Jon and Kate Gosselin's eight children are being "exploited" for the sake of ratings, Kate's brother and sister-in-law alleged on CBS' The Early Show Wednesday.
When the TLC series first aired in 2007, Kevin Kreider, Kate's younger brother, and his wife, Jodi, thought it was a unique way to document the kids' lives.
"We thought it was very innocent at the time," Jodi said. "It quickly turned into more and more demands from Jon and Kate from the network. It turned into 40 episodes in a six-month span."
"There were cameras in the children's bedroom at one point, and they were filming all year round," Jodi said. "These were very huge concerns for us."
Monday's season five premiere attracted 9.8 million viewers - more than double the audience for its fourth-season finale several weeks ago. Kevin -- who is estranged from his sister Kate -- said he and his wife are speaking out now to be "the voices" of their nieces and nephews.
"They're being viewed as a commodity," Kevin said.
Added Jodi, "They're being exploited, and it's time for America to see the situation for what it really is."
"Unfortunately, there are no laws protecting children in reality TV shows, and it's time for the public to be appear of this," she continued. "These children are very aware of the cameras in their homes. The home is their workplace. This is not a healthy environment for kids to be raised in."
When he broached the subject with Jon and Kate in the past, Kevin said the couple told him, "'This is what we chose. This is how we're going to provide for them.'"
(Jon and Kate earn an estimated $25-$75,000 an episode, in addition to a score of freebies.)
"We feel that they've chosen this path with disregard to their children's safety, security," he said.
Despite Kate's previous claims, Jodi also said the kids do not like the cameramen in their home all the time.
"They don't want the cameras around. They have told me personally," said Jodi. "They would say, 'Aunt Jodi, I don't like the cameras on every vacation with us.'"
"Kids have bad moments, and they cry," Jodi added. "Having a camera zoom in on a crying child... this should not be a form of entertainment."
Above all, Kevin said he wants Jon and Kate to "see the effects and see what is most important."
Jodi said Jon and Kate, who admitted on Monday's premiere that they may divorce, are "very lost right now. They're very blinded by all this media, the fame and fortune."
"It's time to really put priorities first," she said. "They say children is their priority, but clearly it is not."
Said Jodi, "No one is looking at these children, at what they are going through, and the life consequences they are going to have as they get older."
- Mar. 24, 2017 Take a look back at Mariah Carey's life in pictures