‘Teen Torture, Inc.’ and Paris Hilton Bring Abusive Industry to Task 5

The so-called “troubled teen industry” is facing a fresh round of scrutiny this summer with the July premiere of Teen Torture, Inc., the new Max documentary about the billion-dollar industry associated with the kidnapping, abuse and brainwashing of young Americans. Paris Hilton spoke last week before Congress to advocate for the Americans without the means to stop the harsh practices she experienced herself. 

The doc will premiere July 11 and the just-released trailer gives a preview of the harrowing tales the movie tells through those who are advocating for it to be shuttered for good. Rapper Bhad Bhabie is one of several survivors appearing in the new documentary from filmmaker Tara Malone who recall the abuse they experienced after being torn from their homes and taken to weeks of extreme behavioral therapy treatments that they say cross a line into too extreme.

Tough love is the name of the game at these camps and facilities, which are often dubbed “youth residential treatment centers.” But, as the subjects of Max’s documentary explain, the treatment has led to deaths, suicides, PTSD, and other lifelong mental and physical health issues. 

“When kids are in trouble, it’s an extreme situation for the parents, what these programs offer is an ‘extreme’ solution,” one of the film’s subjects says in the trailer. 

The brief clip is a series of interviews with survivors of the camps and advocates discussing the torture and humiliation they underwent in their teenage years after being sent by parents who found themselves at a loss on how to correct the behavior of teens amid some of the most difficult years of their adolescence. What appears to be reenactment footage of what survivors say happened to them is cut throughout the clip, as advocates and survivors break down in tears. 

The film then appears to follow the money to explain how entrenched power keeps an industry that so many see as abusive afloat and carrying on with its alleged abuse. This abuse at “youth residential treatment centers” was what led aughts icon Hilton to speak before Congress’ Ways and Means Committee on June 26. 

Hilton, a mother of two, testified about how while at one of these facilities, she was violently restrained, stripped nude and thrown into solitary at the facilities, four of which she was sent to in her youth. In a Washington Post opinion article from 2021, Hilton writes of being “choked, slapped across the face, spied on while showering and deprived of sleep” at these camps. Now, like the advocates in Teen Torture, Inc., she’s dead set on ensuring this abuse no longer happens. 

“I will not stop until America’s youth is safe,” Hilton said in her testimony. “If you are a child in the system, hear my words: I see you. I believe you. I know what you’re going through, and I won’t give up on you.”

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