Everyone take a seat and hold your breath. You aren’t going to believe this one. A woman accused of physical and emotional child abuse who swears up and down that she’s innocent is apparently a controlling momager that made movie sets even more hellish than normal. That’s right, new reports from those on the set of Ariel Winter‘s 2010 movie The Chaperone say that her mom, Chrystal Workman, was demanding, rude, and refused to let her daughter leave her side.
The claims obviously don’t come as a surprise, but they add to a growing picture of a woman who attempted to get all three of her children into acting, then micromanage their careers into profitability.
Reports from The Chaperone set say that Workman listened to every take her daughter performed in, then pulled her aside to criticize her performance and give notes. Still more people said that she also gave notes to writers, directors and producers. Another claim is that she used production assistants as her own personal employees, asking them to fetch her food or coffee. They also say that Ariel was not permitted to leave her mother’s side.
True, none of these charges actually amount to abuse. They don’t show that Workman every physically struck her daughter. They don’t show a pattern emotional or verbal abuse. They do, however, show a controlling mother who seemed to want to isolate her daughter from her peers. They show a mom highly invested in controlling her young child’s career. Those qualities don’t exactly scream, “Healthy, Functioning Relationship!”
These reports help shed some doubt on Workman’s earlier claim that her daughter was sleeping with an 18-year-old boyfriend and the mother disapproved, causing a fight that set the abuse allegations into motion. And I don’t know how to say this enough, but if Workman really did make up that story for the press, it’s one of the most despicable moves I can imagine. Slut-shaming your daughter to try to paint yourself as a responsible parent is a level of terrible that I don’t even have words to describe.
Hollywood is a difficult industry for kids. There are hundreds of examples of young kids who get corrupted by the culture surrounding the entertainment business. There are also hundreds of parents trying to push their kids towards this unquestionably risky career because it offers a potentially huge pay-out. We’ve seen plenty of these momagers, who push talented young girls to the point where they have breakdowns, to a point of over-exposure where the kids become a joke. (Yes, we’re talking about moms like Dina Lohan and Kris Jenner.) Is it really that hard to believe that a mom pushing all of her children into an industry such as this takes things too far, or doesn’t respect and care for her kids? No, it’s really not.
No matter what, there’s a 14-year-old girl in the middle of this that we should all be concerned about. Hopefully her sister is providing a safe and caring environment throughout the media firestorm. And hopefully her big “Modern Family” is coming together to help one of their youngest cast members.