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Alison Stoner Releases A Harrowing Account Of Being A Child Star Abused By Hollywood

“This is your first time reading my story, but it is our millionth time asking you to listen,”

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*T/W: This article contains details of assault and abuse that may be triggering for some. 
Reader discretion is advised. 

 

Alison Stoner was all over the television screen as a child. She starred in every family-friendly TV show or film from ‘Cheaper By The Dozen’ to ‘Camp Rock’, and ‘That’s So Raven’. But, the reality that she was living behind the scenes was far from ‘family-friendly.’

 

“For the folks who click on ‘Where Are They Now’ articles, I am here. We are here. This is your first time reading my story, but it is our millionth time asking you to listen,” she wrote in a powerful yet heartbreaking essay, ‘The Toddler to Trainwreck Industrial Complex.’ 

 

 

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A post shared by Alyson Stoner (@alysonstoner)

 

She describes how the effects of child labour create a “notorious and thriving industrial complex around child entertainers”, and how, alarmingly, this goes all the way back to 1985. 

 

At 27, she revealed how she “narrowly survived” the industry, while navigating through “extreme peaks and valleys of global fame, hidden medical hospitalizations, artistic milestones, rapid adultification, and multi-layered abuse [she] wished on no one.” Stoner still has to deal with the aftermath of the damage she had faced in her childhood, but recognises that she is “one of the most fortunate cases.”  She recalls an audition she went in for when she was six, where she had to act out a scene where her character was brutally assaulted after being kidnapped.

 

 

View this post on Instagram

 

A post shared by Alyson Stoner (@alysonstoner)

 

“These visceral portrayals of scenarios etch themselves into my bodymemory and compound with trauma occurring in real life behind closed doors,” she wrote.

 

“There is an alarming dissonance about being coached to offer my 6-year-old self vulnerably to unfamiliar adults who have power over my well-being and future livelihood.”

 

Stoner suggested that having a “qualified, third-party mental health professional on every set,” particularly if there are minors present, would go a long way in ensuring a safe working condition as well as a safe space for misconducts to be reported. 

 

 

View this post on Instagram

 

A post shared by Alyson Stoner (@alysonstoner)

 

At 17 years old, the actress decided to admit herself into rehab against the guidance of her team. She writes:

 

“In just over a decade, the tentacles of the industry have suffocated and destroyed my family, every member with their own unique hardship. This whole dynamic can distort and exhaust even the healthiest of humans.”

 

Stoner finished her essay by reminding everyone that together, we can work to change the narrative around child stardom and to protect even the quietest of voices. 

 

*Cover image via Instagram @alysonstoner

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