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Reality TV, Part 2 – Exploiting Children The “Married To Medicine” Way

The trend I am noticing in the reality TV genre is the exploitation of minor aged children to make money.   The classic example of this was Jon and Kate Goslin who exploited their sextuplets for financial gain with Kate milking it desperately by the time their divorce was final and the series was winding down.   Each week viewers watched the marriage of the Goslins disintegrate in front of our eyes with some issue pertaining to the children often as the catalyst for the argument du jour.

I next noticed “Dance Moms”, the reality TV series focused on the competitive dance team of the Abby Lee Miller Dance Academy.    Moms morphed into catty, bitchy backstabbing wenches from Ehell defending some right they felt their particular daughter was owed.   It is because of you, dear daughter, that I behave like a crazed beast with no hint of dignity.  Little girls are shown sobbing at the drama their selfish mothers perpetuate.

But the show that has really earned my ire is “Married to Medicine”.   This new series, based in Atlanta, follows the dramas of four doctors’ wives and two female doctors who are as follows:

Toya Bush-Harris – Married to emergency room physician Dr. Eugene Harris
Mariah Huq –  Married to emergency room physician Dr. Aydin Huq.  Mariah is founder/CEO of the Mariah Media Group and a producer of Married to Medicine.   This will become relevant later in this post.
Quad Lunceford-Webb – Married to psychiatrist Dr. Gregory Webb.   It was revealed at the end of the series that both Quadriyyah and her husband were arrested for assault in 2010.
Dr. Jacqueline Walters – A board certified OB/GYN who tries to encourage her fellow cast members to not act in a way that brings shame and embarrassment to black professional women.   She is wrestling with pigs and will not come out of this smelling particularly rosy.
Kari Wells – Married to orthopedic surgeon Dr. Duncan Wells
Dr. Simone Whitmore
A board certified OB/GYN

The fourth episode set the tone for the entire series and as each subsequent episode aired, it became painfully clear that the parentage of Mariah Huq’s 8 year old daughter and the drama associated with certain revelations was a significant portion of the series.   Dr. Aydin Huq is not the child’s biological father, he did adopt her and raised her as his own.  Huq’s daughter is allegedly unaware that her father is not her biological father    The sharing of this tidbit of information sets off an unholy war between Bush-Harris and Huq resulting in a screaming, hair pulling, dress ripping, wine glass throwing cat fight during a black tie party at the Wells home in an episode called, “A Black Eye Affair”:

Seventeen minutes into the episode, Mariah is informed by her sister, Lake, that she and their mom were at the salon and “basically I heard that Toya had been in there talking that Aydin’s not Lxxxxx’s dad and that Lxxxxx doesn’t even know.”    Viewers would not find out until several episodes later that Toya had not been in the salon but had said this to a private hairdresser who came to her home.  Granted, Toya should not have been gossiping to her hairdresser about other people’s children.  And I won’t even begin to get into the numerous ways this fight could have been avoided and how etiquette was not a factor in how issues  were handled.

An interview with Toya Bush-Harris sheds some light on the relationship between Toya and Mariah Huq.  “People introduced me to Mariah and she brought up the idea of the show and I was like, ‘Nah, not interested.’ Really she just kept pursuing me; she joined my workout, had our husbands doing lunch; she was very persistent. I was like, ‘WHY?’ and she said, ‘You would be great!’ Then, when I started looking for school for my sons and it was like $15,000 per kid a year, and I was like “WHAT?! He’s only four!” So I’m like, ‘I’m gonna do this.’”   Yes, you read that correctly.  Mariah and Toya did not know each other prior to the TV series.  Huq told a near total stranger a piece of private family information and then hypes the drama into overdrive when it gets repeated because it creates great ratings and sells lots of advertising.

Mariah Huq admits that she was the one who told Toya this allegedly personal, private piece of family information.   In a later episode, Dr. Jackie confronts Huq about her  indiscretion in revealing personal information and tells the viewers, ” We tell our business and we wonder why people tell our business.  If you don’t want your business told, you don’t tell it.”   PREACH IT, DR. JACKIE!   A commenter on another blog noted,  “Why should she expect everyone to hold her daughter’s issue so high when she didn’t because if she had she would not have told ANYONE!”  It is a very good point.  Mariah Huq expected others to uphold a standard of discretion she herself was not willing to do. Mariah Huq, there would have been no drama at all if you have kept family business private.

Repeatedly throughout the series, over and over again, we hear Mariah Huq reiterate that Aydin Huq is not the biological father of her eldest child.   It gets repeated at the beginning of each episode as a recap of the previous episode and then throughout each episode. We hear the parents lament that their, “…biggest worry is Lxxxxxx finding out that I am not her biological dad….how will she handle that emotionally?  That is the most important thing.”   If it was so important to guard your daughter from learning the truth, Dr. Huq, why did you exploit this situation to broadcast it to the entire world?   One interview I found online claimed this,  “Mariah told me everyone knew, before shooting began, that she would talk about anything and everything, but the topic of Lxxxxx was off limits.”  No, it wasn’t off limits.   The Huqs had no obligation to utter one word about their daughter on camera.   If compelled to, they could have removed their audio packs and cease participating in the filming.  If children are off limits, there is nothing on this planet that can stop a parent from protecting a child.  The producers did not hold a gun to either parent’s head compelling them to sit and film commentary on each episode.   But there is a little known piece of information that pretty much negates the Huqs’ claim that they were powerless to prevent their daughter’s situation being exploited.   Mariah Huq is not only a PRODUCER of the show, she is its CREATOR who pitched the series idea for 4 1/2 years before Bravo picked it up.  Read it. On a BravoTV blog, Mariah implies that, as producer, she has the power to fire Kari Wells and Toya Bush-Harris from future seasons yet she is powerless to keep her daughter’s parentage out of it?  It defies credibility.

This series centers entirely too much on using a young child’s parentage as the basis for the drama.   A child who has no voice in choosing if she wants to be internet and media fodder for years to come.   Lxxx Huq has no opportunity to determine how the world knows her and how much they know of her because her mother’s desire to produce a smash hit TV series trumped Lxxx Huq’s right to privacy.  If you google the child’s name, there are already sites which detail her short life history up to now and the ones doing all the talking online about Lxxx Huq?   Mariah Huq, her mother.   I could not find a single example of Toya Bush-Harris repeating this information online.   The Huqs had it within their ability to inform the producers that their children are off limits totally.  Financial gain at the expense of a young girl.   It’s the lowest I’ve seen reality TV go .

{ 55 comments… add one }
  • twik June 1, 2013, 6:32 pm

    Wendy – I don’t watch them, and yet they don’t go away. Can you suggest another method?

    I may not watch them, but I live in the society that creates and is created by them. If people don’t speak out about the dishonesty and vulgarity of these shows, it will be more and more the norm, and we could burn our tvs and still not escape the effects.

  • Bluemyst June 4, 2013, 12:49 pm

    The funny thing about the Teen Mom shows is they really aren’t showing how difficult it is to raise a child on your own. Virtually all of the teen moms are at least somewhat in touch with the fathers, have their parents to fall back on, have their own cars and otherwise get a lot of help that poorer teen moms don’t.

    What about the teen moms where the sperm donor has disappeared, and the parents have disowned the daughter, so she has to do everything by herself? Oh, yes, such a woman would be far, far too busy to cater to a reality TV show. And it might not make good TV, since it would likely be depressing.

    So real life teen moms get a very skewed view of how demanding it is to raise a child by yourself. And, as another poster commented, many think “If I have enough children, I’ll get on MTV.”

    And, “reality” TV is as heavily scripted as any normal TV show. But the “scripting” is by taking carefully chosen segments of footage to create a story, even if said story is exactly the opposite of what’s really happening.

  • WMK June 4, 2013, 1:24 pm

    For me, the first reality show was MTV’s first season of “The Real World” and that one was the most tame out of all of the seasons! The whole concept of reality TV has gotten out of hand because no one wants to watch what really goes on in the real world. I don’t think their lives would be as interesting if a camera crew wasn’t following them around 24/7.

    As far as the clip goes…

    I stopped watching The Real Housewives of Whatever a long time ago, so this show had absolutely no interest for me.

    The one thing I noticed while watching the clip was how little class was shown by ALL the woman involved. My philosophy is that I wouldn’t share something with someone that I hardly know that I wouldn’t mind having yelled across a crowded room. And this goes the same with Mariah blabbing to the whole audience of this show about the father of her daughter.

    If I was a guest at that party, I think I would have left immediately. Holy Horse!

    I guess it just goes to show that you can have all the money in the world and still act like an idiot.

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