‘Even Stevens’ Star Christy Carlson Romano Says She Rejected a Doc Like ‘Quiet on Set’ From Investigation Discovery: ‘These Are Trauma Tourists’

“Even Stevens” and “Kim Possible” actor Christy Carlson Romano revealed on “Mayim Bialik’s Breakdown” podcast (via Entertainment Weekly) that she is not going to watch the Investigation Discovery documentary series “Quiet on Set: The Dark Side of Kids TV” because “it’s extremely triggering” and “I’ve made a choice for several reasons to opt out of watching that imagery.” She also said that she once turned down the network’s request for her to participate in a similar kind of doc. “Quiet on Set” explores misconduct and abuse allegations behind the scenes at Nickelodeon in the late 1990s and early 2000s.

“I’ve chosen not to speak about this with anybody, including ID, who originally came to me looking to see if I’d be interested in a doc like this,” Romano said. “I don’t know if it was this doc [‘Quiet on Set’]. But I was approached when I first started advocating three years ago for my own YouTube channel with my own experiences that I did in different and separate episodes, so to speak. I started to be approached by many reality-show-type producers, and they were like, ‘Hey, how do we do this?’ and I would combat them with saying, ‘Hey, guys, the only way we would do this is if we talk about how do we fix it?'”

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“[Fellow child actor] Alyson Stoner, who is a fantastic advocate in this space, has really impinged upon me the importance of understanding trauma porn,” Romano continued. “I actually have a degree from Columbia in film, and you know, we know that the art of montage and the collision of images is going to incite a certain kind of emotion. That is what documentary filmmaking in social movements is meant to do. And so we’re so manipulated by media, and we have so many little cut-downs of misinformation and things being thrown, that the echo chambers, to me, are not helpful.”

Romano said that due to these reasons she felt “there’s no hope being inserted into the narrative” by particpating in an Investigation Documentary on the subject. She also said that it didn’t sit right with her that the ones trying to make a documentary on this topic were “outsiders.”

“These are people who don’t belong to our community,” Romano said. “These are outsiders. And maybe they, maybe if they knew where to put money towards [fixing] a problem, they would, but again, a lot of this has been perceived in a way that’s — it’s outside baseball. It’s not inside baseball, it’s outside baseball. These are trauma tourists.”

Variety has reached out to representatives for ID Discovery for comment.

Romano said that the abuses child actors face on film and television sets need to be viewed within the industry as “a child labor issue, in that there is a union where the child laborers pay the same amount to be covered by the protections that an adult would have, with an intimacy coordinator on set, and if there’s guns on set, or if there’s animals on set. All of those things are called out.”

“I do work with the Looking Ahead program, which is part of the Actors Fund. It’s only 50 percent funded by SAG, which is, I think, they need more, they’re underfunded, right?” she continued. “I had mentioned to one of the producers in the advisory committee, I said, ‘Why don’t we have all the [assistant directors] say “Minors on set,” like we have a gun, when they say “Guns on set,” and they say “Alligator on set” or whatever it is, to phrase it from a top-down scenario to understand that, yes, they’re laborers, but they’re child laborers. There is a difference.’ So I find, I do truly feel, and this may incite a little bit of backlash, but I do think they’re being under-serviced as union workers, personally.”

The full interview with Romano debuts on the April 16 episode of “Mayim Bialik’s Breakdown” podcast.

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