YouTube terminates 'Fantastic Adventures' channel after adoptive mother arrested on abuse charges
Police said Hackney withheld food and water, restricted bathroom access, and beat and pepper-sprayed the children.
Machelle Hackney, creator of YouTube's hit series, Fantastic Adventures, has been arrested and charged with abuse, neglect and unlawful imprisonment of her seven adopted children.
The popular YouTube channel featured Hackney’s children in superhero-like themes and had more than 700,000 followers and 240 million views.
YouTube initially demonetised the account when it was informed of the arrest but has since confirmed that it has terminated the account.
Hackney, 48, was arrested after officers visited her home in Maricopa, Arizona last week and found that six of her seven adopted children appeared malnourished and underweight.
The stars of Hackney’s YouTube series have claimed that horrific abuse and neglect were taking place when the camera was not rolling.
Police said Hackney withheld food and water, restricted bathroom access, and beat and pepper-sprayed the children when they failed to follow directions for YouTube videos, according to a probable cause statement from the Maricopa Police Department.
"They stated they are disciplined in the manners above if they do not recall their lines or do not participate (in the videos) as they are directed to," the probable cause statement said.
"They further stated this is one of the reasons their mom took them out of school so they can keep filming their series and they mentioned they have not been in school for years."
One of the children alleged that “her mother would spray her and her siblings with pepper spray all over their face and body,” while another “stated they would go days without food, water,” the statement said.