Jacob Roloff, the youngest son of the Roloff family from TLC’s Little People, Big World, has said he was molested as a child by executive field producer, Chris Cardamone.
Jacob Roloff made the announcement through his Instagram, in which he said that he has no intentions of detailing the encounter to the public, and that he had been considering making such a statement when Chris Cardamone texted him five years ago. Roloff also said that he was part of a long grooming process as a child while filming Little People, Big World and that he hoped this revelation would help people understand the bigger costs when it comes to reality television.
Even further in his statement, Roloff calls out the voyeuristic activity of reality television shows like Little People, Big World, which allows others to disassociate themselves from other humans, seeing them as little more than characters. Roloff points out that through reality television, audiences are watching real people grow from week to week, the dramas and pain that go inherent with that experience, and yet are left with a simplistic view of who these people are. Roloff also says that all the fault of his molestation relies on Cardamone and not on his family.
TLC, who has aired Little People, Big World for 21 seasons, has made a statement to USA Today, saying that they were not aware of the alleged encounters, but that they are “saddened and troubled by this very serious allegation.” TLC continued that they will work with the authorities and plan on supporting the Roloff family through this extremely difficult period.
Jacob Roloff, who is currently 23, was only nine-years-old when Little People, Big World premiered in 2006. Little People, Big World follows Amy and Matt Roloff, who both have dwarfism. Amy and Matt have had four children – twins Zach and Jeremy, who are both 30, Molly, who is 27, and their youngest, Jacob. The series also had a spinoff, entitled Little People Big World: Wedding Farm, which followed Amy and Matt as they try to create their own wedding business.
Little People, Big World has aired for 344 episodes, and is one of the most-watched shows on TLC, with one finale even receiving 2.3 million viewers. While the show originally aired multiple twenty-plus episode seasons a year, Little People, Big World has slowed down quite a bit with seasons ranging from 6-13 episodes.
But this revelation about Little People, Big World’s executive producer isn’t the first controversy TLC’s reality programming has had over the years. In the late 2000s, Jon & Kate Plus 8 was often questioned how the filming impacted the family itself, with the title parents eventually getting divorced in 2009. In 2014, TLC also canceled Here Comes Honey Boo Boo, after Honey Boo Boo’s mother, Jessica Shannon was found to be dating a man convicted of child molestation.
Jacob Roloff’s reveal about his experience filming Little People, Big World not only opens up questions about how reality television opens up people to a large, voyeuristic audience, but also about the access the crew has to the family as well. TLC certainly has had a history of problems when it comes to filming their reality programming, so maybe it’s time for the network to reconsider their practices and prioritize the safety of their subjects.