JACKSONVILLE, Fla. -- Matthew Pennington wants to grow up and be a singer and or a dancer.
It's her son's dream, said Shaunna Pennington, his mother. "He dances 24 hours a day and loves to dance and sing."
Pennington said when she heard a radio commercial for a 'Disney' audition she was excited. "They said there would be a Disney Channel audition and high-end producers," she said. But the more she learned, the more she doubted what was being offered.
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"They just told us you need to be business dress and have two head shots of the kid," she added.
Pennington made an appointment for her 6-year-old son at 11:30 Saturday morning at the Southside hotel where the event was being held.
But she said while there was never any mention of money, the more she checked into the audition, the more she became concerned.
She found a number of warnings about Disney audition scams on the internet, and when she called ABC network, a Disney property, it confirmed her fear. The audition has nothing to do with Disney.
"They said they're not affiliated with it and that there was nothing they could do about it," she said.
Pennington has canceled her plans to attend, and broke the news to her son. "He was devastated and started crying," she said.
And now she's afraid that others may fall for an audition that has nothing to do with the company. "I'm not saying my son is gonna be a star, but that experience would have been amazing. For them to take that from him, to put that false ad like it is Disney...is horrible," said Pennington.
Dion Horrah, who spoke for the audition event, said the Jacksonville audition is not affiliated with the Disney company. "Talent agents will be there who work with companies including Disney, but it is not a Disney audition," he said.
A Disney spokesperson made it clear that if it is being advertised as a Disney-related audition it is not.
"Disney Channel is not affiliated with any acting school or acting workshop, and has not authorized a talent search in Jacksonville, Florida," said Patti McTeague.
"Disney hires talent two ways, through agents or an authorized casting call," she added.
First Coast News