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October 18, 2010

Beverly McClendon suing Tyra Banks: The Sex-Addict Showdown

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Tyra Banks, the host of not only America’s Next Top Model but also her own show The Tyra Banks Show has been sued by the mother of a 15 year old girl who has claimed to be a sex-addict and had appeared on one of the episodes of the Tyra Show.

The girl appeared on the show in October of 2009 but it seems that news of her outraged mother have only been made public in October 2010. What took her so long to realize that Banks violated privacy and entertained negligence? The mother who is seemingly very concerned about her daughter states that she did not give consent for her to be on the Tyra Banks Show and also voices the fact that apparently her child was in fact not diagnosed as a sex-addict. As if this makes any difference in the underlying question of this entire situation, which is: if the mother is so concerned about the well-being of her daughter where was she prior to her daughter’s sexual activity and appearance on Banks’ show?

The mother (Beverly McClendon) claims that she did not give official permission for her daughter to appear on the show; then how did a 15 year old (underage) teenager get all the way to New York where the show was filmed? How did she get past any sort of security? And did Tyra Banks actually drag her onto the show with the words “do it or die?” All of these accusations and arguments seem poorly supported by concrete evidence, if in case the consent of the mother happened to be fabricated or non existent whatsoever wouldn’t it still reflect the mother’s incompetence to raise and look after her own child? If your child at 15 flies to a different city, states that she is a sex-addict (while fully understanding the definition of the term) without the mother’s knowledge then this clearly sounds like this should be the point for concern.

McClendon also filed a missing persons report after finding out that her daughter fled her home (which is exactly the situation that happens in a house with an overly concerned mother). The story keeps getting better and seems to point out again and again the mother’s lack of attention in raising her child. This 15 year old seems to be very independent at this tender age, fleeing the house, flying all the way to New York and being paid to do a show all without even a spec of the mother’s knowledge. The question still remains, what has the mother been doing while her daughter was out and about doing shows with Tyra Banks about sex-addicts?

This does not in the least bit excuse Tyra from taking responsibility for featuring an underage person in such an emotionally heavy and perhaps scarring episode. She without a doubt had to have checked whether this person had all the permission she needed to appear on television and talk about what without a doubt is adult material (but often great stories come at a great cost). But no matter how responsible Banks is for her actions McClendon’s actions to sue Tyra smell of hunger for money more than genuine concern for her daughter. Her words and the daughter’s actions just don’t seem to add up in a story of a teenager victimized by an ex model turned popular show host.

The mother also shows concern in the fact that the show was watched by sexual deviants this is interpreted as her concern for her daughter’s sexual well-being. Well, if the daughter states openly that she is a sex-addict isn’t it a little too late for worrying about sexual deviants? Furthermore the daughter herself is supposedly showing signs of deviant behaviour by labelling herself a sex-addict (after all it is not something you openly encounter in everyday life, even though it is a matter that has been studied and debated). This ties in with the obscenity of McClendon’s claim that her daughter was not diagnosed with such a problem, let that be so but the statement comes across as if that is the only thing wrong about this situation, the simple fact that the girl said two words that happen to have hooked negative connotations. The problem is not whether she was diagnosed with this particular disorder but the fact that she seems to obviously have a problem that ranges far past the borders of Tyra’s show and well into the realm of her everyday life and socialization patterns. This is a child that has obviously experienced much less control from figures of authority than perhaps other children her age which makes the mother’s statement that she was scarred from the experience much less plausible as the daughter herself without the mothers permission took part in that  episode. Then is it fair to assume that she simply wants to be heard and the mother simply wants to make money from a rather sketchy episode of the Tyra Banks Show?

The entire situation seems less than innocent and both of the parties are just as responsible. However the focus is more on the money the mother will gain from this case than on the well being of her child. There are many nuances that don’t want to add up and create an overall flawless picture, there are obvious holes and cracks in this story that perhaps should pose a higher level of concern than however many millions Tyra is supposed to pay to the supposedly concerned McClendon.

By: Darya K

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