The father of Jonbenet Ramsey, the six-year-old victim of a horrifying and yet-unsolved 1996 murder, is critical of the TLC show Toddlers and Tiaras, which celebrates the hyper-competive atmosphere of childhood beauty pageants.
I think it's very bizarre, John Ramsey said. And certainly -- Patsy and JonBenet didn't approach it that way. They just did it for fun.
Ramsey appeared on ABC's Nightline to promote his new book, The Other Side of Suffering.
Anyone who remembers the case of Jonebent Ramsey will recall images of the smiling, blonde child appearing in full make-up and elaborate costumes for her frequent appearances in beauty pageants.
Asked if he was naive about letting his daughter compete in pageants, Ramsey said, Yeah, probably.
He admitted that he regretted putting Jonbenet on the pageant circuit, but only because that possibly might have brought attention to us. I don't know. But I think for advice to a parent...just recognize that regardless of where you live, there could be evil around you.
JonBenet was murdered the day after appearing in a parade in her pageant regalia.
Patsy had her sitting atop a friend's convertible in the Christmas parade waving at the people lining the streets, Ramsey reportedly said. Patsy's mother later told me that a strange man approached the car during the parade and it made her uncomfortable. I think about these things now and it makes me cringe. We were so naïve. I now believe with all my heart that it's not a good idea to put your child on public display.
JonBenet would be 21 years old if she were alive today.
I see her, you know, in shorts and t-shirt and hair kind of scruffy and just kind of a kid, Ramsey told ABC.
Both John and his wife Patsy were considered prime suspect in the bizarre Christmas murder -- and it was 12 years before Mr. Ramsey officially cleared his name. Patsy Ramsey died of ovarian cancer in 2006.