MTV Producer Defends Teen Mom Against Critics

Long-time producer of the MTV Teen Mom series Morgan J. Freeman took to Twitter yesterday to defend the show against critics who argue that it glorifies teen pregnancy and dysfunctional

Freeman, also known as a friend to several of the show's cast members, said that the show documents but does not promote the drama that occurs throughout the series.

Though several cast members have spoken out about editing that casts them in a less-than-favorable light (see: Jenelle), Freeman wants to give fans the impression that little to no editing actually goes on. He said yesterday:

There's a HUGE difference between documenting and promoting.

He gets a little feistier in his follow-up Tweet, saying:

Sometimes having more eyes on a situation is inherently safer than none. Do your homework.

It seems that Freeman is arguing that our beloved Teen Moms are better off having the support of MTV's crew than having to live their post-teen-mom years off the small screen and on their own.

"We are not parents, we are not police"

While many people have argued in the past that MTV bears a responsibility for the incidences of bad parenting documented on its show, Freeman's argument is essentially that it would have happened anyway, but the documentation process provides a chance for others to learn from it:

we document what is happening. we are not parents. we are not police. we do open up powerful discourse about many many things. that is good.

you are the eyes and this is the process.

See all the Tweets below:


Thank you for this article, this was much better than an opinion piece. It got heated back there, but I can tell you've taken the comments to heart. I hope others recognize that, too.

I feel like this guy would say this whether or not he genuinely believes it to be true. He's shady.

MTV is complicit in what sure looks like child abuse. It almost sounds like he thinks the people watching will take it forward because MTV can't shit on their cash cow?

I really don't know how to feel about this, sometimes I'm glad the cameras are there because I shudder at the thought of what goes on off camera. But it's not like cameras are there all the time so does it really make a difference?
Maybe some emotionally intelligent people learn lessons from the show and realise the choices the girls make are wrong, but I do believe for every person that learns, is a whole bunch of influential young girls who just see the fame, fortune and glamour and put the "stars" on a pedestal.
I'm sure plenty of teens got knocked up in the hopes of being on the next Teen Mom.

Just realised this article was by Nikki G, thanks Nikki, this was a great read and really made me think!

I just need to get it out that your name and picture crack me up each time I see them. I also agree with your comment.

Thanks Well, Jenelle! I love yours too, I read it in babs voice which is always great haha.

i watched that episode yesterday and i don't know how she kept a straight face when she told the day care peeps she never yells.

Teen Mom/16&P franchise has been this guy's cash cow for years now?

I did a quick little info check on his production work and he was also the main producer for Laguna Beach as well as a few other shows on MTV. That show was all about drama for a bunch of rich kids in Cali. That's what this guy does for production, drama and trash.

While I think this show totally glorifies teen pregnancy (mostly with Teen Mom now, it's hard to watch a girl who claims she struggles so much when she rolls up in a new Mercedes and buys a house I can't even hope to afford) at least he made it clear. They aren't police or parents....they just have a choice of putting the well-being of children on blast--and do so frequently.

Yeah I agree, they're not the police or the parents, but when you have a massive platform like that - especially one that directly appeals to young people, morally you're kind of obligated to think about the material you're putting out there and what the message is to the audience. Teen Mom literally sends the message that teen pregnancy may help you get lots of money and fame, the more drama in your life the more likely you are to succeed.

Laguna Beach sucked.


haha sorry i apologize, those girls annoyed me as a kid.

I logged in just to down vote you for writting Laguna Beach sucked. ?

I never watched Laguna Beach, but I loved me some of that other reality trash....cue Room Raiders, NEXT, and Date my Mom....LOL

I feel like we have seen so much insanity while cameras are around (drugs, abuse, etc.) that it scares me to think of what some of these people are like off camera.

Yay, Nikki G didn't drink bleach!
Seriously though, keep writing. It's impossible to please everyone, that's apparent.
Now about this pesky refreshing page thing..............

I seriously couldn't believe someone would say that over an article!

?. Yo, I wasn't pleased with the article about Kailyn but for real? ? When did it become that serious??

No one told her to drink bleach!!! Stop. Seriously, you sound so dramatic. Re-read the comments before ignorantly accusing people of shit that didn't happen.

Calm down. It's a show on tv that has no affect on your day to day life. Enjoy the snark and sarcasm. Damn

We're supposed to snark on the people from the show, not the writers.

?? Amen. Constructive criticism yes but save the snark for the TM's

Blah blah blah, get over it. Again, NO ONE TOLD NIKKI TO DRINK BLEACH!! is that so difficult to understand?! Each time it's been clarified you (@incredible sulk) keep bringing it up. Go away and sulk elsewhere FFS it's like trying to explain something to a wall.

Dramastic much? I mentioned it two times. What do you think telling me to go away will actually accomplish? I mean really? You think being completely rude to me will change my mind? It doesn't matter whether or not someone told her to drink bleach specifically, you guys acted ridiculous toward her over disagreeing with an article. You complain about no articles and then when we get some they're not good enough, because I guess it's impossible to just discuss in the comments and ignore the actual article if you don't like it.

LOL whatever you say!! It's been brought up a lot. I have every right to defend myself and what I say, or in this case DIDNT say. And the majority of readers disagreed and disliked the article and expressed it- I wasn't the only one. You may have missed that, since you obviously don't read the comments thoroughly. So move tf on and have a great night :)

Um I was talking to you now because *you* told me to go away, which isn't defending yourself it's just being rude. My first comment about it was aimed toward everyone. If you want to move on so bad then don't keep responding to me especially if you choose to be hostile.

?? Comment drama is more interesting than the show drama. On a serious note I feel bad for Nikki and High Anxiety. Nikki got a little too much constructive criticism, and High Anxiety never said the bleach thing. Let's blame the MTV editing.

Come on y'all, let's move on.
No one told Nikki G to drink bleach. If you can find that comment show it to me because I haven't seen it yet.

Seriously. You won't find it because it don't exist. People are still being ridiculous about it. I have nothing else to do since I'm on maternity leave from my day job or I'd stop commenting all together. I miss the old TMJ :(

she told JENELLE TO DRINK BLEACH! damn, I can't see this girl be bashed one more time for something she didn't say.

THANK YOU!!! God damn some people..... let's move on and snark about something interesting

If they really wanted to open up a discourse, they'd kick Dr. Sad Panda Softball Questions Drew off the couch and get someone to ask about what we really want to know. But that would piss off the cash cows. Not like they couldn't get a fresh crop of trainwrecks who are actually still teens to take their place in a hot second.

Get Dr. Phil! I still find it funny that Farrah of all people went on his show.

Yeah now THAT'S a petition I'd sign. Drew Pinsky is such a hack. He's been on local radio around here before taking calls, it didn't end well for him because plenty of other people feel the way we do about him. It was glorious hearing person after person tell him to pretty much get bent and stop prostituting addicts and people in bad scenarios.
I'd pay actual money to see any of the cast members get in the hot seat of Dr. Phil, though I know for a fact they won't until probably when the show ends and they're hunting for a paycheck again. Hoo boy.

I know for a fact Kail is desperate to be on Ellen though.

Hi, Nikki! Thanks for the article.

Alright, so... devil's advocate:
MJF is in the entertainment biz, this much is true. He's here to make a buck, not to enrich these girls' lives, nor their children. I agree, he's not a police officer, he's not a parent.


He's basically whoring these girls out under the guise of it being a documentary or educational, or as he calls it, a series of "cautionary tales". He knows what he's doing. For him to attack fans also is rather cheeky.

I find it obnoxious the way he hides behind made-up statistics, or as if he's some sort of hero for making a show about girls who found themselves burdened too early on in their lives with being responsible for another human in modern-day society. He parades this show around it being revolutionary, and he's haughty about its lukewarm success because people like to see Jenelle be a fuck up. He's just phony.

Also he responds to criticism like a 16-year-old.

Good job Nicki much better than an opinion piece ?

My first thought again was what in the actual fuck?! Not because of the article but the utter bullshit that comes out of this douchecanoe's mouth. He 100% promotes their trash lifestyles by continuing to pay these girls more money than many teen moms will ever see in a lifetime.

What's sad is that some of these girls seem to actually think he is their friend.

Let's ask some of the girls from TM3 if Freeman or any of the crew have had any contact with them since cancellation.

Haha yes! Pretty sure I know what the answer to that would be.

I feel like his "more eyes is better than none" is a direct jab at Jenelle saying, imagine what she would be like if no one was watching......

if nobody was watching.... she probably wouldn't have the boyfriends and bonus check babies that she has, because they all were using her for her teen mom fame and money.

nathan only had a child with her to guarantee himself a spot on the show and income. i do not agree with anything jenelle is doing regarding kaiser's custody situation. but nathan is a disgusting piece of shit as well. he wanted to impregnante her the minute he met her, no sane person would EVER want that with someone like jenelle. he even suggested she should have an abortion once she really started showing her colors to him. its the same shit with david now, just using her for money and fame.

Yes and I love how much Babs has been calling them on that lately! She knows what's up.

She'd still be setting that pussy out and getting whatever rod will rub her pipes. I actually could imagine her having more kids she's such trash

The more I see of Nathan (and Dave too, to a bit of a lesser extent) the more I think he is genuinely mentally disabled. And the VA agrees, because he's on disability for a TBI. No one in their right mind WOULD get with Jenelle, let alone impregnate her. These guys are literally mentally challenged.

But remember if Jenelle didn't have the MTV neither would Babs.

I think that much of Nathan's behavior is explained by a Traumatic Brain Injury.

"Common long-term symptoms of moderate to severe TBI are changes in appropriate social behavior, deficits in social judgment, and cognitive changes, especially problems with sustained attention, processing speed,
and executive functioning."

I wonder what he was like before he was a marine. Did he lose custody of his daughter before or after he was discharged?

Yeah, if no one was watching, Jenelle would probably be in jail. She only can hire good lawyers with that MTV money. So Morgan Freeman is directly complicit in aiding and abetting Jenelle's criminal behavior by helping her stay on the streets. Way to go, Mr. Freeman!

What are we learning from their poor choices? That it's totally okay to do horrible things to ourselves, our kids and others cuz there are no consequences? (ehem Jenelle) That being a teen mom on a hit tv show is the same and offers the same financial comforts and attention as being a normal un-televised teen mom? That being able to take someone to court is no big deal when in reality it's incredibly expensive to have such back and forth with legal issues? That not doing anything with your life is the way to go?

MTV and these girls need to learn to separate what we see now from this franchise vs. what can be considered an informational documentary. This show teaches us NOTHING beneficial, it's purely for entertainment.

16 & Pregnant wasn't bad. They touched on topics we need to know. But TM season 800 isn't offering anything helpful for teens.

Okay, you can have some short and sweet disclaimer with resources for help but there's nothing for Jenelle's (and others') child abuse? Or perhaps intervention provided by MTV (who should take the blame for exploiting these teen girls) to get them some help and make sure they are aware of their shear stupidity?

Everyone associated with this show has drank the kool-aid of fame.

wait a minute....i thought morgan freeman was black????

Haha that always confused me on the credits! I was like wait wtf Morgan Freeman and TEEN MOM? He's way above this shit

It's Morgan J Freeman. Black Morgan Freeman may fuck his step-granddaughter but he would never condone blatant child abuse.

Hoe my god. Morgan Freeman fucked his granddaughter ?? I feel like I need to google that but I'm also terrified to see what I will find.

Stranger, your comments are hilarious ?

I think it's mostly rumors but I believe it. I can't really remember but it was the granddaughter that got killed by her bf and that's when I first heard of it. But black Mr. Freeman is a HUGE cheater. He has a home here in MS not far from me and people talk about it all the time. I think he was even in a car accident with his mistress at the time and she died. But I may be remembering that wrong. But that's between him and his wife and if she doesn't care why should I?

Yea I had to google it lol

Our beloved Teen Moms? Is that a joke or...?
Ohhh did anyone see Chelsea's Instagram, her and Taylor are hanging out with Aubree and Paislee! Oh my god P is the cutest little bright blonde child ever. So happy they're doing that for their girls, I'm assuming it means that Taylor isn't on great terms with Adam since they're having to make sure the girls get time together without relying on him

They hang out sometimes. I think it's great that they make sure the sisters have time together that doesn't involve a gym or Adam's sober coach, I mean friend.

Apparently they've been hanging out some. I noticed Chelsea's post on instagram yesterday and ending up looking on Taylor's after that. They were at the gym together in the beginning of May, and (I'm ashamed I creeped this much lol) Taylor's been getting her hair done by Landon, one of Chelsea's black book of friends' signatures, as far back as the November I think. They've probably been hanging out off/on for awhile by the looks of it.

Paislee is super adorable btw.

OK, judge me world, I was bored and creeped further.
Taylor's twitter has had several posts with Chelsea also, looks like they work out together. She also took some jabs at "Parents who don't pay child support" and hm, wonder who that could be aimed at, lol.

I'm super happy they are getting together for the sake of A+P however I totally think it's Taylor's dream to be Chelsea and she frequently copies Chelsea and Aubree's look with her and P. Not that that's a bad thing but it's so friggin obvious.

Yes! I love that they get together, I also think Taylor copies Chelsea a bit but like you say I don't think it matters. Paislee is the most beautiful little button!!

haha I did the same thing!

Downvoted come at me but I just don't see why there is such an issue with TM. It is a reality TV show no different to Geordie shore, dance moms, honey boo boo. They all get paid to be trash on TV it is just what it is all about

agreed on SOME level.
but then they need to stop acting like they're responsible for teen pregnancy declining, because they are not. they spout the same bullshit every reunion and give themselves a pat on the back, and income bonuses for neglecting their children, abusing spouses, doing drugs, etc.

Totally. It angers me so much that they try to take credit for reducing teen pregnancy. Um hello, there are like a million factors to consider and the only one you pick is "in areas where ratings for TM are high, teen pregnancy is declining." How on earth is this a reasonable claim that their show is successful?

One thing to consider is that current teens are most likely the children of GenX folks and that is a very progressive generation who of course learned all about birth control thanks to the fear of AIDS. Obviously that learning will trickle down somehow.

I agree. I live in MS which probably has the highest rate of teen pregnancy and it's young pregnancy like 13-14. I only have 1 daughter but as soon as she had her period I started the sex talk with her. I told her it will much easier to tell me you are having sex than to tell me I'm going to be a grandparent. About 65% of the girls she graduated with either have a baby (or 3) or expecting. She's in college and working on her 2nd degree. My other 2 are boys and I believe in safe sex not abstinence. I'm old but I remember teen hormones and peer pressure.

I just think it's funny these people credit this show for declining teen pregnancies.

Could it be an eye-opening, (I'm talking 16&P) to watch the life of a young teen give up their baby? Sure. Is it frightening that statistically, these young women will probably go on to have more children by their 21st birthday, with multiple fathers or face serious drug/poverty/abuse? Absolutely.

But that won't stop people from having sex, still. And TM stopped being about getting knocked up young years ago.

Pregnancy rates have dropped because birth control and general sex education is more accessible. Unfortunately, a lot of low-income, rural & urban, poverty level places lack that access and education. Hence, TM probably isn't doing much in the grand scheme of things.

The fact that they are reality stars just doing their jobs, being exploited or not, doesn't bother me.
It's that they (MTV, Dr. Drew & the moms) think people are using them as fundamental examples for not being a teen with a baby in tow. Even if they know it's a load of BS, they are still feeding it to the public. That's what annoys me.

Yes I do see that point, they are not an accurate representation of teen pregnancy nor would they responsible for the decline in teen pregnancy. But they are just doing their job as reality Tv stars, I think the issue is more the producers and how they allow the show to be portrayed.

I think that they would all be pretty much the same or worse off without the show. In some cases probably better off with the cameras rolling (Leah and Jenelle). I just don't thinkbthisbdjoebis any worse than dance moms where the kids are subject to pretty bad verbal abuse, Honey BooBoo, The Kardashians. They are all full or trash, but admittedly TM is the only one claiming to prevent something.

Don't think it is ** geez the dam auto refresh removed my edit button

Except there's real kids involved and this is real life. I said this to my husband. I was like this show is so trashy, but I kind of feel bad watching some of these kids lives become fucked up right before my eyes...

Whew I kept changing my picture only to see someone else already had it as theirs!

Honestly, I just want them to admit what this show is. It isn't helping anyone, especially not the girls on the show or their children. They are not beloved. They're entitled trash that are unable to adult. He crippled them, he is not their friend, and they aren't saving anyone from that fate because of the absurd pay checks making it all seem rosy at this point. They're trashy reality stars, and he's a user. And I eat it up, unfortunately. So am I just as bad as him?

I agree with others- great article Nikki :) I love pieces like this and it really was very well written and equally analyzed. MTV will always cover they're own asses, but when they stop filming all of the girls, I think it'll be interesting to see how their lives turn out. Hopefully by then Leah will have her life back on track and no longer endanger her children. I've recently expressed a lot of opinions on Jenelle haha but in short, she's a lost cause. Hopefully she'll have lost custody for good by the time MTV is done with TM. because like others have said, it's horrifying to think about what goes on off camera with her.

Has anyone seen the shade Jenelly threw at Nathan? I don't know how to feel. I am laughing that Nathan got burned but I also want to punch a wall because it was Jenelle that bunt him.

It also prompted me to creep on the rest of her instagram and JEEZ Uncle Bad Touch gives me the creeps about as much as Matt. He is always with Kaiser, and we already know he's abusive and loaded with issues, but it's fine, Kaiser needs another dysfunctional adult in his life, because being the child of Jenelle and Nathan wasn't bad enough.

Can you imagine how creepy he is going to be when he is Matts age! Even Some of Jenelles die hard fans can see what a creep he is.

How rude. That's hair shaming Jenelle, how would you feel if you were trying to grow your hair out to be able to wear a bun? Shame on everyone that thinks this is okay!

The biggest thing that pisses me off is that KAISER HAS A DAD, for fuck's sake what is with Jenelle trying to pawn off her dick of the month to her poor unsuspecting kid? She knows as well as I do that this is going to last as long as her last 6 boyfriends. Nate sucks but if I were him, I'd be bullshit. Same goes for Kail, I think it's fucking weird that Isaac called Javi "daddy". Mixed families are good and fine, I'm ALL about that, but if the child's real father is involved, there is absolutely no need for that.

He's just trying to make himself feel better after basically enabling some of the worst, most pathetic "parenting" in the history of TV. Keep telling yourself it's all the process and you're saying teens from a lifetime of heartache. You're no hero, MJFree.


Good article Nikki G! If you write more stuff like this, I think more people will like the site again--for the articles I mean.

But if Teen Mom OG has taught me anything, it's taught me that they treat these girls like their fricken amazing, all while ruining their lives in the process. It's sad, really. Because they act like they're trying to help them, but instead they're just counting their money until the well runs dry. Like someone said earlier, do you think the Teen Mom 3 girls ever hear from the producers?

rent articles like this are great to read and comment on and gets conversation going. Especially for some people who have no life or friends lol

Anything and everything could be an article really. People will still comment on it I think. As was mentioned in a last post something to do with their fashion choices with lots of collage pictures. I mentioned about it before awhile back too.

-all about ex bf or girlfriends. There are not a lot of ex gf bf the baby daddy's which is kid of weird, besides adam. But all the teen mom girls have so many. Like a where are they now and pictures. Jenelle's guys like courtland, gary, Kieffer and especially especially andrew, Jace father. Where the hell is he?

This guy is so creepy! He kisses all of the girls ass and acts like they're making a huge difference. They're not. Tell me why only 1 of the girls is successful?? And she's from 16&p.

I wonder if this dude has slept with one or more of the TMs/16&preggo chicks. He looks like the type that would. I'd be surprised if he hasn't.

I could totally see that, probably Jenelle

That's the first thing I thought Jenelle!

I believe it has been alluded to before on gossip sites. It's either Jenelle or Leah. They thought sexing would get them a good edit.

As much as Jenelle is scummy, I think Leah would sex some of the production crew before Jenelle would.

There's been a few blind items about crew members mingling with cast. Unprofessional as fuck if it's true, but what can you expect from this shitshow

I honestly don't see anything worth defending about this show. If they weren't paying the girls such exorbitant salaries it may be more realistic, and therefore more effective. Does he forget that girls were purposely getting pregnant for a spot on Season 3 of 16&P? Because that definitely happened.

What actually drove a decrease in teen pregnancy? A liberal president who pushed for access to birth control and sex education.

I told my partner about this. He said "You're not just documenting it, you're FUNDING it, to make sure that it all happens, by paying these girls ridiculous amounts of money. Therein lies the problem." Even that picture of the guy looks so skeezy. He also said this show should be renamed "Experiments in creating false senses of entitlement" or something like that - not "Teen Mom."