Adam Pertman, Executive Director
617-332-8944 or 617-763-0134
Hollee McGinnis, Policy Director
212-925-4089 or 646-263-9236
NEW YORK, Jan. 5, 2005 - The Evan B. Donaldson Adoption Institute today called on the news media to investigate the Fox reality special "Who's Your Daddy" in light of several revelations and apparent problems that have come to light about the much-criticized program.
Specifically, the Adoption Institute said that, in the wake of the show's airing earlier this week:
* At least two respected adoption organizations are upset that Fox ran commercials for them during the show, saying they had not asked the network to do so and did not want to be associated with it.
* Several "searchers" who say they found the adopted woman (named T.J.) and the birth father for the Fox program are irate that a private detective is publicly taking credit for doing so.
* Members of the adoption community are raising questions about the show's authenticity in light of a website for T.J., on which the professional actress - who reportedly has appeared in a soft porn movie - had advertised her upcoming appearance on "Who's Your Daddy" as part of her self-promotion.
"Anyone who wants to reunite with a birth relative should be able to do so, whatever they do for a living; and a network can air whatever ads it wants during its programming," said Adam Pertman, the Adoption Institute's Executive Director. "But these revelations raise some serious, disturbing ethical questions that Fox should address and serious journalists should examine to ensure everything is on the up-and-up."
On "Who's Your Daddy," T.J. interviewed eight men to determine which was her biological father. She won $100,000 for guessing correctly; had an imposter fooled her, he would have received the money. Major child-welfare and adoption organizations - including the Adoption Institute - as well as thousands of individuals across the country protested Fox's airing of the show, saying it was offensive and hurtful.
The Adoption Institute is a pre-eminent policy, research and education organization. It provides accurate, unbiased information for journalists, researchers and policymakers. Its award-winning website contains extensive information on adoption-related issues, including ones relating to ethics and best practices.
Pertman, a Pulitzer Prize nominee for his writing about adoption, is the author of "Adoption Nation: How the Adoption Revolution is Transforming America." He lectures nationally and abroad, and his commentaries on adoption and children's issues have appeared in major print and broadcast media.