December 20, 2013 by Robert Franklin, Esq.
Actress Kate Winslet threw a tantrum recently about an informational advertisement published by the United Kingdom group Fathers4Justice. As has been widely reported, Winslett has three children, each fathered by a different husband. Husband No. 1 is director Jim Threapleton, Husband No. 2 is director Sam Mendes and her current husband is Ned Rocknroll. Winslett gave birth to their son on December 7th.
The latest whoop-di-doo stems from an interview she did with Vogue as reported on here (Daily Mail, 12/16/13).
In the Vogue interview, the actress defended herself against accusations that her children were the victims of her divorces.
She said: ‘People go, “Oh, my God! Those poor children! They must have gone through so much”.
'Says who? They’ve always been with me. They don’t go from pillar to post; they’re not flown here and there with nannies.
'That’s never happened. My kids don’t go back and forth; none of this 50/50 time with the mums and dads – my children live with me; that is it. That is it!’
That of course just added fuel to the fire for those who object to the separation of fathers and children. After all, what Winslett was saying couldn’t have been clearer; the kids are with her, she’s dogmatically opposed to equal parenting and the children won’t be going anywhere to see their dads.
To her apparent surprise, not everyone agrees with her radically mom-centric parenting. Among the many who don’t were those at Fathers4Justice who responded to the actress’s remarks in an advertisement with the headline, “Kate, Every Child Deserves Their Father This Christmas.” It went on to say,
WE congratulate Kate Winslet on the birth of her new baby boy. However, in a recent interview the actress was quoted as saying ‘My kids don’t go back and forth; none of this 50/50 time with the mums and dads – my children live with me; that is it. That is it!’
We disagree. This year nearly 4 million children* will wake up without a father this Christmas, often as a result of outdated and prejudiced views which treat a nation of first-class fathers as second-rate parents.
We hope that Kate and her son never experience the profound pain and loss of being separated from their loved ones as millions of fathers and children will, not only at Christmas, but throughout the year.
*Office of National Statistics
Apparently the message hit home. A mother who’s not just a tad sensitive on the subject of what access the fathers of her children have to them probably wouldn’t have been much concerned about an advertisement that is (a) objectively true in all particulars and (b) never claims that Winslet is a bad parent or doesn’t allow her exes access. That Winslet managed to not see the clear message of the advertisement – that far too many children don’t have a relationship or even contact with their fathers and that this is a matter of public record – strongly urges the conclusion that Winslet herself is none too comfortable with what she’s doing. What she saw as a slam against her was anything but.
So she threatened to sue, having her solicitors call the F4J piece “misleading and seriously defamatory.”
Faced with that, Fathers4Justice held off on publishing the piece for a few days while they sought confirmation from Winslet that the words quoted in Vogue and repeated in the ad were in fact the ones Winslet said. Amazingly, Winslet refused to respond.
Of course I don’t know what sort of time the various dads spend with their kids while Winslet has them, but from her statement, it’s not much. Her words, “My kids don’t go back and forth… - my children live with me; that’s it. That is it!” don’t leave a lot to the imagination. If she’s telling the truth, Threapleton and Mendes have little contact with their children.
In classic case of white-knight behavior, Mendes leapt to Winslet’s defense.
The film director told them: ‘It is inappropriate for this organisation to involve my family and I (sic) when they know nothing of our personal circumstances.
'Whilst I fully support fathers’ rights, I can happily state this has never been a concern for me or my son.’
Of course F4J never said word one about Mendes, his son or his relationship with his son, so it’s hard to know just what the man’s point was. As for F4J’s “involving” his family, they’re not the ones who did that. Kate Winslet is the one who “involved” Mendes and his family when she spoke about her parenting arrangements in a magazine with a huge world readership. Winslet strongly suggested that Mendes in fact doesn’t see his son much. If he does, how does he accomplish the feat if the boy doesn’t somehow go to where Mendes is? If his son lives, as Winslet said “with me; that’s it,” how much time can be left over for Mendes? Maybe someone will let us know, but the heat of the man’s remarks, like that of Winslet’s, seems to suggest that F4J is on to something.
That’s made all the more likely by Threapleton’s statement back in 2004 when he bemoaned the lack of time he was allowed with his daughter who’s now 11.
In 2004 Mr Threapleton spoke out in support of the group, claiming he went months without seeing Mia.
Kate Winslet wants it both ways. She wants to be able to strongly suggest in public that the men who’ve fathered her first two children play little part in their upbringing and then sue whoever points out that it’s exactly that attitude on the part of courts and others that results in four million British kids without fathers. I don’t know the fine points of British laws on defamation, but Winslet needs to learn to live with the choices she makes, including the statements she gives to large-circulation magazines.
But more importantly, she needs to drop the SuperMom act and start letting her children’s fathers into their lives. If she already does that, we all applaud her. But if she does, isn’t it odd that she wouldn’t just say that, instead of threatening to sue an organization that likely will never pay her a farthing?
Meanwhile, I assume Fathers4Justice couldn’t be happier. Their little advertisement probably caught the attention of a few people, but Winslet’s very public fit of temper did more to publicize the need of children for their fathers than anything else I can think of or F4J ever imagined.
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