I read that Jon Gosselin's antics are in violation of a morals clause. Is that a TLC network thing? Do studios still use them in contracts?
—Marignygirl, via Twitter
I reached out to the attorneys for TLC, and they didn't want to go there, but the short answer to your question is, in general, yes.
Most stars—TV celebrities, famous endorsers, even just your average movie actor—have probably had to sign some piece of paper regulating his or her behavior at one point or another. You'd think that studios would have done away with such restrictions sometime around the Normandy invasion, but no.
What kind of star get stuck with the harshest, most wide-ranging list of no-nos? Is it the Jon Gosselin types? Well ...
Instead look to young, budding stars, like Miley Cyrus and the rest of the Disney crowd, says Kelly Scott, head of the employment law department for the law firm Ervin Cohen and Jessup. Almost every morals clause out there bans a star from racking up a felony conviction on duty. But for younger performers, especially those contracting with family-oriented studios, the wording can go much further, including non-nos on drinking and all manner of carousing.
"I bet they are even required to retain certain grade levels," Scott speculates.
Scott says he wouldn't be surprised if Gosselin was under some sort of contract that includes restrictions on seedy behavior, an agreement that is being reported as fact on TMZ.
Just how broad is some of this wording? How about requiring a star to behave "with regard to public conventions or morals," and avoid any activity that might "degrade him in public society or will tend to shock insult or offend the community." Actions that would somehow reflect negatively on a studio or producer are even bigger no-nos.
One thing that's clear: whatever contract Gosselin has signed, it doesn't include a clause mandating a tasteful wardrobe.
OK, after all that we could use some refreshment? Who wants ice cream?