Since Nadya Suleman became a questionable celebrity in 2008, the media has not hesitated to make her the butt of countless jokes. Consider that more people know her as Octomom than her given name! From the start, parodies of her ran the gamut from late-night fare like Jimmy Kimmel Live to aspiring comedians honing their Octomom impressions over YouTube.
It doesn’t help Octomom’s case that she started from an outrageous story — single mother gives birth to eight kids, thinks she can support them on top of the six she already has — and has continued to plummet. Earlier this year, Suleman declared bankruptcy, claiming she owed $1 million in debt. She’s since recorded both a porno and a single to try and make money, yet there are reports that she spends hundreds on herself instead of her kids.
Again, all fodder for our mockery. But then we heard new allegations that, if they’re true, would reveal the full extent to which Suleman mistreats her children. Two of her former nannies have come forward claiming that she physically abused her children and even allowed one of her older kids to sexually abuse a younger sibling. The women stayed anonymous for fear of Octomom suing them, but told Los Angeles CBS2 that they witnessed Suleman tying her kids to their beds with cheesecloth so they wouldn’t move, and that she wouldn’t let the nannies take care of them even when the children started crying.
But the most disturbing accusation was that Suleman knew about one child molesting another, and did nothing about it. One of the nannies said, “[One of the boys] would take [his sibling] away and take her to another area. And he would be touching her. I told Nadya everything. She never did [anything]. ‘It’s okay, don’t worry about it.’ That was her attitude.”
When discussing how she’s been honest with her kids about her porn career a few months back, Suleman said, “They’re totally desensitized… our experiences allowed all of us to pull out strengths we didn’t know we possess.” Am I the only one who finds that statement chilling, especially in this context? Of course she’s denied the claims, telling TMZ that these are all “blatant lies.” When CBS2 went to her door for a statement, she immediately tried to send them to her manager and begged for privacy.
And yet, as our sister site Mommyish points out, Octomom’s nannies aren’t writing a tell-all. Because they signed confidentiality agreements, all they can do is appear on television with their faces in shadow and their voices distorted; before that, they’d put letters in each of the neighbors’ mailboxes begging them to call Child Protective Services. You can glimpse one of the letters in the CBS2 video; it claims that one of the boys climbed on top of the roof wanting to jump off and die.
That note is from two years ago, and only now is there a news segment tackling these allegations. I wonder if we (the media) are partly to blame for no one intervening sooner. It was so easy to joke that CPS should’ve intervened the moment that Octomom brought those eight babies home from the hospital… but they didn’t. We poked fun at all of her hyperbolic, outrageous behavior but never seriously contemplated actual abuse. Now none of us can afford to get away with such glibness.
Photo: Jones/Steinberg, © PacificCoastNews.com