Popular Youtube Mother Allegedly Abused Her Adopted Children
A woman in Arizona is behind bars for allegedly abusing her seven adopted children, who all starred in her popular YouTube channel.
According to reports from BuzzFeed News, 48-year-old Machelle Hackney was arrested last week on suspicion of child abuse, child molestation, unlawful imprisonment, and child neglect. Her Fantastic Adventures YouTube series has more than 800,000 subscribers and has accumulated millions of views. The channel was most known for its superhero-themed videos starring Hackney’s adopted children, who are all between the ages of 3 and 15 years old.
Officers arrived at their residence on March 13, shortly after Hackeny’s older biological daughter reported what was going on to the police. Officials said that when they arrived at the home, the adopted children all appeared to be malnourished and underweight and once they interviewed some of the children, they accused their mother of some seriously heinous acts; One of the girls told authorities that her mother locked her in a closet for days without any food, water, or access to a bathroom.
The police report describes other disturbing claims against Hackney: She allegedly pepper-sprayed a child’s genitals, held their head under ice water, and pinched one of the sons on the penis “until it bled.” The children also told investigators that they would be punished if they did not participate in the YouTube videos or properly remember their lines for a scene.
The family’s YouTube channel was demonetized shortly after Hackney’s arrest, and was completely removed from the platform on Wednesday afternoon. “When we’re made aware of serious allegations of this nature we take action, which may include suspending monetization, or, upon conclusion of an investigation, terminating channels,” a spokesperson for YouTube told BuzzFeed.
Hackney has denied all of the abuse allegations while her adult sons, Logan and Ryan Hackney, were also charged with seven counts of failing to report abuse of a minor. All three of them remain locked up without bond.
The seven adopted children are now in the custody of the Department of Children Services.