LOS ANGELES – “Modern Family” star Ariel Winter, currently in court to become emancipated from her mother at the age of 14, is further promoting her grown-up image with an appearance on the website CollegeHumor.com.
Winter has reprised her role of “Dora the Explorer” on the comedy site, posting a picture of herself pulling a sassy pout in a short black wig on Instagram in the same getup she sported for a Dora “trailer” released earlier this year.
But is it inappropriate for a young teen to be the center of attention on the College Humor site, which is also contains vast amounts of content definitely not for fitting for minor’s eyes?
"It's clear why College Humor would parody Dora. That doesn't mean a 14-year-old... needs to participate,” Adam Hanft, CEO of marketing firm Hanft Projects. “The entertainment industry makes young kids appear old.”
While Winter’s clip is sex free, the site itself contains other videos such as “Why Sex is Magic,” “Batman Can’t Stop Thinking About Sex,” “Sex With the Hulk,” and “25 Things You Say During Sex and What You Really Mean.” CollegeHumor.com also contains a specialized R-rated section with videos such as “Girl Sets Boobs on Fire,” and “High School Porn Prom.”
According to the site itself, CollegeHumor.com targets a core audience of people ages 18-49, and “features extremely popular original content in addition to the day’s funniest and most offbeat content on the web.”
“The question remains as to why a website dedicated to reaching adults would deem using a child appropriate. Ariel is an actress and actresses are used to playing a variety of characters for different roles,” said media writer Rachelle Friberg. “Unfortunately, the entertainment industry is a place in which this frequently occurs oftentimes because young celebrities experience a high level of fame and pressure at such a young age. Parent support and guidance are pivotal to ensuring children do not grow up too fast.”
Butothers in the entertainment arena were not too put off by the concept of a young girl entertaining older males.
“The video Ariel participated in was not particularly offensive or salacious so it really doesn’t make sense for people to be upset by this. Plenty of child actors are part of television programs or films that include adult content,” said Los Angeles-based entertainment reporter and pop culture expert, Jenn Hoffman. “Why should appearing on a website be any different than a teenager who appears on a television network with R-rated programming?”
Winter is currently under temporary guardianship of her older sister while her request to be emancipated from her mother goes through the court system.
Reps for Winter and College Humor did not respond to a request for comment.
Danielle Jones-Wesley contributed to this report.