Biden labor secretary nominee failed to enforce Hollywood law preventing pedophiles from working with child actors

Despite many not obtaining a permit, Su’s department didn’t refer any violations of the legislation to a prosecuting agency.

Hannah Nightingale Washington DC

On Tuesday, President Biden nominated Deputy Labor Secretary Julie Su to become the next Secretary of Labor, replacing former Labor Secretary Marty Walsh.

Su, the former California labor secretary, was confirmed by the Senate in July of 2021 to serve as deputy secretary of labor in a party-line vote, according to The Hill.

In a 2021 report from the Daily Caller News Foundation, before Su was confirmed to her current position, it was revealed that Su failed to enforce California law aimed at preventing pedophilia in Hollywood

Su, during her time as California labor commissioner from 2011 to 2018, led an agency tasked with enforcing labor laws in the state including the Hollywood Child Protection Act, signed into law by then-Governor Jerry Brown in 2012 after a series of pedophile cases in the film industry. 

The legislation created a permit system that mandated everyone who worked with child actors, including publicists, managers, and coaches, receive a Child Performer Services Permit from the labor department. 

The labor commissioner’s office is responsible for approving applicants, who must submit fingerprints and pass a federal background check before their approval for the permit. Failure to obtain a permit could result in one year in jail and a $10,000 fine.

Despite many not obtaining a permit, Su’s department didn’t refer any violations of the legislation to a prosecuting agency.

According to a 2018 Deadline report, under Su’s command, not one Hollywood publicist representing child actors had obtained a permit, as well as dozens of managers, coaches, and photographers. 

BizParent co-founder Anne Henry, the lead sponsor of AB 1660, told Deadline the law was designed to protect child actors from convicted pedophiles like Robert Villard, who worked in numerous roles in Hollywood with child actors and was arrested numerous times for possession of child pornography and sexual acts with an underage boy.

"Before this, there was nothing to stop him from returning to the industry and starting the abuse cycle all over again," she told Deadline. "We wanted something to prevent that from happening."

Deadline discovered more than 20 Los Angeles-based publicists who work with child actors on hit TV shows like Stranger Things, Modern Family, and Raven’s Home.

Despite these violations, no prosecution or case had been brought against those violating the Hollywiid Child Protection Act since 2013, DIR spokesperson Paola Laverde told the Daily Caller News Foundation in a statement at the time.

"LCO is not aware of any person being charged with violation of AB 1660," she said.

"There are dedicated LCO representatives that monitor the [Child Performer Services] website," Laverde continued. “If the LCO representative receives a complaint they will refer that complaint to the Licensing and Registration Unit’s management team who may discuss the issue with the LCO legal team." 

Laverde told the outlet that the bill never set a legal referral process, and that the office isn’t required to enforce the permit system. 

At the time of Deadline’s 2018 report, Su’s office had granted just 292 permits. In 2019, after Su left her role, the office granted 743 permits, and another 231 permits in 2020.


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