of a rocket. But if the reasoning is that the model and clothes should mesh, it's not surprising that some people are perplexed to see a 12-year-old in an ad campaign aimed at grown women, despite the many people who have noted that Fanning looked "cute" in the outfits.

Like Halloween

Since Fanning was five years old, her agent has been Cindy Osbrink, who described the two-day Jacobs shoot as "fun -- just a fun thing for [Fanning] to do" and likened it to Halloween.

Osbrink steadfastly does not accept the premise that images of her young client in high-fashion outfits intended for adult women might be inappropriate.

She called the ad campaign "a win-win situation."

"Dakota had a blast, we were so happy to do it, and we hope Marc Jacobs is happy with it too," Osbrink said. Fanning and her sister now use the outfits to play dress-up, and the actress considered wearing one to a "Charlotte's Web" premiere, but changed her mind because of the weather.

"As much as Dakota is a jeans and T-shirt girl, she loves fashion," explained Osbrink. "Every 12-year-old would love to dress up in Marc Jacobs clothes." And their mommies, too.

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