This is Will and Jada Pinkett Smith’s young daughter, a mere 13-year old Willow, in bed with a 20-year-old shirtless man (Moises Arias, of Hannah Montana “fame”). The couple have told TMZ through their back channels that they’re okay with the image, trusting that their teenage daughter is mature enough to not cross any lines. The photo seems much more scandalous than it appears to be. Apparently Willow was in a room with several friends, including Arias, a longtime family friend of the Smiths. Arias happened to be shirtless, but it doesn’t appear there was any funny business taking place before or after the photo was taken. It was merely an “expression of art,” so she claims.
I’m a conservative woman and an Orthodox Jew, yet despite that, I am surprisingly in disagreement with FishWrapper‘s take on the scene:
Apparently, Willow and Moises here go way back: they’ve been close friends for a long time. So they probably hung out when Moises was 19 and Willow was 12, and when Moises was 18 and Willow was 11. … you get the creepy picture. And this has always been fine with Willow’s parents because they feel like Willow is totally mature enough to do basically whatever she wants. And that obviously includes inviting, for whatever reason, a 20-year-old shirtless adult man to lie with her in a bed, and that is awful.
Why is it so hard to just take care of your children? In what universe should any 13-year-old be granted the ability to make all of her own decisions? Maturity varies from child to child, of course, but that’s the whole point: she’s still, regardless of anything, a child. And this is simply unacceptable.
So, hey, Will and Jada, do you think you could do your children a favor and actually parent them? Maybe just a little. At least enough so that they won’t be subjected to atrocities like this.
Are they they worst parents in the world? Maybe, maybe not. However, it takes an incredible amount of self-restraint for the Smiths to react in public as they have. No matter how the Smiths may have felt about the image, they would have had the best publicity response by responding how most Americans have, with abject horror. Willow’s parents, being savvy media personalities, are well aware of how they could have best recovered their reputations as parents.
While Willow was in the image, it doesn’t appear she had any part in its posting, and after the public outcry it has since been deleted from Arias’ account. If the Smiths had responded with public horror, they would have added further to their daughter’s very public humiliation. Had Willow been an average 13 year old, her parents never would have been asked by TMZ for a statement on the photo. She would have been grounded and, at worst, the photos would not have gone further than her immediate social circle. The photos immediately spread around the world because of her parents’ fame, over which Willow had no control or choice. It was the least her parents could do to keep some part of the incident, namely her punishment, personal.
The Smiths have long been lauded as one of the most stable families in Hollywood. They’ve chosen not to throw their daughter further to the wolves over the incident, and have instead redirected the heat onto themselves. No matter what takes place behind closed doors about the image, if Willow is punished or not is not of our concern. Given the Smiths’ long history of devoted parenting, it’s likely that their public statements don’t totally jive with their public ones. The fact that they’ve chosen to keep their true feelings within their household is truly selfless parenting.
image via TMZ/Instagram