Diff’rent Strokes star Todd Bridges went on CNN to speak out on the sexual abuse he faced while working as a child actor, a problem that is rife within the entertainment industry. As reported by The Root, Bridges and child actor Cory Feldman are making a public case for California legislation to offer protection to children working in entertainment from sexual predators.
Bridges demonstrates a huge amount of bravery in speaking about the molestation he faced at the hands of his publicist at the of 11. As a result of the abuse, Bridges says he felt ashamed, degraded confused about his sexuality. Even after revealing the abuse to his parents, Bridges was stalked by his abuser. Though his mother supported him, Bridges says his father did not believe his allegations.
With legislation that would require background checks on people working with child actors, such as publicists and managers, Bridges hopes to protect any child working on showbusiness from facing what he did. The desire of many parents to put their children into entertainment enables people in positions of influence to abuse their power and cause potentially long-lasting harm to children. The lack of protection for child actors makes showbusiness “an open field to child molesters,” in Bridges’ words.