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Modern Family's Ariel Winter Removed from Abusive Home: Is ABC Responsible?

Splash News
Her television family may be caring and quirky, but in reality 14-year-old Modern Family actress Ariel Winter's home life is frightening. After a judge ruled that Winter was being physically and emotionally abused by her mother, the teen was temporarily removed from her mother's custody and placed in the care of her 34-year-old sister Shanelle Gray.

According to her guardianship petition, Gray, who was also removed from her mother's custody 20 years ago and placed in a foster home as a result of abuse charges, claims Workman has "slapped, hit and pushed" Ariel, as well as abused her in the form of "vile name calling, personal insults about [her and her weight], attempts to 'sexualize' minor, deprivation of food, etc. for an extended period of time," reports E! News.

Ariel's mother, Chrystal Workman, claims that her daughter fabricated the charges because Workman took a stand against her relationship with 18-year-old actor Cameron Palatas.

“I caught them engaging in behavior that I feel my daughter is too young mentally and physically to understand,” Workman said in a statement released yesterday. “I filed charges against him because legally he is an adult and if he wants to engage in adult behavior with a minor (then) he should also be ready to suffer adult consequences for his actions and poor judgment.”

But the charges that Ariel filed against her mother beg the question: Where was ABC when this was happening?

Ariel, who spends the majority of her time working while most children are in school, is not protected by the network that she works for the way that other children are protected by the school system. Teachers and school faculty have an obligation to report such abuse to authorities; however, big entertainment companies are not held accountable for the well-being of their child actors in the same way.

According to, the president of the Disney Channel (which owns ABC) said that the network's place in a child's well-being is unclear: "We're really clear on where our role begins and ends," he told the Hollywood Reporter. "We have things like a one-day seminar called Talent 101, where we bring in security experts, psychologists, showrunners, and life coaches. It's usually after the pilot but before the series launches. But at the end of the day, it's the parents who really have to be parents. We give them all of the tools they might need, but the network is not responsible for raising
their children."

Do you think that TV networks should be held accountable for the well-being of their child stars? Tell us in the comments.