LAUSD is right to say ‘no’ to Jamie Oliver

Posted on | January 17, 2011 | 5 Comments

Schools are for kids, not celebrities.

When a parent drops a child off at school, he or she is entitled to a small set of reasonable expectations. These include: 1) That their child will be educated. 2) That school meals will be available if the child does not bring a packed lunch. 3) That the child will not be exploited.

Item one is not going well. Item two happens, if not to the standards that some would wish. Item three includes keeping out child molesters and celebrities who view the world as background.

That British TV chef Jamie Oliver has arrived in Southern California preaching the gospel of healthful eating is fine. The city has plenty of pulpits, but the cafeterias of public schools are not among them. If he wants to help the school district improve its meals, then it would have been politic and orders of magnitude more sincere of him to offer to donate his expertise to the meal formulators, while leaving the cameras in the studio. Camera crews do not feed kids twice a day, every weekday, nine months out of 12. They do distract classes. ABC does not pay for school meals, taxes do. Most importantly, children at schools are not TV extras, they are kids. As kids, they deserve protection.

LA Weekly reports that Oliver describes his series as a “documentary.” Maybe by Golden Globe standards, but it’s a documentary about him. ABC’s Food Revolution is not News Hour. An ABC casting call includes it with The Bachelor, The Bachelorette, Wife Swap and Take the Money and Run. If the school district wants Oliver in, it would have to arrange it in a way that didn’t disrupt classes, respected the privacy needs of students and acknowledged real-world cost constraints.

As it happens, it has elected not to turn its cafeterias into a TV studio and it’s entirely within its rights. Oliver says, “In my country [England], it would be illegal.” Really? Show me the canon of English law that assures reality TV programs access to school lunchrooms.

Given his backing from fashionable and wealthy quarters, along with his new Westwood headquarters, maybe Oliver should try Crossroads, or Oakwood, or Harvard Westlake, or some other high-toned private school. Surely the elite parents of students there wouldn’t mind ABC filming their kids eat.


5 Responses to “LAUSD is right to say ‘no’ to Jamie Oliver”

  1. Eric Lindstrom
    January 18th, 2011 @ 6:17 pm


  2. Robert Millar
    January 19th, 2011 @ 3:17 pm

    Emily, where the fuck did this come from? You know damn well that Crossroads would NEVER allow such a thing to happen with its students.

    Where, oh where, did that last paragraph come from?


  3. EmilyGreen
    January 19th, 2011 @ 4:28 pm

    Are you accusing me of facetiousness? If you are, then you are right. I am aware that parents of children in the region’s elite private school would be unlikely to countenance Jamie and his cameras filming their kids eat. You will find that this attitude changes when they are asked to consider Jamie and his cameras filming the children of urban poor fed in public school lunchrooms.

  4. Robert Millar
    January 19th, 2011 @ 5:01 pm

    you were being facetious?

    oh, nevermind.

  5. Jim
    April 13th, 2011 @ 9:42 am

    Thank you!!! I thought I was the only one that thought Jamie Oliver is full of “not so healthy food.” I didn’t get a chance to watch the whole show last night, but from what I saw of the show and of the previews for next week, it has more to do with Jamie Oliver Celebrity Chef than if actually has to do with long-term, sustainable and systemic changes. But the latter doesn’t get ratings.

Leave a Reply

  • After the lawn

  • As you were saying: Comments

  • As I was saying: Recent posts

  • Garden blogs

  • Contact

    Emily Green by e-mail at [at]
  • Categories