- The creator of the popular YouTube Channel, “Fantastic Adventures” has been arrested for seven counts of child abuse, among other charges.
- Machelle Hackney is being accused of pepper spraying, beating, and locking her seven adopted children in a closet when she was unhappy with their performances for videos on the channel.
- YouTube has now demonetized the channel, which has 800,000 subscribers.
Machelle Hackney is Arrested
A mother in Arizona was arrested on charges of child abuse after allegedly abusing her seven adopted children when they did not perform as directed for videos on her YouTube channel.
Machelle Hackney was arrested on Friday in her residence in Maricopa, Arizona. She runs a YouTube channel called “Fantastic Adventures” which has garnered close to 800,000 subscribers and has over 240 million channel views.
According to the court records obtained by local news sources in Arizona, Hackney would physically abuse her children when they messed up lines or didn’t take her direction when making videos for the channel. These videos were generally sketches featuring the seven children, where they acted out fantasy-themed adventures.
She is being accused of locking her children in a closet, starving them, forcing them to take ice baths, pepper spraying their whole bodies, including their faces and genitalia, and beating them with belts, brushes, and hangers. On at least one occasion, one of her sons bled when the tip of his penis was pinched.
Hackney says she has punished her children in the past but denies these allegations. Instead, she claims she would have them stand in a corner, spank them, or ground them.
Her biological adult sons, Logan and Ryan Hackney, who appear on the channel, have also been arrested on charges of not reporting child abuse.
Police Discover Children During Wellness Check
Hackney’s 19-year-old biological daughter contacted authorities last week after one of her adopted siblings told her what was going on. This prompted the police to conduct a wellness check, where they found the seven children to appearing pale and malnourished, one of whom was in a closet wearing only a pull-up diaper.
The children told officers they were hungry and thirsty. One child drank three 16 ounce water bottles in less than 20 minutes. However, another child was afraid to eat because they feared their mother would smell the food on their breath.
The police also obtained a search warrant and found bottles of pepper spray in Hackney’s room, which was located next to the closet the children were often locked in.
While being interviewed by police, some of the children told officers that they had been subject to numerous forms of abuse.
One of the kids told police, “I either get beat with a hanger or belt, or a brush, or get pepper sprayed from head to toe.”
The children who spoke also said their mother had pulled them out of school so they could focus on making YouTube videos. However, some of the kids could not even go through with the interviews, as they were shaking and afraid.
Only one of Hackney’s sons, Logan, spoke to officer’s confirming that he knew of some of the abuse going on. He said he and his brother Ryan had considered telling the police, but never acted on it. They would also try to sneak food to their siblings when they could.
The Department of Child Safety has taken the seven children out of Hackney’s custody.
YouTube has demonetized the videos on the “Fantastic Adventures” channel, but it still remains up.
YouTube gave a statement to the Washington Post saying they take safety on YouTube seriously, adding:
“We work closely with leading child safety organizations and others in our industry to protect young people. 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.”
This is the same statement YouTube used following the arrest of Ian Rylett earlier this month. Rylett, the owner of the SevenAwesomeKids network, pled guilty to child abuse.
See What Others Are Saying: (The Washington Post) (FOX 10) (AZ Central)
Schools Across the U.S. Cancel Classes Friday Over Unverified TikTok Threat
Officials in multiple states said they haven’t found any credible threats but are taking additional precautions out of an abundance of safety.
Schools in no fewer than 10 states either canceled classes or increased their police presence on Friday after a series of TikToks warned of imminent shooting and bombs threats.
Despite that, officials said they found little evidence to suggest the threats are credible. It’s possible no real threat was actually ever made as it’s unclear if the supposed threats originated on TikTok, another social media platform, or elsewhere.
“We handle even rumored threats with utmost seriousness, which is why we’re working with law enforcement to look into warnings about potential violence at schools even though we have not found evidence of such threats originating or spreading via TikTok,” TikTok’s Communications team tweeted Thursday afternoon.
Still, given the uptick of school shootings in the U.S. in recent years, many school districts across the country decided to respond to the rumors. According to The Verge, some districts in California, Minnesota, Missouri, and Texas shut down Friday.
“Based on law enforcement interviews, Little Falls Community Schools was specifically identified in a TikTok post related to this threat,” one school district in Minnesota said in a letter Thursday. “In conversations with local law enforcement, the origins of this threat remain unknown. Therefore, school throughout the district is canceled tomorrow, Friday, December 17.”
In Gilroy, California, one high school that closed its doors Friday said it would reschedule final exams that were expected to take place the same day to January.
According to the Associated Press, several other districts in Arizona, Connecticut, Illinois, Montana, New York, and Pennsylvania stationed more police officers at their schools Friday.
Viral Misinformation or Legitimate Warnings?
As The Verge notes, “The reports of threats on TikTok may be self-perpetuating.”
For example, many of the videos online may have been created in response to initial warnings as more people hopped onto the trend. Amid school cancellations, videos have continued to sprout up — many awash with both rumors and factual information.
“I’m scared off my ass, what do I do???” one TikTok user said in a now-deleted video, according to People.
“The post is vague and not directed at a specific school, and is circulating around school districts across the country,” Chicago Public Schools said in a letter, though it did not identify any specific post. “Please do not re-share any suspicious or concerning posts on social media.”
According to Dr. Amy Klinger, the director of programs for the nonprofit Educator’s School Safety Network, “This is not 2021 phenomenon.”
Instead, she told The Today Show that her network has been tracking school shooting threats since 2013, and she noted that in recent years, they’ve become more prominent on social media.
“It’s not just somebody in a classroom of 15 people hearing someone make a threat,” she said. “It’s 15,000 people on social media, because it gets passed around and it becomes larger and larger and larger.”
Jake Paul Says He “Can’t Get Cancelled” as a Boxer
The controversial YouTuber opened up about what it has been like to go from online fame to professional boxing.
The New Yorker Profiles Jake Paul
YouTuber and boxer Jake Paul talked about his career switch, reputation, and cancel culture in a profile published Monday in The New Yorker.
While Paul rose to fame as the Internet’s troublemaker, he now spends most of his time in the ring. He told the outlet that one difference between YouTube and boxing is that his often controversial reputation lends better to his new career.
“One thing that is great about being a fighter is, like, you can’t get cancelled,” Paul said. The profile noted that the sport often rewards and even encourages some degree of bad behavior.
“I’m not a saint,” Paul later continued. “I’m also not a bad guy, but I can very easily play the role.”
Paul also said the other difference between his time online and his time in boxing is the level of work. While he says he trains hard, he confessed that there was something more challenging about making regular YouTube content.
“Being an influencer was almost harder than being a boxer,” he told The New Yorker. “You wake up in the morning and you’re, like, Damn, I have to create fifteen minutes of amazing content, and I have twelve hours of sunlight.”
Jake Paul Vs. Tommy Fury
The New Yorker profile came just after it was announced over the weekend Paul will be fighting boxer Tommy Fury in an 8-round cruiserweight fight on Showtime in December.
“It’s time to kiss ur last name and ur family’s boxing legacy goodbye,” Paul tweeted. “DEC 18th I’m changing this wankers name to Tommy Fumbles and celebrating with Tom Brady.”
Both Paul and Fury are undefeated, according to ESPN. Like Paul, Fury has found fame outside of the sport. He has become a reality TV star in the U.K. after appearing on the hit show “Love Island.”
See what others are saying: (The New Yorker) (Dexerto) (ESPN)
Hackers Hit Twitch Again, This Time Replacing Backgrounds With Image of Jeff Bezos
The hack appears to be a form of trolling, though it’s possible that the infiltrators were able to uncover a security flaw while reviewing Twitch’s newly-leaked source code.
Hackers targeted Twitch for a second time this week, but rather than leaking sensitive information, the infiltrators chose to deface the platform on Friday by swapping multiple background images with a photo of former Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos.
According to those who saw the replaced images firsthand, the hack appears to have mostly — and possibly only — affected game directory headers. Though the incident appears to be nothing more than a surface-level prank, as Amazon owns Twitch, it could potentially signal greater security flaws.
For example, it’s possible the hackers could have used leaked internal security data from earlier this week to discover a network vulnerability and sneak into the platform.
The latest jab at the platforms came after Twitch assured its users it has seen “no indication” that their login credentials were stolen during the first hack. Still, concerns have remained regarding the potential for others to now spot cracks in Twitch’s security systems.
It’s also possible the Bezos hack resulted from what’s known as “cache poisoning,” which, in this case, would refer to a more limited form of hacking that allowed the infiltrators to manipulate similar images all at once. If true, the hackers likely would not have been able to access Twitch’s back end.
The photo changes only lasted several hours before being returned to their previous conditions.
First Twitch Hack
Despite suspicions and concerns, it’s unclear whether the Bezos hack is related to the major leak of Twitch’s internal data that was posted to 4chan on Wednesday.
That leak exposed Twitch’s full source code — including its security tools — as well as data on how much Twitch has individually paid every single streamer on the platform since August 2019.
It also revealed Amazon’s at least partially developed plans for a cloud-based gaming library, codenamed Vapor, which would directly compete with the massively popular library known as Steam.
Even though Twitch has said its login credentials appear to be secure, it announced Thursday that it has reset all stream keys “out of an abundance of caution.” Users are still being urged to change their passwords and update or implement two-factor authentication if they haven’t already.