News reports Arizona woman Machelle Hackney was arrested and charged by the Maricopa Police Department on Friday on suspicion of beating her children, pepper-spraying them, keeping them from school, withholding access to food, water, and the bathroom, and forcing their heads into ice baths, among other offences.
Hackney - who also uses her maiden name, Hobson, was arrested at her home in Maricopa, Ariz., along with her two biological sons, Logan and Ryan Hackney.
One of the children told police they were pepper sprayed numerous times as punishment by his mother, among other physical abuse.
It said officers who went to the house last week reported that six of the children appeared malnourished and underweight.
The children told police that they had been pepper-sprayed from head to toe, forced to take ice baths, beaten with belts and hangers and required to stand with their arms raised above their heads from dawn to midnight, according to the Washington Post.
Conducting an investigation into the woman's house, police found two boxes of pepper sprays in her bedroom and a windowless room in the house with furniture, blankets, clothes, and toys in it.
The Fantastic Adventures channel has 800,000 subscribers and features videos starring Ms Hackney's children that have been watched more than 240 million times.
They also claimed their adoptive mother abused them whenever they forgot their lines or didn't participate as instructed.
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Machelle Hackney has denied abusing her children and said she disciplined them by grounding them, spanking them and making them stand in a corner.
The charges against Hackney come amid a broader discussion about the kind of videos aimed at children on YouTube, and the often disturbing content that can easily be found - or dredged up by the platform's video suggestion algorithm itself. They remained in child protected custody as of Wednesday morning.
Machelle Hackney has been charged with seven counts of child abuse, five counts of unlawful imprisonment and two counts of child molestation in connection to the alleged abuse of the young YouTube stars. He said Ryan would sometimes sneak the children food when they were locked up.
We investigate all reports of abuse and neglect and work with law enforcement agencies to ensure those who abuse and neglect children are brought to justice.
The adoptees regularly appeared on the popular Fantastic Adventures channel, dressed up as superheroes. Another child said she had been pepper sprayed on her vagina and recalled being in pain for four to five days, the statement said. They had allegedly not been in school for years.
YouTube told the Arizona Republic that it demonetized the account and has said Hackney's channel would be taken down if she were convicted or pled guilty.
"We take safety on YouTube very seriously", the spokesperson said. A female child was offered a bag of chips, but she said she was fearful to eat it because she didn't want her mother to smell chips on her breath. After Hackey's arrest, the channel has been terminated.