Sharing his story. Jacob Roloff detailed the alleged abuse he experienced while working with his family on the TLC series Little People, Big World.
“It is often much easier to think about things than it is to talk about them, and so this disclosure has been delayed, but through that delay, I have found the fortitude and words. As a child, I after what I realize now was a long grooming process, I was molested by an executive field producer for Little People, Big World,” Roloff, now 23, began on Tuesday, December 15, via Instagram.
After acknowledging that he does not “expect to provide details of this encounter,” Roloff wrote that he hopes this man is “never allowed around children again.”
The reality TV personality explained: ”By revealing this, I may be more fully understood and my perspective on issues such as child sexual abuse, child exploitation, and the collateral costs of reality television may be received more clearly. Although, I would have to add that this experience has not solely defined my point of view on any of these issues, nor has it defined my worldview in general.”
Roloff added that “a child must process” and he needed “silence and time” to cope with what he went through.
“I continue my own contemplation on the voyeurism involved in the entire enterprise of reality television — a massive spectacle of drama and pain and argument and invasion, with a little joy sprinkled over, that viewers watch completely disassociated from the complex humans inside the simplistic ‘characters’ they see on TV,” he wrote. “Yet, there is no inherent causal connection between reality television production and childhood trauma. We are still sprinting ahead with the enterprise deaf, dumb, and blind, asking for forgiveness later, instead of asking harder preliminary questions of ourselves. The profits were indeed sweet. The actual experience was more complicated.”
TLC responded to Jacob’s allegations in a statement to Us Weekly on Wednesday, December 16: “TLC was just informed about an alleged encounter that occurred years ago involving a third party connected to the production of Little People, Big World. We are saddened and troubled by this very serious allegation, and TLC will work cooperatively with the authorities. Our main focus remains on supporting the Roloff family during this very difficult time.”
Jacob is the youngest child of Matt Roloff and Amy Roloff, who landed their TLC show in 2006. While Matt and Amy, who are also parents of 30-year-old twins Zach and Jeremy and 27-year-old daughter Molly, split in 2016, the series continued, with season 21 premiering earlier this year. Jacob appeared in more than 200 episodes of the series over the years.
“I often ask sincerely, from this complex perspective: is it simply taken as granted that we should be capable of watching someone grow up week by week on TV?” Jacob asked on Tuesday. “How does the environment of prying eyes, both lens and audience, affect self-perception? how are material amenities weighed against the subjective physiological affects? Has anyone defined these lines? Studied it? Should we need to study it? So much of reality television is simply, ‘a tale told by an idiot, full of sound and fury, signifying nothing.’”
He concluded: “It must finally be emphasized that all fault lies with the predator, and no fault lies with any of my family members. I am certain that this is a positive moment for me, and another step toward a brighter future.”
If you or anyone you know has been sexually abused, call the National Sexual Assault Hotline at 1-800-656-HOPE (4673). A trained staff member will provide confidential, judgment-free support as well as local resources to assist in healing, recovering and more.
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