Reality show contracts have often asked a lot of prospective contestants but clauses in the Junior MasterChef contract have raised eyebrows amongst some sections of media.
The Sydney Morning Herald yesterday noted the Shine Australia contracts authorise an investigation of the employment, medical, government and criminal records of its participants.
”It’s an extraordinary contract,” entertainment lawyer Jules Munro says. ”You have to wonder why anyone would sign it.”
He says the contract includes several ”traps for stage mums and dads. For instance, any material that parents submit to [Shine] to get their kids on screen, like holiday snaps or video of your kids in the school play, then belongs to Shine to be used as they see fit.”
Parents who sign the contract are also ”authorising these people to go snooping into you and your kid’s private lives, with no undertaking to keep the sensitive stuff confidential. [Shine] can hang onto it for however long they want and use it for a tremendously broad range of uses.”
A spokeswoman for Shine said the contract is ”in line with the usual terms of participant releases for similar shows”, and that it exists to protect both participants and producers.
Last year parents involved in the show were largely complimentary about the duty of care shown by Shine Australia.
“We made sure they were looked after and had a great time. They didn’t work long hours, so for them it was the ride of a lifetime being on the show they loved,” judge Anna Gare told TV Tonight.
“There were lots of safety people on board. So you’d have one person on the end of each bench just to make sure they didn’t forget to turn the pan handle around, or forget to turn off their stove, or watch them when they were cutting and chatting at the same time.”
But that’s production. First they have to sign on the dotted line.