You may remember Madisyn “Maddy” Verst from her turn as a four-year-old Dolly Parton in Toddlers & Tiaras last year, in a costume complete with fake breasts and a padded butt.
Well, the pageant mom that put her in the controversial outfit is making headlines again, this time because her ex-husband Bill Verst is suing her for custody of their daughter. The kicker? He’s a convicted felon himself, having been convicted on multiple occasions on charges including DUI and child endangerment.
Lindsay Jackson made the case for pageants to Radar:
“Maddy has been doing pageants since she was a baby and this is the first time Bill has ever said I’m a bad mother. He never made an argument about it until the show aired and now he’s trying to say that she’s sexualized and that I’m trying to exploit her and I’m not!…It is my right to put my child in pageants, it is just like any other extracurricular activity like soccer or gymnastics or football.”
This, it should be noted, is the same argument Honey Boo Boo Child‘s mother used to defend her right to not save for her daughter’s education. Jackson goes even further to Fox News, however, comparing pageant tots to young Olympians:
“We could really open up Pandora’s Box to set a precedent all over the world. What if years ago Gabby Douglas’ father said, ‘She’s not going to be a gymnast. She’s not going to move away from home and practice gymnastics because I won’t allow it,’ and he and Gabby’s mother got into a fight? We wouldn’t have gold medal winners, we wouldn’t have Miss America, we wouldn’t have Miss USA.”
We see her point (we really do!), but Gabby Douglas was not wearing gobs of makeup and strutting her stuff on television at the age of four.
What remains to be seen, however, is whether Verst and his lawyers will provide compelling enough evidence to support their claims. They do reportedly have the court-appointed psychologist on their side. Citing the sexualized costumes the child has worn in past pageants, he has recommended that the parents share custody, but that Maddy live primarily with her father. Jackson is convinced her ex will prevail in court because he comes from a wealthy, influential family and is chummy with the judge in charge of the ruling, despite her claims that he does not pay child support and is unfit for the task.
The case was set to be tried this afternoon, but until we hear which of the two evils the judge decides is officially lesser, take a look at Maddy’s appearance on Toddlers & Tiaras below: