One of Ant Anstead’s arguments for why his ex-wife, Christina Hall, is a deficient mother and he deserves full custody of their son, Hudson, is that Hall allegedly has used the 2-year-old for social media influence, but his hands might not be so clean either.
Anstead, 43, made this argument in court papers filed law week in the ex-couple’s bitter custody dispute, TMZ and the Daily Mail reported.
He said Hall, the star of HGTV’s reality TV show, “Christina on the Coast,” has used photos of Hudson in paid social media posts to sell products while he’s in her care, People reported. He’s asked to judge to make her stop using the boy and his image for any “commercial endeavor” moving forward.
When it comes to posting cute photos of Hudson for commercial or public relations purposes, Anstead looks to be just as prolific as his ex-wife. Sure, the British TV personality could say he’s just being a proud dad who wants to offer glimpses of his family life to his 447,000 followers, but it appears to be a hands-on dad to the youngster has become a big part of his identity, popularity and personal brand.
Ant Anstead Requests That Son Hudson Not Appear in Paid Media Campaigns in Full Custody Filing https://t.co/gmwbm8dUAn
— People (@people) April 29, 2022
Looking at each of Anstead and Hall’s last 60 Instagram posts, which go back to the Christmas holidays, the “Wheeler Dealer” star has posted photos of Hudson 20 times. Meanwhile, Hall, formerly known as Christina Haack, has posted photos of him 18 times.
Certainly, being seen as a devoted parent offers an important image boost for Hall, who has 1.8 million followers. Her show, “Christina on the Coast,” follows her efforts to balance her life as a working mom with being a glamorous interior designer and real estate professional.
Hall posted two more photos of Hudson in an Instagram story Tuesday. This was nearly a week after Anstead filed his court documents alleging she’s an absentee mother, only spending a few days a month with Hudson. Anstead also said she had risked Hudson’s medical safety by allowing him to get a painful sunburn and was using him as a social media prop.
Christina Haack Spends Time With Son Hudson at the Barbershop Amid Ant Anstead Custody Battle https://t.co/8bFwuHqmvY
– AND! News (@enews) May 4, 2022
In his court documents, Anstead asked for an order that would restrain both of them from using Hudson or Hudson’s likeness “in any commercial endeavor, social media paid promotion, television or streaming program, or which might otherwise commodify Hudson without the express advanced consent of both parents in writing,” People reported.
Hall hit back at Anstead’s criticism of her parenting by denying she’s a bad mother. She said Anstead wants “to tarnish my good name with her false allegations.”
Last week, a judge denied Anstead’s emergency request for temporary full custody because Anstead didn’t give Hall adequate notice and failed to prove that Hudson was in danger, the Daily Mail reported. A new hearing date has been set for June 28.
Anstead and Hall were married in 2018, and welcomed Hudson in September 2019. One year later, the pair announced that they were ending their marriage.
Hall was previously married to Tarek El Moussa, her partner in an Orange County real estate firm that inspired their popular “Flip or Flop” series. Their daughter, Taylor, was born in 2010 and their son, Brayden, was born in 2015. They divorced in 2017. Earlier this month it was learned that Hall had married for the third time, to realtor Joshua Hall.
Anstead, who stars on British TV shows based on his skills as a driver and car builder, also has two children, Amelie, 18, and Archie, 15, with his first wife. Nine months after Anstead ended his marriage to Hall, he began dating Oscar-winning actor Renee Zellweger, who also has begun appearing on his Instagram.
Moreover, Zellweger, 53, has become close to Hudson, an insider close to Anstead let it be known to Us Weekly this week. “She’s really bonded with him, and Ant loves how doting and caring she is with his kids dela when they’re all together.”
Looking at Anstead and Hall’s social media, it’s hard to see that either holds the moral high ground when it comes to using photos of their children for social media clout.
Indeed, Anstead and Hall reveal themselves to be part of a class of celebrities who regularly share photos of their families, perhaps because they want to come across as likable, relatable and authentic. That means their children become featured players in their efforts to stay connected with fans, promote upcoming projects and even earn extra money by endorsing products.
The week before An accused Hall of using Hudson’s commercial purposes, he posted a video of himself with the boy, building a Lego car. He tagged the post @lego, which signals that he could have been compensated in for the post. He also appeared to do much of the assembly himself, while claiming: “Hudzo is obsessed with building!”
The way that Anstead, Hall and other celebrities — notably Alec and Hilaria Baldwin — use their children online goes to larger questions about online safety for kids and “sharenting” — when parents publish private information about their children on the internet. Among academic, legal and tech circles, there has been a growing focus on the need to protect children’s autonomy and privacy online.
One notable area of concern is consent. Experts say that young children can’t reasonably be expected to give informed consent, or to understand the implications of having their images and information disseminated online until they are at least middle-school-aged. They therefore have to rely on their parents to choose what information about them that’s shared with the public.
Experts say there’s a risk that when children are in middle school or older they will be uncomfortable with all the photos that even well-intentioned parents have made public. Another issue is that, once online, children’s photos and information can be used by third-party strangers in sometimes nefarious ways, including by child pornographers and predators.
A number of high-profile celebrity parents, including Prince Harry and Meghan Markle, are known to be very protective of their children’s privacy. These celebrities of what they can to guard their children from paparazzi and rarely, if ever, post photos of their children on social media, Insider reported in 2020.
Ryan Gosling and Eva Mendes cite consent as the main reason they never share photos of their two daughters on social media, Insider reported.
“I won’t post pictures of our daily life,” Mendes told a fan in 2020, Insider reported. “And since my children are still so little and don’t understand what posting their image really means, I don’t have their consent. And I won’t post their image until they’re old enough to give me consent.”
Similarly, Ashton Kutcher said in a 2017 podcast that he and his wife, Mila Kunis, have chosen careers that put them in the spotlight, but their two young children have not, Insider also reported.
“I think they should have the right to choose that,” Kutcher said. “It’s their private life; it’s not mine to give away.”